They say that the right heels and purse can make any outfit, and we agree! Too bad our favourite accessories can also make your posture droop—and boost your risk for dreaded back and neck pain. We’ve already given you the tips you need to cure your back pain. Now we want to help you avoid it in the first place.

Even though racing around malls can hurt, we’re not stopping anytime soon. So we’ve consulted the experts about how to improve your posture while wearing, and shopping for, those gorgeous accessories you love, like these beauties and these ones, too. We’ve all been known to suffer for fashion, but chic is not worth pain. OK, maybe it is—if we can manage it.

When you stand up straight, you look and feel more confident, not to mention beautiful (you’ll even look gorgeous in pictures if you follow these rules). And with just a few simple tips, courtesy of Canadian Chiropractic Association Director Dr. Debbie Wright and Straighten Up Canada, you’ll be standing and feeling your tallest while you show off those heels and carry that bag.

BETTER POSTURE: A FASHIONISTA’S 10 TRICKS TO STANDING UP STRAIGHT

1. Keep the time spent wearing heels as short as possible. If you know you’ll have to walk somewhere at some point during the day, or your feel will get tired at night, do yourself a favour and bring flats.

2. Own a wide variety of shoe heights and change it up regularly. You want to save your highest or most uncomfortable heels for just the occasion they’re worthy of.

3. Avoid wearing pointed toe shoes and heels higher than 2 inches too often.

4. Shoe shopping? Remember: Feet swell and enlarge throughout the day, so buy shoes in the afternoon when your feet are at their largest. That way, you’ll know how they feel after a night on the dance floor.

5. Stretch out your leg muscles after a long day in heels. Don’t forget.

6. Try to keep the weight of your purse down below 3 pounds. We know it’s hard. But you have to weed out the non-essential items on a regular basis.

7. The best bags for your posture are small, light, and have wide padded straps. Yes, we know that’s not always possible. But have one of these around for those days you don’t care as much.

8. Avoid carrying your purse in the crook of your elbow. It can be hard in winter, so be cognizant of how often you do it, especially if your bag is too heavy.

9. Don’t carry your purse only on one side all the time. Frequently switch it up so that there’s not too much stress on one side of your body.

10. If your bag has a long strap, put it on the opposite shoulder and wear it diagonally across your body to better distribute the weight. A Fashionista's Guide to Better Posture

Dr. Debbie Wright is the owner of Bayview Chiropractic in Courtenay, BC and is currently serving as the BC representative on the Canadian Chiropractic Association Board of Directors. A true outdoor enthusiast, Dr. Wright spends her spare time playing Ultimate Frisbee, swimming and riding the trails of the Comox Valley. Having graduated from Simon Fraser University with a Bachelor of Science degree, she then went on to obtain a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, graduating Magna Cum Laude. 

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