Pulse: How We Spend: Fashionable Suffering

You knew beauty was painful, but fashion? Ladies, it just might be time to stroll Society Hill in — gasp! — sneakers

YOU KNOW THAT fabulous Chloé satchel you had to have? The leather one covered in big knotted tassels, with straps made of brass chains? The one stuffed with your day planner, your portfolio, your Shi-poo and half your vanity? Spinal rehab specialist Michael Paul, of Mount Laurel’s CoastalSpine, says those gigantic, filled-to-the-brim status bags, laptop carriers and I-gotta-hit-the-gym-right-after-work duffels that weigh us down on a daily basis are threatening to destroy our bodies right where the heels leave off. “You shouldn’t be carrying more than 10 percent of your body weight,” says Paul. “And with the huge bags women carry today, you’re starting with an empty bag that already weighs seven pounds.” Hauling such ridiculous weight can cause nerve damage and strained and sprained muscles that could eventually require physical therapy and trigger-point injections to begin healing. Even worse, it causes awful posture: To compensate, we strain our necks, jut out our shoulders, and twist our torsos, hips and backs. Add in the probability that we’re doing all of this atop ridiculous heels, and you have the perfect storm raining down on good body mechanics. All the yoga classes in the world won’t realign that.
 
So if your wallet can’t exactly accommodate another pair of Loubies this spring (or a Louis, Marc or Birkin), here’s the silver lining: Your  body can’t, either.
 
For Tips on how to keep healthy without sacrificing
style, log on to phillymag.com/healthystyle.