It’s no secret that I love fashion. One glance into my generously filled closet confirms this.
But as is the case with many things, SMA requires that I take a creative approach to style. Today, I thought I’d share some ways in which I navigate the challenges I have when putting together outfits.
The first challenge is finding clothes that are easy to put on. The second is finding clothes I can move in while wearing them.
I’m always on the lookout for clothing made of lightweight, stretchy fabric. I’m a huge fan of the rayon-spandex mix that’s currently popular. Not only is it incredibly soft, but it also provides the perfect combination of qualities needed for comfort and maneuverability.
I’m fully reliant on others to dress me, and this type of material makes it easier for my caregivers to get me into and out of whatever I’ve decided to wear that day. Lightweight fabric also provides me the ability to move my arms as independently as possible. I avoid materials that weigh me down or cause my movements to become sluggish and restricted.
Another challenge is knowing how clothes will fit me before I buy them. Most stores have dressing rooms for trying on potential purchases, but I can’t remember the last time I used one. The small spaces rarely have enough room for my power wheelchair and the extra person I need to assist me. I also usually can’t find a place to lie down while changing, as I do at home.
As a result, I’ve mastered the art of guessing how well something will fit simply by looking at it. I’ve developed a keen awareness of what I can comfortably and easily wear while still being fashionable. That awareness allows me to instinctively look for certain features, such as elastic waistbands and wider necklines that won’t press against my trach. I’ve used this skill often enough that it has practically become second nature.
Perhaps the biggest fashion-related challenge I face is selecting clothing that accurately reflects my age. Despite being in my early 20s, my small size often causes others to mistake me for a 12-years-old. I try my best to search for clothing that not only compliments my cheerful, outgoing personality, but also gives the impression of being the mature, intelligent adult that I am.
One thing I love about fashion is its ability to express multiple aspects of a person’s personality. On any given day, I can use my outfit to express my creativity, my faith, my not-so-inner geek, or my professionalism. I can even express a combination of those things and more.
Sometimes I have to put additional effort into creating a look that I love. Occasionally, I’ll even ask my grandma — a master seamstress — to alter items of clothing so they fit my needs. Enjoying the end result makes the extra effort worth it.
What do you love about fashion? What fashion-related challenges have you learned to overcome? Please share in the comment below.
Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today, or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.
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