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  • Let’s talk fashion

    Posted by susana-m on June 14, 2024 at 10:10 pm

    Or, more accurately, how to adapt our personal style to our physical reality.

    Most people don’t really think about it. They know what they like, they try things on, they buy what fits, done deal. It’s never been quite that straightforward for me. And yet, clothing is your first impression, expressing who you are before you even talk to someone.

    Clothing was not designed for sitting. Mannequins are made standing so the initial design process assumes a body that’s standing. Skirt lengths fall differently when you’re sitting, shirts hang on the body differently if you have scoliosis. Don’t even get me started on pants.

    I’m partial to skirts so I figured out a few solutions. If they need to be shortened, they go directly to a seamstress (sometimes taking the length off the top instead of the bottom to preserve a detail at the hem) We cut a slit in the back from the hem almost to the waist. This helps it fall better in the front so that it’s not pulling up on the sides like a curtain.

    They’re finally stores like Liberare & IZ Adaptive but these are outliers and the majority of adaptive clothing is still hideously ugly.

    What solutions have you all figured out?

    alyssa-silva replied 1 week, 2 days ago 5 Members · 12 Replies
  • 12 Replies
  • deann-r

    June 15, 2024 at 10:05 pm

    @alyssa-silva is our resident fashion guru, so hopefully she’ll chime in. I’m at the point where I choose comfort over style. What’s comfortable for me though usually isn’t comfortable for someone else. For example I like the structure of jeans. But like you said would fit better standing. You prefer skirts, but I can’t fathom that. How do you get positioned? Love the hem and slit tricks. Thanks for sharing.

    I have a couple things from IZ Adaptive but they are somewhat cost prohibitive. My mom actually loves putting their jeans on me but my other caregivers as well as myself don’t. It’s kind of funny a lot of times what I choose to wear depends a lot on who’s helping me get dressed and if it’s a shower day. Sometimes certain clothing is too tricky for certain individuals. Add a clammy body to the mix, and anything snug is a no go. What factors dictate what you wear the most?

    For the life of me I can’t get tanks to fit properly. I’ve given up and don’t entertain the idea anymore even though I’d like to find a way. Any hacks to adapt them to our awkward bodies?

  • susana-m

    June 17, 2024 at 6:19 pm

    Hey Deann-r, I can’t fathom how jeans are comfortable for you. Tell me more, I miss wearing them but they’re so difficult to put on that I gave up years ago.

    IZ Adaptive is expensive, haven’t bought anything there yet, but it’s nice to have the option. As you said, cost prohibitive at the moment.

    “How do you get positioned?” Think I was making assumptions that we use similar process, but maybe we don’t. Sit in my chair, skirt first over my shoulders, straighten that as much as we can, tuck in the sides and then shirt overhead. How do you get positioned?

    The only solution I found for tanks was to shorten one of the shoulder straps. That compensates for the scoliosis curve that throws me to one side.

    • deann-r

      June 23, 2024 at 8:48 pm

      I definitely don’t wear form fitting jeans. What do you struggle with the most or makes them uncomfortable for you? Even though I prefer the length of “short” they don’t give me enough butt room seated so stick with regular length. We gather them up and my pca will get them up as high up on my legs as they can. Then roll one way then the other and with any luck they’re up. Accidentally ordered button fly once and don’t recommend.

      Do you always get dressed in your chair? I get my bottom half dressed on the bed and top half in my chair. Once I’m in my chair my caregiver pulls up on the back of my jeans to scoot me back where I need to be. That’s why I can’t imagine wearing a skirt.

  • alyssa-silva

    June 18, 2024 at 9:53 am

    It’s funny you should mention Liberare… I’m actually the brand’s chief creative officer! I’ve been working there for four years now, and even to this day, I get so excited when someone mentions us. So glad to hear we’re on the right side of adaptive fashion. 🙂

    I don’t know if I have the best fashion advice for you, though. I’m super petite, so what works for me probably doesn’t work for you. In the summer, I opt for strapless, flowy maxi dresses and skirts. I wear a brace for my scoliosis, so anything that fits over that and isn’t too clingy. The tighter the dress, the more obvious it is when you look discombobulated. With flowy material, you can sort of hide it better.

    I don’t usually wear tank tops. Some dresses I wear do have skinny tank straps, but as long as they’re adjustable, I’ll wear them with no problem.

    Have you tried maxi dresses before? If they’re too long, I just leave the material gathered on my footplates. Going to a seamstress makes the most sense, but I’m too lazy to do that, haha.

  • susana-m

    June 18, 2024 at 6:16 pm

    Ha! Adore my wraparound skirt but my family hates putting it on me so I’ll wear it when my carer is here. Didn’t realize that’s a shared strategy.

    @alyssa-silva Think I knew you worked there. Recently submitted a suggestion for a brace-friendly cami and a bra, was surprised when I got an email. Your customer service rocks.

    I’ve got a few maxi dresses, the flowy material is a great way to create the illusion of balance. Get a lot more use of clothes that fit properly so off to the seamstress I go

    • alyssa-silva

      June 20, 2024 at 1:57 pm

      I’m glad to hear that! We truly value customer feedback, so thank you for reaching out.

      I wish I could be of more help with your fashion choices. Where do you usually shop?

      • lisa-bertolini

        July 13, 2024 at 7:10 pm

        @alyssa-silva I just made my first purchase! What a great bra! Can we do anything to expand the color line?

      • alyssa-silva

        July 14, 2024 at 9:25 pm

        I’m excited for you! We have some products coming out later this year that will be a new color. 🙂 What colors do you like best?

  • lisa-bertolini

    June 22, 2024 at 7:24 pm

    Hi all! This is a great topic. I have hit 59 years old and I am depressed because my scoliosis has my right side coming very far out. It’s getting harder find tops that fit my body structure and seatbelt.

    I love skirts and also struggle with getting positioned in my chair when my caregivers do not have a waistband pull on to adjust me.

    For pants, I regularly shop at Lands’ End and purchase every color of the high-waisted sports knit pants and stretch-knit Jeans. They average $29 per pair. I take them to the tailor and have the pockets removed so that they lay flat and smaller on my waist line. One of my greatest challenges is when caregivers have long nails that rip right through my clothes, and never on the seams!

    What are you all doing about your feet? I love shoes. Unfortunately I am told that I have lymphedema and I don’t fit in any. Right now I just wrap them in a bandages which upsets me. I look in the mirror and I feel that I am not this person inside.

    • Nate88

      June 23, 2024 at 8:24 pm

      Are you familiar with Billy Footwear? They have the best adaptive shoes because they look like regular shoes 👞

    • deann-r

      June 23, 2024 at 9:10 pm

      Lands End, I’ll have to check them out. Ha, ha, I too dread when my caregivers have artificial nails. It’s another reason I like jeans. Usually they start with the beltloops. When they break we move onto the waistband but eventually that gives out too. Do you find difficulty positioning when the pants have stretch?

      Shoes…my nemesis! For my potato feet I stick with Crocs or Skecher Foamies about two sizes too big. I’ve been tempted to try Billy’s I think it is but I don’t know. Have you tried compression socks? I didn’t find them helpful but it might be worth a conversation with your doctor.

  • susana-m

    June 28, 2024 at 6:24 pm

    @lisa-bertolini , I completely understand what you’re talking about. Scoliosis does weird things to your body, it’s not just the S-curve, it’s the twist that makes clothes fall in unexpected ways.

    Shoes! I miss them. Nobody in my family could understand the fact that they were accessories: foot jewelry. I tried ballerina slippers for a while then barefoot sandals, after that it was anklets & pedicures. Currently, I use thick socks regularly, but I do get a pedicure, henna or create a pretend sandal with spirit gum & plastic jewels when it’s something fancier.

    Our clothing is a form of self expression, it shouldn’t be dictated by our medical reality

    @Deann-f, you’re describing how I would put on jeans in high school a lifetime ago. At this point I’m getting dressed in my chair, it’s just easier.

    Compression socks were a disaster for me. Putting them on and off meant a lot of strong arming them into place, and I couldn’t tolerate knuckles digging into my legs. Now I compromise by elevating my feet at night and turning on the massage setting.

    @Nate88, thanks for the heads up. I didn’t even know about that company.

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