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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Disabled-Friendly Fashion

Note from Sha-Lene a.k.a. Your Shopping Kaki:
After our guest writer Anna sprained her ankle, she came to me with an inspired idea - to write a blog post on disabled-friendly fashion. While "disability" traditionally refers to permanent handicaps, in this context we're also thinking about the many athletes who get the occasional sprain, and like in this case, anyone can sustain an injury - we never have to rethink our wardrobe until something like this happens. So here's Anna's fresh take on fashion from a glimpse into what physical challenge does to wardrobe decisions :)

"Disabled-Friendly Fashion"
By Anna Chieng (Guest Blogger)

Huh? Disabled-friendly fashion?
How? What's the connection? Is there even such a thing?

I myself never made the connection between "fashion" and "disability" too, till I had an unfortunate fall on the stairs and sprained my ankle :/. Okay, so I understand that a 'sprain' does not amount to a 'disability', but having to be on crutches for a day and a half opened my eyes to the everyday difficulties a person on crutches would face, as tiny as that glimpse may be.

As I was getting dressed in my sprained-ankle state, I realised that the practicality of the clothing mattered a lot. Gone are the days (at least just for a couple of days) when I would sacrifice comfort and put on those killer stilletoes or don those super-tight skinnies. At that point, all I really wanted was comfort. But then again, I wasn't all too ready to ditch the fashionista in me (yeah, I realised I just praised myself :P).

So here are some of my takes on some practical fashion (you can actually use those two words in the same sentence!) for the disabled, starting with...

Tip 1: When-Your-Legs-Decide-To-Fail-You
- Maxi dresses become your best friend :)
As maxi dresses are airy and 'flarey', it's easy for your legs to move about without feeling too constricted. Lycra and other easily stretchable material would be highly recommended, to ensure minimum constriction.

What's also great about maxi dresses is that you wear it from top down, so by it just 'falling' over you there's no need to worry about how you're going to put your legs inside the clothing.

From Ladies Fashion RM49 | RM49

From Agape Boutique RM40
Another thing you can consider too are maxi skirts, which are all the rage now! Cotton On is selling them too :)

From La Robe RM50

Tip 2: You might want to avoid skinnies, leggings and jeggings! Go for paperbag or flare pants, or shorts.
Especially if your leg's in a cast or is bandaged up, the last thing you would want to do (if you even can) is squeeze it through the tiny and super hugging legs of the pants/bottoms. Unless you're okay with alerting the entire neighbourhood with your screams of pain from the movement and aggravation of your injured leg, I highly recommend that you avoid leg-hugging/suffocating pants.

While it might be a bit tricky to put your injured leg through the leg of a paper bag or flared pants, at least it's flared and airy, and relatively easier to wear than non-flared ones.
From Cocktails & Martinis RM55 | From Modello RM49

Shorts also work as they generally do not 'disturb' the leg once worn.

From Sugar Dressing RM49 | RM40

Tip 3: No more heels/stilletoes/wedges! Consider anything flat.
If you're injured leg is in a cast or heavily bandaged, then you wouldn't need to wear any footwear on that feet, but remember you'd be relying almost entirely on your other uninjured leg. However there's also a chance that your injured leg is not too heavily bandaged or not even bandaged at all. In any case, if you're not on a wheelchair (and still need footwear), you would probably be somewhat hopping/limping around.

In this case, apart from the ever-comfortable slippers, it's probably wise to also consider footwear that would cling on to your feet, such as ballet flats, so you won't kick them off.

From Agape Boutique RM39 | RM39

From Agape Boutique RM39 | RM45

Tip 4: When Your Arms Are Immobile
- Big & loose tops would do you good.
Anything that's easy to put your arms through would probably be the most logical thing to wear. Consider loose tank tops, T-shirts, tops with butterfly sleeves, etc.

From Agape Boutique RM34 | From Phat Culture RM43

Tip 5: Try apparel that you can wear without putting your head+arms through anything
My suggestions would include button/zipper/smocked tube dresses, jumpsuits or tops. And if you're cold or want to be a little more conservative, you could just slump a cardigan or a jacket over your shoulders.
From Dorfbury RM59 | From Ancient Orchids RM55

Tip 6: When-Your-Neck-Can't-Turn-To-Look-At-That-Hot-Guy
- Dresses that you can wear from bottom up would be advisable.
As you are wearing them from bottom up, it doesn't pass through your neck at all. So there's no chance of aggravating the poor injured neck.

From The Attires' Attic RM45 | From A Model Studio RM46
Your best bet would be tops which don't pass through the neck.
This includes button down shirts, boyfriend shirts, zipper tops, button/zipper jackets & cardigans, etc.

From Phat Culture RM39 | RM45
Scoop necks and tops/dresses with lots of neck space would be great.
If anything's gonna pass through your neck when you're getting dressed, try to wear something which gives as much neck space as possible.

From Agape Boutique RM40 | RM34

These are just some examples of the typical body parts of injury/disability. When we are fine and well, it's normal that we take our able bodies for granted, but you never know when accidents might happen. Just within the last 2 months, I've seen a friend fracture her collarbone, another spraining his ankle too, and yet another spraining his arm.

So the next time if you fall during that cheerleading practice or twist your arm in that basketball game, or if you're plain clumsy and fall down the stairs like me, remember this article, and remember that fashion can be practical for the disabled :)

Happy Shopping!
Anna Chieng a.k.a Guest Blogger for YSK
Edited by Your Shopping Kaki :)

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