Wheelchair Fashion for the Fearless!

Jamie Tripp Utitus
Written by
Jamie Tripp Utitus

I mourn the loss of heels. I have never been a high-heel vixen, not even before multiple sclerosis stole my right to choose them, but I nonetheless mourn their loss. But that’s a small fashion limitation to contend with compared to my friends in wheelchairs.

Heels or no heels, they rock fashion and don’t let their “wheelchair” stand in their way. Sometimes I am so inspired that I try heels again. If they can rock the fashions in the chair, then I too can figure out balance, depth perception, vertigo and stilettos. I fail every time. They, however, do not. Wheelchairs and all.

I have pink hair for a reason. Someone told me I couldn’t. So I dyed it. Has anyone ever told you that you couldn’t be stylish in a wheelchair? Maybe you even told this to yourself? Well, it’s time to follow my pink hair lead and realize that you can do anything you want and no one can tell you otherwise.

So let’s get started. With a few measurements and a handy tailor, anything can be made to fit you and the chair. Anything. All you need is the ingenuity (kind of like life hacks) and a couple of alterations.

If you talk to anyone in a wheelchair about fashion they will all agree on one significant thing: clothes can hurt when you spend all day in chair. But don’t worry, I will ad-DRESS that (pun intended), so you can be both fashionable and pain free.

Here’s a solution I love - there are a variety of catalogs for adaptive dressing with many tailored especially for wheelchairs. One resource I really like is called SizeWizer. It was created by a woman who had a sister with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). I love this woman because she proudly blogs that dressing her sister went from hard to nearly impossible, but she was able to help her sister stay fashionable and chic. The SizeWizer will not only help you find your measurements, but tells you how a garment will hang in the chair, fit in your bag or even pocket. It’s ingenious! Use this to know your measurements and you can take just about anything off the shelf and have it altered to fit you and the chair. Check out her blog for some great tips for sewing your own clothes.

If you need some inspiration…I saw the most beautiful bridal gown made for a person in a wheelchair a few weeks ago and found a drop of water on my keyboard. I didn’t even realize I was crying until I saw the water. Maybe it was the story behind that gown that moved me to tears? Perhaps it was just the sheer beauty of it. But what was amazing is that this story was just one of many – seriously, take a look at these amazing wheelchair weddings on Pinterest too!

If there’s one thing I learned in writing this blog post, it’s to not fear fashion in the chair. Be you and own it!

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