Do you struggle to create outfits as a wheelchair user? From one wheelchair user to another, I know how annoying it can be when an outfit doesn’t look the way you thought it would, sitting in your chair and figuring out what works for you and wondering what to do in order to style outfits you love that look great on you. In today’s post, I’m sharing 5 tips for creating outfits as a wheelchair user.
5 Tips For Creating Outfits As A Wheelchair User
Style Tip 1: Emphasize Those Arms & Shoulders
I didn’t even consider this style tip until talking with a style consultant and after that I had this moment of “why didn’t I think of that?” Although there are several reasons to use a wheelchair, in my case, due to Cerebral Palsy, I rely on my arms a lot and have the muscle to prove it. If this is you as well, show those toned arms and shoulders off with pieces that emphasize these areas. You can wear dresses and tops that feature halter, one armed, off the shoulder and cold shoulder styles. This gives a chance for someone’s eyes to focus somewhere else other than the wheelchair when they first see you. Harry Winston once said “people will stare, make it worth their while” I say we listen and have fun with the outfits.
The off the shoulder, cold shoulder, and halter tops are fun, but they are hardly the only options for emphasizing your arms and shoulders.
You can wear:
- V-necks: these show off your collarbone and help you create a more seamless look
- Flutter Sleeve This is one my favorite styles to wear, it hides the shoulder, but brings attention to the arms and has an effect that softens the look.
- Cap Sleeves: Cap sleeves are a bit of coin toss in my opinion, depending on the style of the overall top or outfit if we’re talking about a dress. This type of sleeve can flatter the look or give off a more restricted and more serious kind of look. When I choose cap sleeves, it’s more for professional spring and summer outfits
Style Tip #2 Play Around With Colors & Patterns
Color, Color, Color, Oh the fun you can have with colors and patterns. There are so many options. Your style changes based on your mood, lifestyle factors such as weather, day to day life and for us wheelchair users, how we spend the day: lots of transfers, easy to run errands in, etc. Play into that. Colors and pattern pieces are a great way to add that wow factor to your outfit. Right now, I love styling neutrals with a few pops of color, whether it’s my jacket, accessories, of a pop of red with my lip color. You can make an outfit more vibrant and eye-catching or tone it down for professional situations. For example a simple royal blue top with some medium wash blue jeans for running errands, add a black moto jacket and black boots with an animal print aspect and the outfit looks and has a different feel for a fun night out, though blue may be playing it safe, but you get the point. Color is fun and gives you a multitude of options.
Style Tip # 3: Unfortunately There Are Going To Be Things You Love You Can’t Wear: Don’t Let The Journey For A Great Piece For Your Closet.
As wheelchair users we live in a world that’s not designed for us… for now. There are going to be pieces that you can’t for one reason or another. For me it’s most styles of heels, and high low dresses, it just doesn’t look good in my opinion, sitting all night.
However, that’s the end of the story right?
As a wheelchair user, you know what you can and can’t wear based on how your disability affects your body. I currently love these styles, especially heels, I mean who doesn’t love love heels, but after some research and a little trial and error, I realized that I could wear low block heels so that’s what I learned to style. I now have a few ankle booties, knee-high boots and a newly acquired pair of combat boots that I love. As for the high love dress situation, well I’m still working on that one, but I don’t haven’t had many places to get really dressed up to play around with lately. I did try a romper maxi, but it was too similar a look, next up is a Split maxi romper and a dress with an asymmetrical hem. I’m looking forward to the latter, I think it will be a great option. The seated body type can be styled in pretty much the same things that an abled-bodied person, but on occasion some things need to be approached a different way.
Fashion is making more of an effort to be inclusive after all adaptive fashion is becoming more and more popular. Nevertheless, there are still some aspects of fashion that are not ready for us… Yet. One day, but until then when something isn’t working for your seated body type, don’t immediately abandon the idea just yet, do a little research and some fun and trial and error to see what works for you, this about the only time when my disability comes into play that I even try to have fun with the trial and error process.
Style Tip #4: Heels Are Your Friend For More Than Just Style
Heels. Every girl deserves to have a pair of heels she loves. You may spend a lot of your day in a seated position, but that’s no reason to avoid wearing heels. I’ve always loved fashion, but I’ll admit there are some styles I had to learn to love wearing when sitting in my wheelchair. What I mean by that is that more of the point, I made with the last style tip. You may have to adjust some of the styles you wear like I had to do with the dresses, heels. When it comes to heels though I can’t wear them too high, an extra inch or two is so helpful during the days when I’m doing a transfer or several into my wheelchair. Style and function. It matters.
Style Tip #5: Have Fun With It
The most important style tip I have above all else? Have fun with it. We can easily lose focus on why we like fashion and creating outfits with how hard it can be as a wheelchair user. Style is supposed to be fun and full of self-expression, we may have to make some extra considerations with our outfits, but never stop having fun with your sense of style.
One of my favorite things about style is that there is more than one way to wear something. If something is trending and you would like to try the trend, but the way it’s styled is just not working for you, either style or accessibility wise, you can always style it your own way to work for you. Living with a disability in a world that’s not designed for you in several ways is something that I don’t have a descriptor for, but it’s possible to have fun with it while considering your needs as a person with a disability. Do you have tips that I should add to this post about creating outfits as a wheelchair user? Let me know in the comments.