5 Styling Tips For People With Disabilities

A guest post by Amy Evans

Hi everyone! Seeing as this is my first post for Zoe, I thought I’d do a little introduction about myself. My name is Amy and I’m 21 years old from Perth Australia. I have a rare condition called Nemaline Rod Muscular Myopathy which means I have to use an electric wheelchair to get around. So, with that, I thought I’d give you my top 5 styling tips for a person with a disability. 

Tip 1 – Feel Good Look Good

Black pants for every occasion

There is an old saying that when you feel good you look good and this is true for everyone, but especially someone with a disability. There’s nothing worse than wearing something uncomfortable because when taking a photo that’s going to come across in your face. One of my most comfortable outfits that always looks good is a pair of black leggings, like how every girl needs a little black dress in their wardrobe. Teaming this with some flats or boots and a nice shirt and you’re good to go (similar to the picture). You could also wear jeans but as someone who’s sitting down all the time, I find jeans uncomfortable, hence I go for leggings or elasticized pants and the softer the better! You could also wear jeans but as someone who’s sitting down all the time, I find jeans uncomfortable, hence I go for leggings or elasticized pants and the softer the better! One thing I must note is that high heel shoes aren’t always comfortable, but they can really dress up an outfit. When sitting in my wheelchair, I’ve found a medium height heel is the best for me (no higher than 6 cm/ 2.5 in to be exact). Dropping my footplate also means I can wear heels while still supporting my legs, so if this is an option for you, I would recommend it. 

Tip 2 – Stretchy material

One of my go-to jackets
Scuba knit dress

One of the biggest problems I have with finding clothes is how some items are just impossible to get one, especially as due to my condition someone else dresses me. Because of this stretchy material is my best friend and it should be yours too. This is very true for jackets. I would love to be able to wear a leather jacket but because they are just too hard to get on and don’t move with my body I do. Finding any jackets that are easy to move is in hard, so you’ll find many jacket repeats in my outfits (I have about four jackets). Not only is stretchy material easy to get on and off but it also looks good. It hugs your body but isn’t restrictive, which I love because as someone with very little curves, stretchy material shows off what curves I do have. For those of you who sew clothes (I’m very lucky in that my mum is a seamstress because it means she can custom make my dress in particular), scuba knit fabric is my absolute favorite! It’s stretchy, comfortable and looks a dream on. The dress below is made out of scuba knit. If you don’t sew, however, you can always look for clothes that have a four-way stretch. This means that the material can stretch both horizontally and vertically. 

Tip 3 – Be Modest

My ideal type of dress

Being classy is always in style! As a young woman, it’s very hard to find clothes that have sleeves in winter (because I feel the cold) and dresses/skirts that aren’t short. Now I’m not saying don’t wear that mini skirt or crop top but know what looks good on. For me I find short dresses get even shorter when I’m sitting down, to the point that it could look like I’m not wearing anything on my bottom half. So, what are my go-to hemlines you say? As I wear a lot of dresses to the races, I love something that sits just on or below my knee. This looks very classy and it’s also great in summer too as it offers sun protection. If I’m going any shorter, I’ll go just above the knee, as any shorter and I find myself tugging the dress down the whole day. In terms of necklines, I love any action back with straps. This is just a personal taste though as I feel this design looks good with my skinny shoulders. I’m also not one for spaghetti straps or strapless as again I don’t want to spend the whole day fixing my shirt. I also love tops with a feature collar, as this will also add a professional element if that’s what you after. It must be noted that you can still have a lot of fun with modest clothes. Think pops of color, bold fabric, etc. 

Tip 4 – Accessories and details are the way to go

Black felt hat

Nothing changes an outfit more than different accessories. If you have a limited wardrobe, then this is the way to go. Personally, I love a good hat and handbag, with jewelry just finishing the look off. Perhaps because I’m at the races all the time, I have quite the collection of hats and fascinators to choose from. In terms of hats, you can’t beat a black felt hat, like one I’m wearing the picture below. You can dress it up or down as well as teaming it with different styles. Having a neutral color like black also means it will go with everything. With handbags, they can either add that pop of color or complement the outfit nicely. Personally, I’m not about brands and I’m happy with a cheap bag that looks good. Due to my wheelchair, I find clutch bags are the best as they are nice and proportionate to me in my wheelchair. I recently brought a mini tote bag which I’m loving as well. If you’re in a wheelchair too, look for bags that come with a long strap so you can wrap it around your armrest, that way it won’t sit too low and drag on your wheels. Jewelry is that accessory that finishes off your outfit. With earrings, I love a classic big hoop as they just go with everything. If I have my hair up, I’ll either go for a statement stud or dangling earring (I loved the tassel trend). Along with earrings, I’ll wear a simple watch on my left wrist and a ring on my right pointer finger. I wear only a single ring because I find that easier with my hands (so it’s a personal thing) and I wear it on that finger because when I drive my wheelchair that’s the finger you can see. 

Tip 5 – Be yourself and know yourself

I can give you all these tips but at the end of the day style comes from within and keeping up with the latest trends (just because you have a disability doesn’t mean you can’t like fashion and keep up to date). Style is a very personal thing and don’t be afraid if it takes you years to find your style. I would say I only found mine within the last 5 years and even then, it’s still evolving. At the moment I would say it’s classic modern. By knowing yourself you’ll also know what looks good on you. Use this knowledge and trust your gut. This point relates back to the tip of “feel good look good”. By knowing what looks good on shopping will also be made easier, whether this is colors, fabrics or outlines. So, I hope you have enjoyed reading my tips and I hope this helps you find your next favorite outfit, whether you have a disability or not. 

Author bio: Amy Evans is from Perth, Australia and lives with a rare disability called Nemaline Rod Muscular Myopathy, resulting in her using an electric wheelchair. Her major passion in life is horse racing. She loves sharing her life experiences and fashion outfits through her blog, The Velvet Court, while educating people on what it’s like to have a disability. 

Email address: thevelvetcourt@outlook.comBlog/website link: http://www.thevelvetcourt.com

Social media accounts: Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest @thevelvetcourt

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