When I first ended up in the wheelchair, clothes were very problematic. (To be fair, they’re still problematic, but I’m learning how to cope.) For people not in a wheelchair, go to a chair and try to put on pants without using your legs. I’ll wait.
Not fun, right?? When my Occupational Therapists first tried to teach me, I looked at them like they’d gone crazy. I told them that I would channel my sister who lives in cute little dresses. The only problem there: she’s dainty and feminine. I am the ultimate tomboy. Jeans and sneakers are my go to mode of dress. My mom loves telling the story of when I was little, she would fight me to put me in a dress. I would always win. For several years, the Christmas picture would be my sister in a frilly dress and me in velvet knickers. I may have been a tomboy, but I still liked soft and pretty things.
I bought a couple dresses, but then I realized a whole new problem: when you’re in a wheelchair wearing a knee-length dress, people can see right up. Easy fix- tights or leggings. New problem: I live in the desert where it’s 90 degrees or more for 9 months out of the year. Not fun. Not unsweaty.
I did live in sweatpants, gym shorts and t-shirts for probably a good 6 months. But, I realized I had to wear real clothes every now and then. I can only use the “But I’m in a wheelchair!” excuse for so long. The following is a few things I have learned over the months on how to be stylish, comfortable and functional.