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Dressing like an adult, and how to feel feminine??

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    Dressing like an adult, and how to feel feminine??

    Do you guys wear clothes like skirts and dresses? And nice shoes, I know I've read of at least one member that wears high heels?

    Its silly, but its the little things that seem to depress me the most about being disabled. I can't hold hands with who I'm dating due to pain, not being able to wear high heels.. I'm a part time wheelchair user. Up until now, I haven't been able to wear skirts or dresses since I was in high school. This was due to having to choose shoes that fit with ankle braces and orthotics, and pants to cover up the leg bracing. I went to my oldest friend's wedding this past saturday and seeing all the guests in dresses and high heels made me really sad. But now with the wheelchair, I have a bit more freedom... I don't have to put on all my leg bracing if I'm going to be using the chair! So I'm starting to think about dresses and skirts and pretty shoes. Though another concern of mine is skin issues, and being very ashamed of the way the skin on my legs looks. I can always cover it up with tights though!

    I also want to cover my wrist braces. I love how they are barely noticeable in cold weather with long sleeves. Completely invisible when long sleeves are combined with wheelchair gloves! I've started getting an interest in wrist warmers, to be used as wrist brace covers. I can't believe I never thought of it before. There are wrist brace covers sold, but they're really expensive. I sew so I'm going to start messing around with it. And a friend of mine knits, so we talked and if I supply the yarn she will knit me 'fingerless gloves' perfectly sized to cover the braces. Hopefully I will have some for fall! I'm not sure how to combine them with gloves for pushing the chair though. That would be overkill, braces, covers, AND gloves! I bought some wide elastic to make a loop to put over the part of the brace that shows below my gloves. I'm wanting to dye a set of my braces black, so that way combined with black gloves it should all blend together. The black elastic will help cover most in case the dye job is horrible, and it doubles by preventing the bottom velcro strap from detaching. The braces are white and grey, so I also got white velcro and was looking at pale tan gloves and then staining the white elastic with tea to match, and not much grey should show? I have a couple sets of braces btw, so that I swap between washing. I'm working in my head though on making something that would work with (the much prettier) wrist brace covers, like something that covers just the palm and doesn't cover much on the back of my hand.

    How do you guys dress up?
    Last edited by ~Lin; 29 Mar 2012, 2:37 AM.
    Board Member of Assistance Dog Advocacy Project working in Education. Feel free to ask me any service dog questions!

    I am not paralyzed. I have a genetic connective tissue disorder with neuro complications and a movement disorder.

    There have been some good threads on this topic. Just a few I found quickly:

    NL (GJ's wife and caregiver)


      For shoes I do cute flats with buckles, rhinestones, whatever. I'm not really into dressing up. You can find nice dark wash jeans and a cute dressy or even plain top. Add the flats and accessorize w/ jewelry/scarves/ get the point.
      Aerodynamically, the bumble bee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn't know that, so it goes on flying anyways--Mary Kay Ash


        Long dresses are in style, especially now that the warmer months are ahead. They have some really cute styles out now. I haven't worn a dress since my accident. I use hiking poles and still worry about falling. However, a long dress might be just the ticket. No heels for me though!


          Originally posted by gjnl View Post
          There have been some good threads on this topic. Just a few I found quickly:
          Thanks I'm more looking for an open conversation and talking with people who understand where I'm coming from, than research. For example when talking to my mom she asked why can't I just wear some high leather high heeled boots and skip the ankle braces and orthotics, because they offer more support than shoes... I was kinda speechless!

          I have nice pants and some nice pants for nicer things, like I wore slacks and this lacy top my aunt gave me to the wedding. I think I used the wrong words, I don't exactly mean something really fancy. Most of the time I dress like a teenager. I used to occasionally watch reruns of that show 'what not to wear' and pretty much dress like the befores! I did learn about how dark straight leg jeans there though. Mostly I wear flared jeans because I'm short. Its weird, if I buy the 'short' options on jeans they're TOO short, and with regular jeans I can't stand them bunching up at my ankle. So the flared jeans the excess flows over my shoe better.

          I have a huge thing for tshirts, that won't ever change. But over the last couple years I've been trying to get some nicer shirts too. I'm trying to dress more like an adult

          I don't use purses, I can't carry them. When I'm walking my service dog carries anything I need in her packs, and I have a bag attached to my wheelchair as well. I'm also not a jewelry wearer... Never have been there. Once my stepmom bought me a matching necklace/earring set for christmas. It came up talking to my mom, who replied "has she MET you yet?!" hahaha.

          The one fashion thing I do have is a thing for coats. I have a ton of cute fall and winter coats from ebay and good will. Besides for ordering my fun tshirts, I do all my shopping on ebay or good will. Awesome finds!

          With the chair, I'm really excited about finding cute shoes. I love those ballet flat kinds. Absolutely not an option with my braces! But should work well even with long jeans on the chair? And I am interested in trying some long skirts out! I even have a couple from high school that still fit (I'm only 26.) They're like new because they were only for certain events.

          Growing up I was always mega-tomboy. Then as an adult I started to want to be more feminine, but felt like I couldn't! I wonder if its only because the choice was taken away from me that I want it back. I still love my jeans and shirts year round (over long sleeves in winter!) but I want more options. I also still look like a teenager, and I'm sure my manner of dressing doesn't help there! At christmas my aunt asked me how old I was, and then laughed and said how I look younger than her son (who I used to babysit)! I know the whole 'you'll be grateful for it later on' and DO like it at times.

          Do you guys get the same way, where the little things drive you nuts? Like I've come to expect about not being able to do the big things... So the little things, especially since others don't understand, are irritating. I don't feel womanly... Or know how to.
          Board Member of Assistance Dog Advocacy Project working in Education. Feel free to ask me any service dog questions!

          I am not paralyzed. I have a genetic connective tissue disorder with neuro complications and a movement disorder.


            Hey Lin
            Since the only time I get out is to PT, I get to cop out!
            I wear dual swedish knee cages when I'm walking, so it either has to be a jean that can fit under the braces, or something big that can over it, or a capri pant (nice or causual both work usually and thankfully!) that half fits over it (the bulkiest part sits JUST below my knee). In my chaiar I just wear whatever since I rarely get up and walk once I'm in it, I'm either walking a short distance with my braces/forearm crutches or I'm sitting. So I don't have a huge problem I've found a lot of things that work. I prefer very much to wear something under my braces as fi they aren't sitting just right they can rub. I am supposed to be wearing compression hose to help my dysautonomia/bloodflow/blood pressure/blood pooling so that works. I also plan on wearing leggings a lot this summer when its too hot for compression stockings. that way I can feel feminine and nice and not get all bruised up! they even work under a sporty pair of shorts for PT.

            For me its jsut a matter of making the effort. I honestly don't most of the time. but even if its just a v necked tee shirt with a cami, and a pair of mesh shorts I feeel better than a baggy tee short and boy shorts. (though oh how comfy the latter is! ;D i'm such a tomboy too)


              PS: as far as shoes, I'm usually in my nike's with my custom orthotics/lift since one leg is higher than the other due to significant scoli. I too love a good ballet flat though, or my sports slip ons, or even my ol' chuck taylors. doesn't matter when i'm sitting! heck i wish i could just go barefoot!


                A couple of thoughts about bringing your fashion quotient up a notch...

                I'm similar to you in that I don't like/tolerate jewelry (although I've learned to wear it more often than I did when I was younger), and don't want a lot of accessories hanging around me. I do wear scarves quite a bit, as they are lighter weight than necklaces.

                In order to be more "stylish", I think that if you don't wear many accessories, your clothing has to work harder - it has to fit really well, the color has to suit you, the fabric needs to hang well, the details (collar, buttons, pockets, whatever) need to be right on. So instead of crew neck sports team t-shirts, maybe you're wearing a ballet neck or scoop neck tee made out of a more substantial knit with elbow length or 3/4 length sleeves, or a graphic fashion tee instead of a logo tee.

                After years of teeter-tottering back and forth, I've decided (for myself) that there is something of a trade-off between comfort and style, and that looking stylish requires a little more work and a little more conscious thought, and that's just the way it is. What's helped me there is finally getting to the point where just about every piece of clothing I own is something I like, that fits me, and that I'm happy to wear (assuming the appropriate activity/occasion).


                  I tend to focus on having a nice looking top half, something in a flattering color and cut, with jewelry. I also keep my hair well groomed. I go for a "natural" look, but wear a little make-up. I keep my hands as well groomed as I can pushing. LOL Below the waist I just keep everything simple. I almost always wear pants. I wear shoes with flat rubber soles that tend to stay on my foot rest and blend in with my pants. All the interesting stuff I keep on the top half. Just make sure the top and bottom go well together and you should look great. I buy pants at places like Penny's, Marshall's and Ross. Tops, any where I find them. I look at thrift stores in rich upscale areas I find some great looking tops.
                  I definitely look feminine, but not like I'm over compensating.


                    I wanted to click "Like" on Katja's post (FB habit).


                      Originally posted by Lilli View Post
                      I wanted to click "Like" on Katja's post (FB habit).



                        Because of where I live (Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma so far) I can get away with year-round cowboy boots. I wear them w/ dresses in summer. Due to being An Old, I don't wear short skirts. Just below the knee or maxi works. You can NOT wear the "flowing" type of skirt in a chair. THE SKIRT GETS CAUGHT IN YOUR CASTERS! I can't over-emphasize this, after buying a fowy skirt on ebay and having to crawl out of it into my van. Thank God for boyshorts, a thong in the parking lot would have mortified me for life! So remember, w/ longer skirts-Gotta go a bit slinkier. This works well for me since I'm skinny with no hips or boobs (I also have Graves disease).

                        Have you seen the movie Country Strong? Gwyneth Paltrow is biting my style head-to-toe in that movie!

                        Ppl think I'm tall, but I think 5'5" isn't tall.

                        I can walk a very short distance. I need an AFO but don't have one. The 2" or so heel on a good cowboy boot makes walking much easier. They have also saved me some road rash and probably broken bones. Look cute w/ skinny jeans tucked in, at least I think so.

                        I also like the sandals that zip up the back. I have a few in a modified metallic gladiator style. They're a godsend w/ my finger function issues. Cute w/ dresses, shorts, jeans.

                        My first pair of post sci shoes were hi-top chuck taylors, black w/ flames. I was in defiance mode, wore those w/ sundresses LOL.

                        You can ebay cowboy boots btw. They can be modified to zip down the sides or back by any good saddle shop or shoe repair place. Maybe they're not so feminine but I think mine are. One pair of rockabilly style, short, scalloped top, black lizard Lucchese's-those are Ferrari boots, got 'em for an unbelievable $100 on ebay. Also have new, taller light brown w/ embroidered white roses on them. Ppl scoff but those boots will kill in New Mexico, w/ a slinky dress, skinny leather jacket and awesome silver/turquoise jewelry.

                        As the old song said, I was country when country wasn't cool. It's worked out so far!

                        I feel your pain. Buying shoes for/with an AFO is a nightmare.
                        Does This Wheelchair Make My Ass Look Fat?


                          I live in Oregon and always get compliments on my cowboy boots. I recently had the toes and heels capped with ornately engraved silver ornaments from an artist in Montana. The silver actually helps keep the toes from getting banged up when I use them as a door battering ram. I love my boots and they help keep the ankles straight when transferring.

                          I also wear all the high heels I own. Some have four inch heels and I bet I could never have walked in those even AB, but since I don't always walk, I wear thos sinful heels.
                          Anything worth doing, is worth doing to excess


                            So many replies! You guys are awesome. I haven't replied sooner because I didn't have the focus I wanted to give all the replies.

                            Mills, thats not an excuse! lol. Most of the time all I go to is Drs appointments. I don't mind wearing PJ pants and a sweatshirt to the food pantry or grocery store So even the Drs appointments are an option, if you wanted to. When I do get out I like to pretend I'm a real fully functioning person, so I'd like to look nice and put together for Drs appointments even I don't have any jeans that fit over my donjoy brace, so I just wear it over. Most of my jeans (again, teenage/juniors clothing haha) are stretchy and snug at the thigh and knee. It works because I can't wear it on my bare skin, it irritates my skin too much. over the winter what I was doing was wearing a pair of tights, then the brace, then my PJs over that. Once I was sitting on my bed with my pjs rolled up to my thigh putting on the brace over a pair of white tights. My roommate stops and goes "OH! You're wearing TIGHTS! I was thinking, she's not THAT pale is she?!" I always joke that I'm so pale I glow My friend that I went to the wedding with went "have you always been that pale?" when he saw me, and I answered "yes"

                            How much does the compression stuff help? I've been told to try, but its another thing I'd have to pay for out of pocket. When I don't have my feet up though my legs swell and I get purply from a vascular skin condition. Thats what I want to cover up, I get so embarrased. Its especially annoying when I see my dermatologist, because she can't see the status of my actual skin when I'm all purple, it makes the scars look identical to the existing stuff. If I could just take off compression hose when she gets to the room instead of propping my legs up in the waiting room and exam room hoping its enough time that would be so much easier!

                            Thanks Katja! I don't have any sports tshirts, they're mostly all graphic art ones. Some have writing though like my "America, only the insured survive" tshirt or my "Got Carbs?" ones lol. Like this is one of my favs, is that what you mean by graphic art?

                            Those ones are all crew neck though I think. I have some just plain colored shirts with different necks, stuff like the fitted but long to the hips ones. Thats the sort of thing that I've been trying to branch into more. Is that good? Though I guess you lose the length of it when you're just sitting down. Thats the problem with a lot of my coats. I love fitted peacoats and have a few that are long, like mid thigh or even knee. But I was thinking those won't work in the chair!

                            I don't do much with my hair because its too difficult. But I've learned how to better care for my hair, its naturally wavy/curly and looks nice just down and loose now so I don't have it constantly in a ponytail. I think that helps! And sometimes I'll french braid it after a shower, and if I wrap it at night I can leave it in the french braid for days. (I only wash my hair once a week)

                            Betheny, thanks for the tip about flowy skirts!!! Thats something I was wanting to try for summer, so good to know before I've spent money! Funny that you mentioned graves, I'm the opposite. I have hypothyrodism and suddenly got boobs at 23!

                            I don't like cowboy boots much. I used to train horses and teach lessons. I rode both english and western, but western I always wore lacers ( I also prefer them and lace paddock boots vs zip ones for more ankle support. When I was last riding regularly, I was able to get away with my quality paddock boots and athletic type ankle braces and orthotics inside. That was important, because the ankle braces I have to switch into for walking dont give me the range of motion/ankle flexion needed to ride! I think cowboy boots and country dressing can definitely be feminine. I used to go line dancing in highschool with a bunch of friends from the barn. And a good friend of mine wore cowboy boots with her wedding dress. The groomsmen all had cowboy boots and hats on, but her dress was to the floor and you couldn't see her feet. When she pulled up the skirt to remove the garter I started cracking up because she was wearing an old well worn pair of black cowboy boots
                            Last edited by ~Lin; 1 Apr 2012, 11:28 AM.
                            Board Member of Assistance Dog Advocacy Project working in Education. Feel free to ask me any service dog questions!

                            I am not paralyzed. I have a genetic connective tissue disorder with neuro complications and a movement disorder.


                              Originally posted by ~Lin View Post
                              Thanks Katja! I don't have any sports tshirts, they're mostly all graphic art ones. Some have writing though like my "America, only the insured survive" tshirt or my "Got Carbs?" ones lol. Like this is one of my favs, is that what you mean by graphic art?
                              No, by "graphic tee" I mean something more fashion forward and feminine than a short sleeved crew neck men's t-shirt, even with something cool printed on it. Something like these:, or these:

                              Caveat: I don't shop at Forever21 (because I'm more than twice that old and I don't do disposable trends), and I don't wear t-shirts. I have a stack of shirts from 10Ks and triathlons and other events that never, ever see the light of day.