Do you have a wheelchair style … No, not your actual wheelchair but what you wear in it, a personal style?
Odd question, no? But you’d be surprised – if you’re not a wheelchair user – at how often people assume that, if you are a wheelchair user or ill or just different in any physical way, you don’t care what you look like. Or is it just me who was surprised by this … Who knows?
I’ve banged on about this in other posts, noting also that ‘wheelchair style’ isn’t really a ‘thing’ because a wheelchair doesn’t give style commonality any more than being blonde does, for example. We remain unique individuals in style terms and most of us manage, much as non-wheelchair users do, to get ourselves clothed using high street and online stores just like our family and friends and that’s how we like it.
Sure, we have our frustrations and there are a few of us who really need help, but, in general, we veer away from any suggestion of an outlet for those with special needs, in part because those that exist have, generally, absolutely no style.
Of course there are some exceptions – the Canadian site, IZ, being one of them – but, in almost twenty years of wheeling, I’ve seen many passionate and committed people try, and fail – through lack of demand – to provide a stylish and/or fashionable range of products to those with special needs – wheelchair users being part of that group.
One of the reasons people fail is because their passion is usually derived from personal experience and that’s just too narrow an offer, in an already minority market, to succeed. I’ve almost ventured there myself – because of my own difficulties sourcing the clothes and shoes that I want to wear – but haven’t because all the research I’ve done indicates that we – the ‘special needs’ market – just don’t want a ‘special’ product … mostly for the same reasons plus size people used to hate ‘plus size’ ranges.
Even when necessity demands it, our needs are so disparate, personal and specific, it is almost impossible for a mass market, generic product to satisfy us … or even for their makers to find us to make us aware they exist.
All of which means if we want ‘special’, we have to go bespoke – expensive and risky as few bespoke makers deal with disability needs – or manage with what we are able to find which isn’t exactly a boost to our personal style aspirations, is it?
Maybe this will change over the next decade or so, as our population ages – illness and disability correlate highly with ageing – but right now, there’s little demand for, or supply of, stylish products for the purple £.
So, that was a long out-loud thought leading to the making-do section of this post …
Much of my own making-do involves buying a lot of Rundholz garments:
- in black – my only colour choice
- with asymmetrical styling – so forgiving to seated peeps (see back slit below which would part nicely on my butt so no bunched fabric behind me)
- in cotton jersey, or 95% at least, so I don’t sweat all over my wheelchair and have some stretch built-in and,
- in the super one-size that they do which fits with wiggle room to spare.
I know it’s July but the Autumn stock is coming in now – yes, crazy, but it will sell fast – so if your style needs, as a wheelchair user, might be similar to mine, click across to my Plus Black blog: New Autumn Rundholz for more deets. The Rundholz Tunic shown here is from the Rundholz Black Label collection at Select Mode online.
Happy shopping and do post me any personal style tips of your own that you’d like to share.