Tag Archives: Accessible Fashion

No More Untied Shoes!

I love shoes. This is a little ironic because my CP severely limits the types of shoes that I can wear. I am envious of women that can wear hooker boots, sexy heels and strappy summer sandals. I will never be able to wear those types of shoes. In college I wore only sneakers; for some reason I was convinced that was the only type of shoe I could put on independently and have it stay on my feet.

Unfortunately, sneakers came with their own set of problems, mainly the laces. I did everything I could to avoid tying my shoes, including just leaving them untied which annoyed my college roommate to no end. If I had a quarter for every time that girl tied my shoes, I’d have enough money to buy my very own shoelace tying robot; which I need now that she doesn’t live close enough to tie my shoes anymore.

Shortly after college, angels descended from heaven and delivered unto the world cute, velcro- sneakers for grown-ups. I thought my life had been made, but then I found there were cute mary janes, flats with elastic sides and boots without laces. I no longer needed to struggle with laces, or ask my husband for help. My sneakers soon found themselves pushed into the deep recesses of my closet, shoved under the bed and forgotten, for the most part.

Except, this bounty of laceless shoes isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. They may be cute and easy to put on, but when I am walking for more than a few minutes at the mall, the grocery store or with my dog, they offer absolutely no support for my feet. This was fine when I was young and spry, but now, I often find myself uttering “oh my aching feet” like the grandma on an 80’s sitcom.

I tried to go back to sneakers for those longer walks, only to find that tying my shoes is even harder than it used to be. Seems that old phrase ‘use it or lose it’ definitely applies to my shoe tying ability. So, as I often do in times of trouble, I turned to the internet and discovered that many of my fellow Ceeps (that’s a person with CP, for all you non-Ceeps) were using something called Lock Laces to solve this dilemma. I decided to give it a try.

These laces are awesome and  relatively easy to put in your shoes. It took me a little more time than some; if you have trouble with fine motor skills you might have to employ your shoe tying robot for assistance, but once you get them in your shoes, that’s it! You will never need help tying your shoes again, and you can retrain your robot for another impossible task, like folding a fitted sheet.

My Picks for Easy, Accessible Fashion

When I think about the people who design our clothing, I can’t help but picture some maniacal super villain, plotting my demise with zippers and buttons. He or she sits hunched over a sketchbook coming up with ways to make a pair of pants as complicated as possible. Then, they slap an arbitrary size label on those suckers and wait for me to try them on. It isn’t perverts with hidden cameras in the dressing room, but fashion designers. They watch with a sick sense of glee as I struggle and sweat while my self-esteem goes out the window.

There’s a long list of clothing that makes life harder, not just for people with disabilities, but for women in general. Fortunately, it isn’t all invisible zippers and tiny hooks. There are some articles of clothing that actually make life easier, and when I find one, I snap up as many as possible.

1.   Over the head dresses. These are those cute little dresses that don’t have any zippers or other complicated do-dads. You just throw them over your head and you’re good to go. If you want to get fancy, you can add a those wide belts or a cardigan.

2.   Leggings. Okay, we all know by now that leggings are not real pants, but I sure wish they were. These things are just so easy to wear. They are easy to put on and take off. Plus, they can be worn year round; in spring or summer with dresses and sandals; and in fall or winter with sweaters and boots.

3.   Sketchers© brand shoes. The designers of Sketchers© are the super heroes of the fashion world in my mind. I have never met a Sketcher© I didn’t love. They make everything from sneakers to dress shoes. Their shoes are amazing. They utilize Velcro, and even their dress shoes are durable enough to last for years (even if you drag your feet like I do). I even wore Sketchers© on my wedding day.

4.   Circle skirts. Circle skirts are similar to over the head dresses. There are no zippers or buttons, they just pull right up. These skirts look awesome on everyone because they flow nicely and are not fitted. They look great when you are sitting, making them perfect for those of us that use wheelchairs. As a bonus, they are super easy to make yourself if you like to sew.

5.   Cross body purses. Cross body purses are awesome. They have a long strap so you can wear it across your chest and it won’t fall off your shoulder. When I am in my chair, I like to wear it around my waist which keeps it secure without inhibiting my arms. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of designers that make cute cross body purses. Vera Bradley© is a designer who carries a lot of cross body purses in tons of colors and designs.

At UNlimiters, we’re always looking for products that help us live more independent and easier lives. Have you found a product that has improved your life? Let us know in the Shout section of our store and we’ll try to add it to our selection.


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