Descriptors, Disability & Dress
In last week’s post “What Is Your Dress Code Personality?” I touched on two qualities that help us determine our style–lifestyle and disability. Today I want to talk about the complexity of our numerous personal characteristics that make us who we are and how it ties into the way we dress.
Adjectives used to describe me from friends and relatives range from focused, obsessive, passionate, serious, and rigid, to a funny and conscientiously idiosyncratic killjoy who’s a crazy perfectionist.
Working non-stop, placing impossibly high standards on myself, and being a control freak are the cornerstones to who I am as a person. I’m a pragmatic, resourceful, impatient, planner, list maker, and survivor.
I dream of being an adventurer and risk taker. Ambitions of mountain climbing, backpacking in the vast wilderness, bungee jumping, whitewater rafting, scuba diving, skydiving, or even going completely off the grid are buried deep within me but contrary to my character.
So how does the loss of sight impact my style or the way I dress? Having an affinity for the business/professional look emerged from my dominant serious side and the loss of vision hasn’t changed my desire to achieve a polished finish. However vision loss plays a huge role in my daily appearance leading to doubts and questions like:
- Does this look right?
- Are the colors harmonious?
- Does it fit the way it should?
- Is it hanging correctly?
- Did that stain come out in the wash?
- Do my accessories work?
- Do I have panty lines?
- Are my love handles showing?
- Am I covered in lint or dog hair?
- And a bazillion more questions and clothing changes
As a legally blind person, I can only speak to those disabilities as they relate to vision issues. However because the spectrum of disabilities and the people affected by them is so varied, I’d venture to say that the role that they play in the area of style is unique to each individual. In addition, depending on the disability, we cannot exclude the numerous tools of independence that also play a critical function in our style.
Up until my retirement two years ago, business attire style of dress was practically second nature for me. The transition from my business style to adding a more casual element to my appearance was a bit of a challenge.
At times I’ve wished I were more eclectic or even whimsical but as I’ve learned throughout my lifetime I have to work within my given set of parameters. Unless I experience a serious personality transformation I will always feel at home in dresses, skirts, and the like however I’m learning to embrace a more casual lifestyle.
This summer I’ve worn more shorts than in summers’ past and since I’m older and have gone through significant bodily changes I look for shorts that are longer. I still haven’t made the leap into patterned shorts but at the same time I haven’t ruled them out just yet. Right now working with solids and neutrals are comforting.
Combining an elegant top with casual shorts or a tank with classy shorts and wedges can be very stylish. Playing up accessories like a long pendant necklace, stacked bracelets, earrings, any, or all three, will give an added dimension to the look you are trying to achieve.
I’ve accumulated several hats & ball caps, sneakers, and hoodies to my summer wardrobe and I almost always mix casual and dressy. In the pictures included with this post I am wearing cuffed white Bermuda shorts, navy & white scoopneck striped tank, white sneakers, natural straw fedora, and tan hobo. I kept my silver hoop earrings and blue pavé crystal bead Shamballa bracelet simple.
- Style & Co.Bermuda Shorts (old) | Macy’s
- Striped Shirttail Tank (old) | Ann Taylor (similar HERE)
- Fedora (old) | Forever 21 (similar HERE)
- White Plimsolls (old) | Forever 21 (similar HERE)
- Hobo (old) | Amazon (similar HERE)
As human beings, all of us are more than a complex collection of attributes. We are full of feelings, hopes, dreams, wishes and fears. Just because some of us live with disabilities this should not exclude us from the world of fashion.
“Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.” ~Charles Addams