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Channeling Your Inner Sporty Chic

Descriptors, Disability & Dress

Standing frontal pose White Bermudas, Navy Striped Tank & FedoraIn the mainstream fashion industry disability is not a consideration when we talk about style. However for those of us living with a disability it becomes a major focus in every aspect of our lives.

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.

Sitting with legs crossed frontal pose Standing rear pose

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.

Standing rear post 2

Transitioning 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.

Standing frontal pose 2

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

8 thoughts on “Channeling Your Inner Sporty Chic

  1. Veins, and wings…we are two peas in a pod. We will just have to focus on our other attributes; we still have some pretty left on the outside. You have a lot. We also have our inner beauty which is starting to grow by leaps and bounds! 🙂

    1. Hahaha, I thought I lost this response. Yeah I think Veins and Wings might be a topice for future discussion 🙂

  2. I cannot get over how well this is written! This speaks to so many women and on so many levels. I definitely spoke to me. You have amazing insight.

    I am one of those people who endeavors to be true to myself and one of the ways I express that is in the way I dress. Being in my late 40’s I, too, understand what it is like to transition both in body changes both in how my body looks and how it functions with certain limitations that I haven’t had for very long.

    I like the way you mixed casual and elegant with the use of carefully chosen accessories. That is a neat way to take an out fit from day into evening, and helps to make luggage a little lighter when traveling.

    I bet you would be a great success if you began a youtube vlog, and might even make a nice income from that. 🙂


    1. A million thank yous for this comment Theresa!! I kind of wish I would have known about the changes my body has experienced within the last few years but then again I was aware of some and for whatever reason thought I was immune. Varicose veins – ugh, my grandmother had them but it never occurred to me that I too would inherit them. Add the carefully hidden (and sometimes not) bumps, bulges and jiggly arms (I lovingly refer to them as bat wings) I’m my granmother times 2 lol.

    2. A million thank yous for this comment Theresa!! Before I arrived at my 50s I looked at this particular decade and those that follow as a major transition. But now I realize that every day is a transition and a new opportunity to make the most of it. I try not to yearn for the days when I was thinner or even skinny because back then all I wanted was to be more shapely. These days I’m enjoying the more casual challenge.

      Been thinking about vlogging it just the video editing that trips me up b/c it’s so time consuming. If I can find out how to shoot video more efficiently then I’m hoping I can overcome this obstacle.

  3. I love it! Sometimes it takes half for life for you to discover your signature look and embrace it. Your blog is so cheery and ethereal – it comes through beautifully. Ah-mazing 😊

    1. Thank you for your very kind words!! 🙂

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