Divya Babbar goes shopping
Our columnist, a local 19 year old wheelchair user with spinal muscular atrophy, goes shopping for clothes
Coveting the gorgeous dresses at the Oscars I sit, at a loss, in front of my laptop. Most red-carpet dresses seem to be floor-length and, as a wheelchair user, this can be a major hazard. Everything gets longer when you are sitting and horrible things can happen if your skirt gets caught in your wheels. I have almost been catapaulted from my chair by a snagged frock. Not ideal when you’re trying to look classy!
Long dresses aside, shopping online is a real blessing for wheelchair users. It allows us to make our purchases independently, and it’s easier to navigate around the clothes. In shops, people have a habit of blocking the aisles.
That said, every so often, a girly shopping day at the mall is a must but, whether shopping on or offline, I always apply the four wheel fashion rules.
1. Make sure clothes are comfy. Sitting in one position all day can be tiring when you’re uncomfortable. Hard trousers leave impressions on the skin which can become itchy. I buy jeggings, because they look like jeans but are softer. Another option is the ‘supersoft’ skinny jeans, available in New Look in a variety of colours.
2. When it comes to tops, I – literally – steer clear of materials that cling, like nylon and jersey. Having a physical disability is not always conducive to rock-hard abs (some of us don’t get to the gym that much, ya know), so looser is more flattering. Avoid crop tops at all costs. Just no.
3. Jackets and coats are tricky. My arms aren’t that mobile or strong, so I have a problem with heavy coats like furs, duffles and parkas and I find leather too stiff. If you’re shopping, rocking or bar-hopping, a lightweight, cropped jacket is best as you won’t have to keep asking someone to take your jacket on and off.
4. Dresses and skirts are super comfy but, as I said before, length is key. If you’re looking for knee-length you need to buy a dress or skirt designed to finish at mid-thigh. So, basically, the shorter the better (sorry dads!). Alternatively, try Topshop’s petite range, or (my personal favourite) head to the kids’ section of any store. Not only is everything shorter, but it’s also cheaper. Win-win!
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