JUNIPER style hacks
Three easy dressing hacks to know if you have disabilities
Founder of fashion blog Trend-Able, Lainie Ishbia offers tips to help make everyday dressing easier...
It’s 8AM on a pre-Covid, (remember those days?) workday. You have an important meeting soon and you need to get dressed and look put together fast. Due to neuropathy, your hands don’t work as fast as your brain wants them to and you struggle to grip the tiny inside zipper on your dress. After what feels like you’ve just finished an hour-long hot yoga class, you finally manage to zip up your dress. Although you’d like to wear the necklace you bought to match it, no-one is home to help you put it on, so you forget it. You then spend the next 10 minutes struggling to get your swollen feet into the only pair of dress shoes that fit your leg braces. Finally, you’re ready to go, but notice that your feet are suddenly slipping around the inside of your shoes. Ugh! You barely make it to your car when one of your shoes falls off onto the garage floor. You’re anxious, frustrated, and definitely late. Can you relate? If so, here are some easy solutions for three common dressing challenges:
Anyone with hand weakness or tremors knows that, All Zippers Are Not Created Equal. Some of them have openings so tiny that it’s impossible to even get a zipper pull tool through the hole, let alone be able to grasp it and pull it up or down. One easy and fashionable solution is to attach decorative zipper pulls or tassel key chains to the ends. Depending on the style you choose, zipper attachments can either match your garment and blend in with it, or they can stand-out and add a unique detail to an otherwise plain article of clothing. Another super simple, no-cost option is to tie a long piece of thin leather cording or ribbon to the end of the zipper. Since it can be tied in a loop at any length, it is a great option for people who have difficulty lifting their arms and/or reaching. Of course, you can do away with annoying zippers completely, by having a tailor replace them with velcro.
One of the first things many people with disabilities tend to give up wearing are accessories. When putting on basic essentials like underwear and socks are difficult to do independently, adding a necklace or bracelet can be seen as an unnecessary frustration. But, the addition of a colorful necklace or meaningful heirloom piece is what allows a person to express their sense of style and and who they are, regardless of having a disability. Accessories can also be awesome conversation starters and a great way to connect with others. A simple hack for being able to put on necklaces and bracelets with clasps is to purchase magnetic clasp converters. They are available in all types and colors of metal, including extremely strong, 14 carat white and yellow gold ones that can replace the clasps on the finest of jewelry. By having someone attach the clasp on your own necklace or bracelet to the jump ring on the magnetic clasp, you can easily convert a traditional clasp to a magnetic one and make putting on jewelry effortless.
When you have foot problems, finding shoes other than sneakers that fit and that are also comfortable to walk in can be a laborious process. This is especially true for orthotic and AFO (leg brace) wearers. When you do finally find a pair that works, that same pair of shoes can feel very different a few hours into wearing them due to swelling. One of the most universally common shoe challenges for many people is shoe slippage. When it’s hard to keep your shoes on, or your foot tends to move around inside your shoe, it’s often because one or both shoes are too large, or your foot requires more depth than the shoe provides. If shoe depth is the issue, look for shoes that have removable insoles and take them out when your feet are swollen or as needed. For shoes that are too big, you can purchase shoe fillers and heel grippers to keep your feet from moving inside the shoes. Also, wearing grippy socks or spraying hair spray (sounds ridiculous, but it works) on your feet before putting on your shoes can help prevent foot slippage. Ideally, choose shoes that have adjustable ankle straps or elastic across the top. For flat ballet style shoes that tend to slip off the back of the foot, you can purchase decorative shoe straps, or shoe harnesses on Amazon. Or, you can always take your shoes to a local shoe repair shop to and ask them to permanently sew elastic strapping to the leather across the top of the shoe and/or around the ankle.
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