Women in wheelchairs often find that their physical condition can severely limit their choices in clothing in addition to their mobility. Clothing is manufactured which is designed to be comfortable and easy to use for people with mobility problems, but there has been a tendency to design with a “one size fits all” approach, making clothing which cater to any kind of disability without taking style into account. Now designers are emerging who cater to women who want up-to-date fashion designed to be stylish and comfortable in a wheelchair.
Clothing designed for use in wheelchairs is generally made to accommodate any disability. This can be very important for people who suffer a lack of motor ability in their hands, as many wheelchair clothing manufacturers include Velcro seams with feaux portable ramps buttons, making it possible to dress themselves independently. If you are able to use buttons, however, you may prefer a button-down shirt, but still want it to be designed to look good while you’re in a sitting position. Clothing is usually designed to look its best when a person is standing or walking.
Clothing design for people in wheelchairs has been slower to evolve than wheelchair design. You can get a variety of wheelchairs to match any disability with any cause, but most wheelchair-appropriate clothing design is designed to be accessible to anyone. Clothing for men with mobility problems is usually very classical, including polo shirts, feaux button-down shirts, classic pants, jeans, or khakis with elasticized waistbands, and sport jackets cut a little shorter to look good in a sitting position.
This isn’t as much of a problem because men’s clothing design is more uniform to begin with. Women’s clothing is much more complicated and varied. Women’s wheelchair clothing, in addition to sometimes not having the option of excluding Velcro seams or other accommodations that, depending on your situation, you may not need, are often also very classical or even targeted towards senior citizens. Senior citizens make up a large part of the market for mobility products, and while there are older people who want to use up-to-date clothing, the stereotype is that they may have an antiquated fashion sense.
Designers are finally catching up with wheelchair fashion. There still aren’t many sources of fashion clothing for people in wheelchairs but the market is expanding. These designers tend to focus on simply making clothing which looks good and is comfortable while sitting down, which may make them a tempting option for people who work in an office as well. Jackets are designed not to bunch up when a person is sitting down with the jacket buttoned, as are shirts and blouses. Pants are designed to accommodate your stomach in a sitting position, using elastic or loose-fitting waistbands, as are skirts, which are cut at a length which is tasteful and won’t get caught in your spokes.
With new wheelchair fashion designers, women in wheelchairs no longer have to feel that they can’t use up-to-date, fashionable clothing which looks and feels good.