Fashion on Wheels

I’ve been thinking that as a model and woman with an avid interest in fashion I should probably include a few more posts about fashion and beauty products. (It’s too easy to only write when feeling all fired up and political).

As a disabled woman it can be quite difficult to find fashionable clothes that suit, my main concerns when buying clothes are a) how will the item look when in a seated position and b) is it long enough for my 6ft height?

(Then I have the same concerns as many other women, what is the quality, is it worth the price, is it too on trend so will be consigned to the charity shop next year?)

It’s too easy as a disabled person to believe that style and image have no relevance in our lives, but I believe the opposite is true. Making the extra effort to look good does in turn make you feel good, it gives a little lift of confidence and it also alters the manner in which other people react to you and your disability. It’s sad but true that people subconcisously  judge each other within the first 30 seconds of meeting each other, not much time to get your sparkling charm across, so appearance does matter; especially if you’re trying to get people to see beyond your disability. Whatever your own personal style is, think brighter and bolder with bells on!

My mum and my grandmother were both trained tailors so the importance of good cut and quality fabric have been impressed upon me for many years. This also meant that after my accident I was lucky to have my own personal tailor to alter clothes to fit my body and my seated position till I figured out what worked best with my body. My mum used to make me elaborate evening gowns with discreetly built in corsetry for college balls and glam parties. (Thanks mum!)

Anyway, I’m going to kick off with a quick post about a gorgeous dress I bought today from Whistles.

I’ve bought it to wear to a wedding this weekend, it’s been a long hunt for a dress that is colourful but not pastel, demure but not a smock, sultry but not skanky, short but not revealing and most of all…has sleeves!

I shan’t bore you with how many shops I scoured both here and in the US but it was tedious. And ironically the biggest issue I have finding smart dresses now is my size. For years when I was a size 10 I bought anything and everything I wanted (seriously, I have many friends who will testify to my habit); however, my new found curves have made shopping much more of a struggle, it seems I have a long checklist of ‘wants’ in a dress.

Is it gaping or revealing too much cleavage? Can my upper arms fit in the sleeves? Does it hide or accentuate my tetra belly? Ah, yes the blight of the cervical spinal injury; as if paralysed legs weren’t enough, biology / neurology dictates that one’s stomach muscles are also affected, meaning no tight abs on me. What I wouldn’t give for a toned washboard stomach! This seems to be made worse in a seated position and gives me a delightful little belly exactly where I don’t want one. But thankfully there is one item that can make a difference and for that reason I’m happy to contribute to Sara Blakley’s ever growing billion dollar Spanx empire. Spanx Higher Power, I ♥ U.

So back to the dress, it’s bright pink (other colours available) it’s lace, it has half  sleeves (but not the dreaded cap sleeve) and best of all it looks like a two piece. As a result when I wear it seated scalloped edge of the top tier hangs perfectly from breast to waist and the lower tier sits neatly like a pencil skirt. It’s got a little give in it which makes it super comfortable. 

Best of all it’s currently in their sale. If you’re a woman in a wheelchair looking for a posh frock I suggest checking out your nearest Whistles and trying it on (or order online if leaving the house is complicated).

I promise to make future fashion posts much more brief!


Postscript: Here’s a quick self snap of me in the dress:


About Shannon Murray

I am an actress, broadcaster, writer and lawyer; not really that unusual but I am also paraplegic as a result of an accident as a teenager. This is the place where I ramble on about random stuff.
This entry was posted in Beauty, Disability, Fashion and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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