Saturday, 23 January 2016

Wheelchair fashion

A friend pointed me in the direction of IZ Collection, an American company who specialise in clothing for wheelchair users.  It hadn't occurred to me that such a thing existing but I can definitely see the point.

One of the things they don't tell you when you get a wheelchair is that you'll end up replacing most of your clothes.  All my trousers were too short because when you're sitting down the whole time, it pulls the hems up and your ankles get cold - I've gone from wearing a short to a regular length.  And you don't want a lot of bulk round your middle (and mine perhaps has enough built in!) so I'm afraid treggings and jeggings, much as I hate the words, are the answer.   Cardigans and jackets have to be fastened or they catch in the wheels (and get filthy!).  And the bits of you that feel the cold change. My lovely down jacket, bought last winter, is too warm on all but the coldest days, if I'm moving about much, but at the same time my legs are often freezing.  I have a couple of men's ski jackets, in dark colours because otherwise they'd be turned grey, quickly, by the muck from the wheels.  This hybrid jacket does a good job of not cooking my arms but keeping the bits that get cold warm.  They're far lighter than any coat I'd normally wear.  Finally, none of my tailored jackets fit anymore because I've developed arm muscles.  Just as well the dress code is fairly casual at my new job.

A lot of the clothes on the IZ website, particularly in the sale, are along the lines of things I've figured out already.  Tunics were already part of my wardrobe.  I've added cropped, fastening cardigans - some bought, some hand knitted.  I hate ironing, so jersey is a great fabric - it also doesn't crease when you're sitting all day.  The thing that interested me most - and what I am most likely to order - is their trousers.  I'd not anticipated the draughts down the back of my trousers, even when wearing a longer top and a vest (US - undershirt) tucked in underneath.  I've bought a couple of pairs of elastic waisted trousers from M&S which are comfortable and fit round the waist but IZ's look really interesting.  That slanted waistline looks like it could be very useful at stopping what my Grandma used to call "a chill in your kidneys".

The other conundrum I've been mulling over is how to cover my legs to keep them warm and dry without feeling like a granny.  I quite like a couple of the options on the IZ website, but I do wonder whether I couldn't make them myself.   On the other hand, a friend suggested one of these:

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