For people with disabilities, fashion has historically been a difficult industry to engage with. As a hemiplegic stroke survivor myself, I get endlessly frustrated when it comes to clothes. After suffering a stroke, the tone in my body has changed, such that certain outfits that used to look good on me don't anymore, and instead hang awkwardly, highlighting my uneven shoulders or misaligned hips.
If you are disabled, yet fashion-conscious like myself, you know the struggle that is getting dressed each morning. It feels near impossible to find outfits I like that are flattering and at the same time able to accommodate/conceal my mobility aid. In this post I list my top 5 tips for getting dressed with hemiplegia.
5 Tips for getting dressed as a hemiplegic stroke survivor
Bra: Because my left hand doesn't have as much mobility as my right, a task like putting on my bra in the morning becomes quite challenging. And yet I am able to do it on my own, because I know the secret of hooking my bra ahead of time and then sliding it over my head like a shirt. I use my left hand to stabilize one side and hook the bra with my right hand. Then I put my left arm into the bra over my head followed by the right. Essentially I end up putting my bra on like I would a t-shirt. I've been doing it this way for 6 years and it hasn't failed me yet.
Buttoned shirt: When putting on a buttoned shirt, I make an effort to involve both my hands. I slide my left (affected) arm through the sleeve first, then put my right arm through. I then use my left hand to hold the fabric of my shirt down flat while my right hand puts the button through.
T Shirt: When putting a shirt on over my head, I always put my weaker arm through the sleeve first, followed by my right arm. I then slide the shirt over my head.
Jeans with a brace/mobility aid: Personally I have never been a fan of wearing tight jeans with my brace visible on top, so my best tip for concealing the brace is to buy wide leg pants. I wear pants with a wide enough flare that they can easily slide over my AFO brace or Bioness cuff. It also helps that wide leg pants are quite “in” right now.
Sneakers: For a long time I struggled with my shoes always coming untied. Before I knew how to tie my shoes, I addressed this problem by putting elastic shoelaces on all my sneakers.