My Crip Fashion 1/2

Me in a mirror, sporting layers

Most clothes are designed without disability in mind. There are a few products designed for us, but they are either ridiculously expensive or marketed to the mainstream, scrubbed of all reference to disability. The Snugee people love to mock? That was designed as a blanket for wheelchair users. Like many disabled people, I’m on the poor end of SES. I’m not buying any new clothes, much less clothes with a crip markup. 

My disabilities are numerous (I have lost count) and impact my clothing options in different ways. IBS causes abdominal bloating and tenderness. I swell up after meals and slowly deflate over a few hours. That means rigid or rough fabrics like denim and tweed are right out. Cotton and cotton blends are key. It also means I can’t wear things that are fitted around the middle. 

There’s a speed factor those of us with toileting disabilities. Rompers and overalls may be on trend right now, but I will have to sit them out. “How easy is it to go to the bathroom?” is my first question about clothes. When time is precious, every second of delay is an increased chance of soiling. 

My sensory issues, almost certainly due to autism, mean that clothing tags and seams are a possible source of misery. Seams that touch tender parts of me cannot be ignored or worked around. Skirts might seem an obvious solution but my PTSD won’t let me. The first trauma of my life began on a day I wore a dress, and the violence committed against my girl body was blamed on my fashion choice. 

My chronic pain and tender spine mean that bras aren’t a great idea, even if they didn’t give me heart burn, which they do. I own two bras and only wear them to the gym. Bralette camisoles are a fantastic alternative for smaller breasts and I’m routinely grateful not to be better endowed.  

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