StyleStamp’s motto is to “Decide who you are, and dress the way you want to live.” This includes everyone, as we believe that style is not a respecter of persons. Anyone can have style, it’s a “way to say who you are without having to speak” ~as stated by Rachel Zoe. I know two ladies that have decided who they are, and they dress the way they want to live…on top of a ton of other things. They love fashion, style, traveling, family, friends, humor, getting their nails and hair done as much as the next woman. They just do it all from their chairs which lets the world know, “I am not my chair.”
This StyleStamped Style Feature highlights style from the chair, featuring two stylish women who choose to live a the life that they want to live, and dress the way they want to dress. They are StyleStamped!
City: Live – Hyattsville, MD; Work/Play – Washington, DC
5 words to describe your style: Attention-grabbing (that’s technically two words, but…), clever, versatile, daring, FUN!
What do you feel your style says about you? How does it connect with your personality? My style says that I can’t be boxed in. From head to toe, whether it’s my hair, nails, clothes, earrings, or even the bag that hangs from my wheelchair, from day-to-day, you never know what you’re going to get. I like to defy norms (with taste and class, of course)! This complements my personality, as it speaks to my adaptability and openness to new things and ideas.
What style of clothes do you feel most comfortable in? For me, it’s not so much about what’s comfortable, but about what’s going to look best in a sitting position. As much as I love palazzo pants and pleated skirts, I know that these won’t have the effect that they would if I was standing up. Because I am a wheelchair user, instead, I just admire certain styles on others, and work with styles that look good in my chair. That means wearing stuff like cute flat boots or a flared, brightly colored top.
Where is your favorite place to shop? To me, accessories make the outfit. I feel like I can find the right clothes anywhere, from Marshall’s to Nordstrom’s, or a little corner boutique. But my go-to spots for accessories are places like Lou Lou’s or online shops like Baublebar.
What is your favorite city to visit? I love San Diego for many reasons, the main of which is the shopping. My absolute favorite accessory store is there. Every time I go, I literally feel like I’ve rolled into heaven, and require a blocked out timeframe to really feel complete. Unlike NYC, for me, the accessibility of cities like San Diego is a bit easier. I don’t enjoy rolling up to a store that I either can’t get into due to steps, or because the aisles are so tight that my wheelchair can’t fit through. I always think to myself, “Shucks, you just lost a great potential customer!”
What is your favorite color? Purple, because it signifies “royalty.” That’s pretty much me in a nutshell!
What is your favorite accessory? That question is pretty impossible to answer. I imagine it depends on the season. In the winter, it’s my earrings that are made out of fur. In the summer, it could be any one of my hats. In general, I like to have pieces handmade (jewelry, clothes, handbags). These are always my favorite pieces because my goal is typically to adorn something that is one-of-a-kind.
How do you come up with an outfit? What are the steps you take to put it together? Ironically, it’s rare that I come up with an outfit by considering the basic pieces first. Often I’ll decide that I want to wear a specific pair of earrings, or carry a certain purse, wear a new pair of shoes, or even rock my new MAC lip color. Then, from there, I build around that piece. I also love to have input from others. In the past, I’ve found myself to be more “matchy-matchy,” so I like to consult others on how to make my looks more even more edgy.
What inspires your style? Unfortunately, I’ve found that, more oft than not, people have an expectation that people with physical disabilities traditionally look or dress a certain way (homely or old-fashioned). While I am certainly not one to be motivated by the opinions of others, I do strive to eliminate stereotypes. If that can be done by wearing a bit of color or rocking some of the latest styles, then so be it! I’m certainly not trying to be anyone else, but I am striving to be the absolute best version of me. To me, that includes stylin’ from the inside out!
“Recently, I had a woman stop me on the elevator and say, “You are beautiful! It just looks like you’re sitting down!” I politely said thank you, and LOL’ed, thinking, “Well, yeah, that’s what I’m doing.” But it did say a lot in very few words. While my goal isn’t necessarily to have people “not see my wheelchair,” I do think it’s important that my clothes and overall style draw attention to me as a person, and not to anything else. It’d be a dream come true if designers considered those of us who are seated, or have other physical disabilities that may make it hard to buy straight off the rack (this includes shoes!). This means coming up with things that provide some level of stretch/easy closures, durability, and less prone to wrinkles.” ~Andrea
Check out Andraea’s style!
City: Washington, DC Metro Area
5 words to describe your style: Creative, comfortable, colorful, classy, carefree
What do you feel your style says about you? How does it connect with your personality? My style says that I am adaptable and approachable. Whether I’m speaking on a panel, volunteering at my daughter’s school, or hanging out at a concert, my clothes reflect my ability to feel comfortable in different situations.
What style of clothes do you feel most comfortable in? I love the boho style, but it often requires layers that don’t always work with wheelers. So, my style is self-defined as access≠excess — accessible clothing without excessive pricing. Adaptive clothing can be very expensive, so I look for pieces that I can make work without much additional cost. And a maxi dress is usually a great off-the-rack purchase for wheelchair users. Varying shirt, skirt and pant lengths require trips to the tailor: long blouses add extra fluff around the mid-section (and who wants that), most knee-length skirts play peek-a-boo with women on wheels, and pants are either too long or too short. But a great maxi requires no extra work. Slip it on and go.
Where is your favorite place to shop? My favorite place to shop is T.J. Maxx because they have a great selection of quality clothes at affordable prices. And if I want to explore a trend, it doesn’t cost much. It doesn’t hurt that nearly all of their stores have automatic doors, which is an added plus for me.
What is your favorite city to visit? My favorite place to visit is Trinidad & Tobago. Despite the fabulous fetes, the women exude so much self-confidence and acceptance of their bodies. It’s great to wear great clothes, but a head held high with a great smile will go a long way. Now, that’s true bling!
What is your favorite color? I love the warmth, the boldness, the playfulness, the sexiness of red. To me, red just screams confidence.
What is your favorite accessory? Scarves keep my neck warm, which essentially keeps my body temperature regulated. They make a boring outfit fun and can add a pop of your color to a neutral or black outfit. And if I opt out of the scarf, I’ll grab a cute statement necklace. This is a great way to bring the focus to my face as opposed my wheels.
How do you come up with an outfit? What are the steps you take to put it together? My outfits depend on where I’m going, who I’m meeting, how long I’ll be there, and what the weather will be. It’s important for me to be comfortable, yet presentable. I always hope to put my best foot forward (no pun intended). I start with either a dress or pants and construct it like I’m layering lasagna. Despite the base, I’ll always have a sweater and scarf in tow.
“It is very difficult for some to see me beyond the wheelchair and I get it. But despite my understanding, I often want to be seen simply as who I am today — not who I used to be or what you may think I am because I use a wheelchair. I have flaws. I have scars. I could stand to lose a few pounds and tighten a few muscles, but I’m comfortable in my soon-to-be wrinkled skin! And I hope my style shows it!” ~ Justice
Justice has a blogged entitled “I am Not my Chair“, a wonderfully humored keep-it-real personal blog that is a StyleStamped fave. She wrote a fabulous post highlighting 8 universal designs for women including WheelChair Divas.
Check out Justice’s Style!