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Ability Superstore Blog

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Fancy Pants! Can Dressing Aids Make All Fashion “Purple” Fashion?

Posted by Mike Phipps on October 9, 2020


Lots of different dressing aids

People use dressing aids for countless reasons. These can range from mobility issues due to ageing (such as lifting your arm above your head to don a jacket or bending down to put socks on), conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Multiple Sclerosis, injuries caused by accidents to forms of learning disabilities and amputations, among many others.

The range of dressing aids available is expanding all the time, meaning so-called “purple-pound” (i.e. those registered as disabled) or less able shoppers, have access to affordable, accessible and varied clothing, alongside adapted clothing.

Adaptable clothing has historically been more function than fashion, but this situation is slowly changing.

A report in the Financial Times from 2018 gives a fascinating overview of so-called purple fashion and the evolution of adaptable fashion. Written by Niamh Ní Hoireabhaird, a young woman who had just started using a wheelchair, paints an evocative picture of what life and fashion have been like for people with disabilities. She then cites hope for the future in the form of partnerships like the one between Tommy Hilfiger and Mindy Scheier, founder of the non-profit disabled fashion foundation, Runway of Dreams.

However, adaptable fashion has a hitch – it still limits options available to people, and this is where dressing aids help.

Dressing aids for people who struggle to easily and independently get dressed can make a huge difference in making more everyday clothing accessible, in turn, increasing the choice of what to wear.

By using dressing aids, a person may find items that were once a struggle to put on, no longer adds an extra 20 minutes onto getting ready time. Dressing aids also offer more independence allowing many to dress themselves, rather than having to rely on others.

Lots of different dressing aids

A list of dressing aids is never going to be exhaustive, simply because there are so many products out there these days. Still, one of the most basic mobility aids you can buy is a reacher or grabber. These items are not strictly dressing aids, but they can be used to make anything easier to pick up or put down, whether that’s litter or a newspaper. Needless to say, this includes things that fall off the hangar, or wardrobe shelf onto the floor.

Ability Superstore also stocks a range of more specific dressing aids that can make a world of difference to the user. Such an example are sock aids. Putting socks on and taking them off again can be a significantly simpler and swifter task with these value for money items.

Similarly subtle but seriously useful, zipper and specialised button hooks can mean the difference between being able to wear a favourite coat, shirt or dress and having to confine them to memory at the back of the wardrobe.

And no day or night out is ever a good idea without paying some attention to your hair. For this, we’d recommend considering a hands-free hairdryer stand to make blow-dries a breeze. Coupled with a long-handled brush or comb, it can become a whole lot easier to achieve that perfect look.

Anyone looking for specific dressing aids and other mobility aids that can help getting dressed should always remember that the first and best course of action is to seek out expert advice. Many organisations offer guidance on making everyday life easier for people with disabilities and mobility issues, and, together with our resident Occupational Therapist (OT) Kate, Ability Superstore is also a great source of information. You can get hold of us on the following number: 0161 85 00 884, Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm, or you can send us a message.

It’s also a good idea to keep eyes peeled for anything Runway of Dreams is up to. The organisation is one of the most visible campaigners and advocates of a more equal and accessible fashion industry.