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Expert Style Advice: My BODS Profile from the Spashionista

5 Dec
disabled fashion, Spashionista, wefly2, sweater, dress, jeans, low-heeled shoes, mary janes, Old Navy, Payless

The Spashionista’s recommendations for outfits for me. The occasion was a happy-hour meeting. I sent her specs on my figure and foot needs as well.

Fellow fashion blogger Alicia of spashionistareport has developed her own spot-on system of personal shopping for disabled women. She calls it BODS, for Budget, Occasion, Disability, and Shape (or figure type). Provide her with the necessary information, and she researches an outfit for you–including purse and footwear! With her subjects’ permission, she includes her findings in her Friday Fashion posts. On a recent Friday, she completed a BODS profile for me.  Above are the outfit options she came up with, for a happy-hour meeting to discuss disabled fashion. I requested she follow a budget of $100 or less.  Her analysis and commentary appear below:

The Spashionista’s Analysis

” I’ve given Laura two options here. Both share a very similar upper body shape and focus bold, solid color near her face….

Let’s start with option one. The cardinal purple medium weight cotton blend cowl neck sweater dress is from Old Navy. It has an empire waist, hits just above the knee, and is priced at $39.

Because she has to wear orthotics in her shoes they must have a rounded toe and an athletic shoe style heel. These Lower East Side Alex side bow Mary Janes from Payless have a slight heel that mimics athletic shoes,  a rounded toe, and hidden elastic in the strap. These shoes are very comfy – I know this because I own them – and they are a steal at $17.

Laura has expressed a preference for fanny packs but I thought I’d show her a different option. The small Mossimo Supply Co. quilted chain crossbody black bag is from Target; it’s also $17.

Finally, stylesforless.com has these black and silver stacked 6-piece bangles for $9.

Option two replaces the dress with a top and pants. The top is also from Old Navy, a fuchsia, medium weight jersey with a natural waist and cowl neckline that sells for $32. The pants are from Amazon.com. They are Lee’s Comfort Waist straight leg pant in an indigo rinse, essentially a crisp-looking, more comfortable version of jeans. They sell for $28.

If you add up the totals you’ll see that option one comes in at $82. Option two is slightly over-budget at $103, but Laura can skip the bracelets and bring the grand total down to $94.”

There you have it! Online personal shopping, tailored to figure, finance, occasion, and disability. How uplifting is that? Without going into details about my figure, I’ll just say that the Spashionista has nailed it. From the comments her readers make on Fashion Friday, she has an eye for this endeavor. Also, she is always looking for subjects who want BODS profiles. Check her out at spashionistareport.wordpress.com!

When It Hurts to Go Barefoot, your Wallet Shouldn’t Feel the Pinch (Orthotics II)

8 Nov
PayLess Shoes, orthotics, disabled shopping, wefly2,shoes

Mary Janes from PayLess.com.

Let’s face it: sometimes it isn’t possible to save up for that comfy, long-lasting pair of New Balance walkers or SAS Mary Janes, even though you know the fit and quality will be good. You need less expensive shoes now; you are not going to cut back on groceries to buy them, and they still have to accommodate your orthotics. Mission impossible? Not always. Check out some of the less costly venues below.

Target and Target.com

Athletic shoes for $12.99 online…Mossimos for $8.64 in the store, on sale…various sizes and colors, too! The selection is larger online, but if you prefer trying on shoes in person, on-ground stores carry a variety of reasonably priced styles as well. Regular in-store prices range  from $19.99-$39.99.

Wal-Mart and Wal-Mart.com

$9.99 and even $8.99 sneakers on sale here. Like Target, online shopping may yield a bigger selection. A tip: look for removable footbeds to help with a good fit for your orthotics. If the online description doesn’t mention removable footbeds and the sales associate on the phone can’t answer your questions about them, you may want to skip the purchase.

BuyCheapr.com

What a find this site is! Look up your favorite orthotic-friendly styles in the Footsmart catalog, which also tells you which shoes suit flat,regular, and high arches. If BuyCheapr.com carries the same shoe–Nike,New Balance– you can purchase it for up to 50% less! Lots to choose from at good prices even if you don’t use this method.

PayLess and PayLess.com

Inventory changes frequently, and prices are well below those of department stores. Mary Janes, loafers, athletic shoes,  and other styles are all available for about $22.99, and Payless is currently offering a BOGO sale on selected shoes. Definitely worth checking out.

Shoes: Do You Get What You Pay For?

Probably, in many cases. I prefer to save for a pair that has rollbars to prevent pronation and is designed for orthotics and flat arches, even if I own fewer shoes that way. To each her own. But the market does allow us to run out and find good-looking shoes for an interview, date, or just-because-we-feel-like-it occasion without breaking the bank, and we need these options. Orthotics are becoming part of the footwear vocabulary now, slowly but surely! May you find what you need.

Wear Orthotics? The Choices Are Improving

22 Oct

The “Chelsea” pump from footsmart.com. Photo from Oct. 2012 Footsmart catalog.

“Abby” shoes by Alegria.

“These inserts. They have to fit in my shoes,”  we might have explained 25-30 years ago, when the term “orthotics” produced blank, zombie-like stares on the faces of sales associates. The styles of shoes that accommodated orthotics back then were, well, very limited. Think “sensible” shoes that nurses might have worn when they were all female and wore white dresses and hats for uniforms.

Nowadays, female nurses don’t wear those shoes…and we don’t have to, either. While orthotics will, by medical necessity, restrict us to low-heeled shoes with roomy toe boxes, we have more selections now. Here are a few places to shop for these cuter styles:

Alegria(alegria.com and stores)

Featuring painted or plain patent-leather slip-ons, lace-ups, and Mary Janes with rocker bottoms, Alegria shoes are head-turners.The whimsical painting–it could be flowers, it could be turtles–removes shoes from the realm of practicality and turns them into works of art. Nevertheless, the shoes can be worn with your orthotics and include removable footbeds. Prices run from $49.99 on sale to about $129.99.  A word of warning: Alegrias are cut wide and tend to run large.You may need a heel liner or insert even if they fit your foot well everywhere else. They are worth it if they do fit. Great way to jazz up any outfit!

Footsmart (footsmart.com)

The folks at footsmart.com have done their homework and taken the guesswork out of shopping. They label shoes “orthotic friendly” (what a blessing!) and offer attractive styles as well–even a low-heeled pump, the “Chelsea,” that accommodates orthotics. If you’re thumbing through the catalog, have patience: the orthotic-friendly shoes come later. Prices range from $79.99-$129.99. Footsmart’s shoes are durable and comfortable. I save up for a pair each year.

Zappos (zappos.com)

If you haven’t shopped at Zappos, for shoes or other items, you’re in for a treat! Although you may find yourself distracted by all the site has to offer, searching for “orthotic friendly” shoes will bring up a substantial list. Featured are athletic shoes of all styles and colors as well as a couple of unexpected nonathletic styles. Price points vary widely; you have to check it out to see.

A Caveat

Some of these shoes are high-priced for those of us who have to budget for medications, doctor visits, and assistive devices. Living on disability checks limits fashion choices as well. For this reason, in the next post I will provide info on lower-priced shoes that are still orthotic-friendly. Come on back!

Fashion for us–A new, supportive community

9 Oct

Ever passed up a terrific ensemble because it wasn’t designed for wheelchair users? Or, like me, have you given up on skirts and dresses because the orthotic-friendly shoes your disability requires look better with pants? Welcome to wefly2, a place for disabled women to dish about fashion fixes, wishes, inspirations–and empowerment.

I am not a fashion pro of any kind. But while watching What Not To Wear (which I love) and seeing loads of stilettos and wedges, I couldn’t help wondering,”How would Stacy and Clinton dress someone who can’t wear shoes like that?” I would also like to see a challenge on Project Runway requiring designers to create an outfit for disabled models, perhaps veterans from the Wounded Warrior Project.

These thoughts, as well as my own disability (peripheral neuropathy) brought wefly2 into existence. Not disabled? I still want to hear from you. Designers, caregivers, family members, home sewers, and many others doubtless have insight into our fashion needs. On this blog, the forums are as important as my posts; all I ask is that we avoid the sniping, uber-bitchy commentary found in some areas of the fashion world. As we meet here to share and explore, let’s keep our tone classy and cordial.

In some corners of the planet–yes, this one!–designers are making clothes for us, and fashion shows are featuring disabled models. More about that later! Stay tuned, and welcome to wefly2!