Katie Knowles
Dressing with a disability

Across both instore and online at Yours Clothing we have received customer feedback asking for tips on how to dress with a disability. As a result, we have teamed up with curve model Katie Knowles who has provided a guide for dressing with a disability, using her own personal experience.

Katie is an inspirational model who has spinal stenosis, DDD (disc degenerative disease), hypermobility and failed spinal fusion which caused severe nerve damage throughout her right leg. Despite her disability, Katie remains positive and aspirational.

Make sure you look fabulous by feeling comfortable
Fine Knit top

Firstly, always make sure you look fabulous by feeling comfortable. A lot of the time people with disabilities are already in pain so let’s not add tight and restrictive clothing to that.

Prosthetics seem to be a pain with fashion. A lot of the time it can mean trousers and jeans are too tight at the knee and the elbow with tops and shirts. A way to overcome this is try something with a bit of stretch or maybe a wide leg or culottes for spring/summer.

Here's what Katie had to say.

Palazzo Trousers
Maxi Skirt
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Dresses that aren’t clingy are a great way to cover arm/leg prosthetics. Wide fit shoes are a comfort essential for leg prosthetics.

Midi dresses and skirts seem to have the same issue being too short to cover the joint. If you do however try a slightly longer length or different style like a floaty gypsy skirt which doesn’t rest directly on the joint, attention is not being drawn to it.

Cinderella needs to go to the ball, wheelchair or not

Wheelchair users have further obstacles and although they joke, like myself, you could wear 6 inch heels and not worry about falling over. Clothes’ getting caught in the wheelchair seems to be an issue. I’d say try and wear sleeves that are either shorter or slightly tapered to avoid catching. This also goes for something long that might drag. Cinderella needs to go to the ball, wheelchair or not.

Rock Chick
Jeans £19
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Fit and how clothes look in a wheelchair are probably the main hurdle. I would say choose mid-rise or high-waisted jeans/trousers to avoid running the risk of sliding out your pants whilst adjusting in your seat. I choose to wear long tops that cover my bum and easy flattering tapered jeans to finish the look.

If you suffer with any form of hand difficulty, I find that swing tops are easiest to slip over your body and equally, slip on shoes are the most simple to wear.

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If like me, you rely on crutches it is important that you are comfortable and sturdy on your feet. Flat shoes are an obvious but wide fitting shoes also help with any swelling. Short sleeve tops and tighter fitting tops ensure nothing catches on the crutch handle and prevents you toppling over!

If you have a non-descriptive disability that effects your mobility, slip on clothes are easy for covering back when adjusting. Platform shoes also aid in keeping balance.

Katie's top tips for dressing with a disability

Know your body shape, be it hourglass or top heavy, know your shape and dress accordingly as this will determine the length and fit of the garments you need.

Don’t hide in black, wear colour or even just a pop of colour. At first as a disabled person I hid in unflattering black clothes, not anymore. I also have a visually impaired friend who struggles with colour but she makes sure to wear colour as it brings her soul to life – colour your world for you!

Due to having walking aids, I struggle with accessories on my wrists as they catch, so instead will try opt for a statement necklace or big earrings to keep the bling factor and draw attention to my face.

Crutch or walking aid users may struggle with sleeves, for example, I love faux fur coats but I find they are too thick that I can’t get my arm through – always look out for thinner styles of fabric.

This season, I love frill and flare sleeves and they work so well with my needs. I can make the most of them at any sleeve length.

Plan what you wear - that way you usually can avoid getting clothing stuck or ruined with your aids.

I also avoid things with too many buttons so I’m more at ease with my joints in my hands. Luckily there are lots of faux shirts to slip on or off the shoulder tops.

Clothes that are easier to slip on and off take much less time, leggings and jeggings are my best friend and I love little jackets that I can just chuck on.

Finally, don’t get disheartened, it’s a massive trial and error process. You can always find a way to adjust and adapt it to how you want.

Katie Knowles