Fashion Faux Pas for the Wheelchair User and Solutions to Fix Them

By Wendy Crawford

Now we are getting into the fall season - when fashion is at its best! Here are some pointers to keep in mind when cruising the malls:
Photo used with permission from WheelieChix-Chic
1. Clothes that fit badly will look badly. Unfortunately, when you are sitting, this problem can occur more often than not. Choose clothes that fit the largest part of your body, then have the rest taken in. Once you find a tailor that you like, he/she will become accustomed to your needs.

2. Wearing the right bra and undergarments is a really important point for wheelchair users because you need to be able to push, reach, and transfer all while keeping everything in place! Not only does it look better to have a correct fitting bra and straps that don’t slip, but you will function better if you are comfortable and not self-conscious.

3. Balance is important in life and even in clothing. If you are wearing a full skirt or wide leg pants, then wear a fitted, tailored top. Wearing a full billowy blouse? Pair the blouse with a pencil skirt or skinny pant.

4. Don’t dress in dull, dark colors to “blend in,” especially this time of year. Use a color that complements your eyes or enhances your skin color. Celebrate you!

5. Sweats are for sweating, so don’t wear them out unless you are going to the gym! It’s important to be comfortable and, for some, pants with an elasticized waist or drawstring may be a necessity, but don’t give up on yourself and fashionable clothes. There are plenty of pants that still have those options but are made out of more sophisticated fabrics than fleece. Replace sweatshirts with a cute cardigan, sweater or wrap.

6. Don’t dress like someone 20 years your senior. Just because you need to use a wheelchair for mobility doesn’t mean that you aren’t flirty and fun. You can dress age appropriate while being adventurous and expressing your sense of style.

7. On that note, you can also go a little TOO flirty and fun! Be careful of skirts that are too short. Don’t forget that when you are sitting, pant and skirt lengths will rise. Before heading out, it might be wise to check yourself in front of a full length mirror to get another perspective.

8. Don’t accessorize your chair with stuffed animals, fuzzy dice or balloons. Instead, redirect the focus and accessorize you! By adding one great piece like a colorful scarf, interesting earrings or necklace (there are so many beautiful yet affordable pieces right now), you can completely transform a basic outfit without spending much.

9. Don’t forget that your purse or bag is also part of your look. Many wheelers can’t carry a purse because they need their hands free, so they hang a bag on the back of the chair. Changing it for every outfit can be costly and time consuming, so choose a couple of classic ones that can go with different looks. Basic colors like black, brown, ivory or even a metallic can be versatile.

10. Shoes can often be a struggle when mobility challenged. Everyone is different and knows what works best for them, but that doesn’t mean you should forget about them. It may take some research, but complete your outfit with some coordinating shoes. The good news is that there are websites that offer free shipping AND returns, so you can shop from the comfort of home.

Have any of your own fashion tips or suggestions that work for you? Send them in to  We’d love to hear from you!


  1. Love this article! I was always a fashionista but after my injury, it became a little difficult. These are some great tips! Thanks!


  2. Great article. Since I am in a wheel chair, I wear more big and bold jewelry than ever. It is fun, makes me feel good and can take a plain outfit and make it fabulous! People stop me to talk about my jewelry instead of asking what type of injury I have.

    Another tip, layer lots of jewelry. And have fun with scarves and kimono's.

  3. aww, no fuzzy dice and stickers?! that was HUGE when I was 16 ;) However, now I would much rather accessorize with sparkle and shimmer. More chic!

  4. I really appreciated your post, this would really provide the great information .Thanks for sharing.

  5. my current difficulty is figuring out what will look good under the wheelchair harness .
    as for shoes i have been searching for years .... i have severe contractures plantar flexion equinovarus. something other than slippers or socks .

  6. any tips for bras please? I am struggling hugely with proper fitting and each major I visit, the bra fits for 1/2 a day, then fails. help!

  7. I find for me the bras that are a raceback or crossback work best because they stay in place while I'm pushing and transferring. The straps don't fall down. You can find pretty ones at Victoria Secret. Sports bras are great too!


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