Feeling bunched up, wrinkled, or struggling to find professional looking clothing is a common complaint among professionals in the workplace who use wheelchairs. Projecting a professional look can not only enhance your career but also help you feel more confident on the job. Check out some tips below for dressing for success on the job.
Women, consider swapping your pants for skirts
Look for pencil or tapered skirts. They are usually more structured and wear closer to the body so you won’t have to worry about getting them caught in your wheels and will typically lay flat throughout the day. Pair them with tights in the winter to stay warm which make it easy to pair your skirts with booties in the wintertime.
Look for leggings
Leggings come in as many colors, styles, and patterns as you can imagine. The best thing about leggings? They are MUCH easier to fit and are more forgiving than traditional pants. No need to worry about hemming them up and they won’t dig into your skin or leave lines around your waistband from sitting in your wheelchair all day. You can pair them with boots in the winter or flats in the summer and even wear under skirts or with a long tunic or button down shirt in place of the traditional dress pant.
Structure is Superior
Structure and comfort are the top 2 beneficial elements wheelchair users should look for in a professional wardrobe. Not only do you want to be comfortable while using your wheelchair for long hours in the office, but looking for clothes with structure will prevent your look from becoming disheveled or wrinkled looking by the end of the day.
Lots of arm motion pushing your wheels and sitting for long periods of time can result in wrinkles and the need to pull your clothes back into place. Look for shirts with structure like the button-down style with a collar. These can be worn over leggings or tucked in to stay in place all day. A wrap around belt that you can wear over a sweater or a blouse is not only fashionable but will keep your shirt from riding up as you push your chair throughout the day.
Tricks ‘n Tips
Required to wear a jacket or a suit on the job but feel like it rides up, flaps open, or doesn’t stay where it needs to when you push your wheels? Use safety pins to pin the inside lapels of your jacket to the outside of your shirt. This will ensure your jacket doesn’t slip around too much and doesn’t end up around your neck after giving yourself a few pushes.
Keep your closet stocked with basics. If you know that one style of pants works – get several and wear them each day with a new blouse. Did you find a tunic that lays flat and doesn’t ride up? Grab a few. You can switch up your look each day with different accessories. Another great basic for women wheelchair users is the wrap dress – soft comfy fabric that’s great for sitting all day, and structured style that defines your waistline and looks professional when paired with tights or pumps and a nice necklace.
What are some of your tips for looking professional and put together while in your wheelchair? Share your own tips in the comments!