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Formal Dress Modifications For Wheelchair




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6 replies to this topic

#1 Vanessamaee

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 09:54 PM

I was injured April 30th, 2011, 1 week before my Junior Prom. This year I will be returning to school to finish up my Senior year and was wondering what would be issues formal dresses can cause in a wheelchair and what should/can you do to modify them? or are there some styles that work better than other? This is so I have an idea for when homecoming/winter formal/prom etc come around and if I decide to go I have an idea atleast (: Thank you!

#2 halobear11

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 11:23 PM

I've only worn a formal dress once or twice since my injury, but there really aren't too many problems. Dresses rock for intermediate cathing purposes, just double check in the mirror that you pulled the dress completely down before you leave the bathroom... Be cautious so that your casters don't wrap the bottom of your dress up if it is that long. Also, my legs commonly spread out unladylike when I transfer, so perhaps have your friends guard around you as you get out of the car (I've lived this before! :girl_devil:)

I hope you have fun!
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#3 wheeliebear75

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 11:48 PM

So long as the dress fits you well while sitting (many fashion designers forget things should look good whilst sitting including for the ABs who want to look good while resting their sore dancing feet), then mostly make sure it wont "flow out" & get caught in your wheels, stay away from sleeves below the elbow. Make sure the dress does NOT have a course (I'm having BRAIN FARTS....like lace but it's a course material often used under the skirts of the dress to almost be like a built-in stiff slip) this can cause irritation on your thighs. (I was the matron of honor at a friend's wedding & found this out the HARD WAY...the back of my thighs looked like someone had used sand paper on them!) If you're going to wear HEELS make sure you adjust your foot plate accordingly so you don't make your butt bottom out with knees being elevated by too much. If you use one of those shawls to accent your dress or keep the cool night air off you make sure the ends don't get too close to your wheels.

And PS: Thanks to some of the other ladies on this site I've learned that the BOMB-ASS HELLA-STRONG nail-polish is "DIAMOND STRENGTH" by Sally Hansen! (Not all of their line are THIS strong...ONLY the "DIAMOND STRENGTH".)
*Enjoy every sunset, but be grateful for every dawn.*
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#4 Smileyblue

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 11:50 PM

As long as its not a very "poofy"/bulky dress, you shouldn't have a problem.. Make sure to check than you are not sitting on thick folds/creases after you're in your chair, as dresses do tend to "twist" and bunch up when you transfer..

Hope you have a wonderful, memorable night!

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#5 Anna16

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 02:40 AM

I did pageants and had long formal gowns for evening wear. I never had any issues. I had someone help me try them on, but I didn't need any modifications. Although, when I was a bridesmaid, I did have to tailor a dress because my ribs are the widest part on my body, and I had to take in the waist a bit. I also had to trim the length down because of it getting caught in my casters. That was just at a certain store, though. :)
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#6 KayDub

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Posted 10 August 2011 - 02:34 PM

I wear dresses alllll the time in my chair. Mostly the cotton sundress variety so I don't get any sores on my bum. They're easy to put on and super comfy. Looking cute it also a major plus. I usually wear leggings or capris or some sort of shorts if the dress is too short (I'm 6' 3" standing so most of my dresses from when I was AB are above my knee and I really don't want to be wheeling around showing everyone the goods!) As far as formal dresses go, when I was in high school the super long dresses with the crunchy fabric and the awesome updos with butterfly clips were still super popular (woohoo late 90s early 00s fashion!). Because of my body size (super tall and super skinny) I went with a knee length slinkier dress with a more comfy fabric. This was before it was popular to wear knee length tea style dresses to formals (it shocks me when I go into the mall, the dresses for prom and homecoming are soooo different! Here I was thinking I was unique in '01-'05 with my slinky short dresses. Alas. But I also got stood up for two proms and I really am bitter to this day in my 20s haha. I might need therapy or something) But that does help you out a lot. A lot of those dresses are way cute and won't get caught in your chair. Just be careful for the ones with that rough fabric underneath to make the dress stand out. A good dress would be soft material, super stylish and without and modifications. I think with today's prom styles you totally could do that.

If you have your heart set on a long Cinderella dress don't fret. See if a seamstress or your mom or you (whoever can sew, my mom is a master sewer, I told her I refused to learn unless my brothers did- I cannot sew to this day because of that) Get the hem taken up so it doesn't get caught in your foot petals and see if it's possible to take in where it goes out. Like this part of the dress /\ if that makes sense. That will help avoid it getting caught in your wheels and spokes. With heels like everyone said try to get a simple piece of fabric to attach them to your foot rests. At my height I usually wore ballet slippers or kitten heels (looooove kitten heels, the one with maybe an inch heel, I think they're for middle school girls but whatever). They can be really cute and more practical for your foot rests.

The most important part... HAVE AN AWESOME TIME!!!! Like I said I just turned 23 and pine over my awesome proms that never were. It might not be perfect but just have a blast with your friends. Good luck and take pictures for us!!!

#7 mcjane

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Posted 10 August 2011 - 04:30 PM

I watched the International Wheelchair Dancing competitions on the puter and the women in chairs all had on formal gowns. It was quite spectacular really.


Spinal Cord Injury & Cauda Equina Syndrome Support

This website is a way for those with spinal cord injuries and cauda equina syndrome to share experiences and advice. Any medical matters, treatments or alternative therapies discussed on this website should be thoroughly reviewed by a medical professional or therapist before being acted upon. Under no circumstances should you alter prescribed medication or a medical care plan without consulting your doctor or care plan supervisor first.