What to wear in summer?

The weather here in Perth has been a little bit crazy lately, but it's really a countdown to summer; to get our shorts, tank tops and dresses out and ready to wear. So, today I'm going to share with you some tips on things to look out for, but also some stores that I recommend when it comes to accessibility for fashion.

For me, I always go with (1) accessibility and (2) style. A few weeks ago, I had the chance to see a couple events through the Centre of Stories here in Northbridge.

The topic of the last event we went to in this series was about how women dress, and let themselves be preserved in the world. We live in such a diverse world, through different cultures, nationalities, sexualities, races, abilities, weight and genders. I believe that, if we live in a diverse world, which we do. Then we should all have the same rights as each other, which very sadly isn't the case in the world we live in today.

The biggest question that struck me is why these women wore what they did. Some of the women on this discussion said it was because of comfort, while another person said it was for the respect of others. As a disabled person I have chosen to wear funky – out their clothes. The last thing I want strangers to notice is my disability. Yes, it is part of my identity, but it’s not my entire identity. And if they notice I walk weird – and need to know, they can ask about my accessibility needs as a disabled person.

Image description: Layne is a young person with blonde hair. They are wearing a t-shirt that says, “Inclusion & Good Vibes”. Layne is smiling in front of a black and white patterned brick wall.

I try my best to purchase clothes especially online these days, and this falls back on the lack of accessibility that there is in change room sections of the stores. For myself, all there needs to be is a bench, but so many disabled folks need a rail or even more than that in a change room. When I hear of an accessibility change room, I expect that the room has a bench in it and a few rails for disabled folks to hold onto when they change, but in reality, the room is only bigger, and it has either a bench or a chair in them for people with access needs.

I try my best to purchase clothes online these days, and this falls back on the lack of accessibility that there is in clothing stores. When I go shopping and see an accessible change room, I expect to see (1) a bench, and (2) at least a rail or two in the accessible change room. You might see me standing on my Instagram and/or Facebook posts, but for me I need at least a bench in the accessible change room due to my lack of balance.

When it comes to shorts, I always find the ones with elastics on them to wear, rather than button up shorts. My fingers don't work the same way that everyone else's does, and therefore, I struggle with things like buttons and shoelaces.

Some things that I keep in mind when shopping in person

  1. Change rooms need to have a bench in there – a seat/chair doesn’t work for me (as some of you can relate to) as it moves around and tips very easily.

  2. Having products made in the mind of people with disabilities – e.g., limited/no buttons, velcro or slip-on shoes, slip on dresses (without a zip) etc.

Some stores across Perth that provide accessible change rooms includes:

  • Target (for those that still exist)

  • Kmart

  • Myer

  • David Jones

  • Big W

The stores that I recommend that keep in mind for accessibility:

  • Dangerfield

  • Cotton on

  • Kmart

  • Lucy and Yac (online store)

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