Fashionable fit Health limitations don’t stop flair for fashion

Picture-perfect models may smile at us from ads, but most women aren’t without “imperfections.” Add health challenges into the equation, and being fashionable can be a challenge.

Blount Memorial Medical Fitness Center assistant director and registered nurse Kathy Tallent says it doesn’t have to be, and Blount Memorial held a fashion show to show just how possible it is to have both a fashion flair and an ease of fashion accessibility. Clothes to cover imperfections were featured, as well as clothes that are easier to get in-and-out of for men and women with health conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, impairments from a stroke or neurological conditions such as Parkinsons or others.

The styles were designed for comfort, convenience and accessibility. Even accessories were included. “With jewelry, there are lots of options that include magnets that women can squeeze together,” Tallent explains. Other options include elastic-based bracelets, bracelets that are open rather than closed when worn and oversized necklaces that can simply slip over one’s head.

For diabetic patients, something that’s gotten much more fashionable in the last decade are the diabetic shoes. “I have a catalog of diabetic shoes, and you can’t tell the difference between regular shoes and diabetic shoes,” Tallent says. Many shoes now include a type of Velcro closure, something that makes them easier to get on and off, as well as the still popular slip-ons.

A wide variety of other fun and functional summer styles including daytime and evening wear, men’s clothing, swimsuits, pajamas and intimate garments were also included in the show.

Adaptive equipment for post-surgery and/or patients who are undergoing rehabilitation were also demonstrated at the show. Fashions were provided by J.C. Penney, Befitting You mastectomy boutique, Blount Memorial’s gift shop and rehabilitation, and Chadwick Podiatry.

All models for the show were actual Medical Fitness Center participants who have diabetes, had open heart surgery; have lung problems or had lung surgery, or suffered from a stroke.

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