Spashionista Report Turns One

No joking. One year ago I posted my very first blog post, Meet Your Spashionista. It seems like a lifetime ago. So many things have changed while others have stayed the same.

When I started this blog I wasn't sure if I would have an audience interested in what I had to say. After all, I have a unique perspective. It would be disingenuous to confine my subject matter to fashion without including my unique experiences as a disabled woman over 50. But it would be a boring misrepresentation of myself to dwell on my age and disability on a constant basis to the exclusion of my sense of style.

Was the blog going to be too geared towards the disabled to be interesting to able-bodied women, or too mainstream to be of any value to the handicapped? Did I dress too old for the young fashionistas or too bright and youthful for the 40+ crowd? Was I too round for the trendy blogs and too thin for the plus sized bloggers? Could I impart my sense of style within a low enough budget to be of help to women of limited means without being snubbed by the higher end style blogs?

It turns out the answer is all of the above. over the past year many of my suspicions, both positive and negative, have been confirmed. My audience runs the gamut of abilities and ages. Women who have cerebral palsy, bell's palsy,  rheumatoid arthritis, peripheral neuropathy, multiple sclerosis, limb differences, and disabled daughters. Followers ranging in age from 17 to 70 with fashion aesthetics that are whimsical, restrained, colorful, reserved, chic, bohemian and everything in between. Tall, thin women; short, round women; thrift store aficionados to  high-end label wearers.

I've been written about and written to by many. Praised for being an inspiration, cursed for being an elitist cripple. Complimented on my wardrobe, derided for daring to put up my palsied pictures. Embraced as an icon and written off as too old and fat. Called fashion-forward and dismissed as mutton-dressed-as-lamb. Told my clothing is too cheap and berated for shopping anywhere but Goodwill.

I haven't won any awards or had any sponsors clamoring to put their swag up on my blog. I've been wooed by link submission "branding" sites that have to date rejected 99% of my posts. But I've always been honest about the things I wear and the people I meet, and I'm used to being the square peg that doesn't quite fit into the round hole.

I have met some incredible, amazing, beautiful, gutsy, sweet, sincere women - and a few terrific guys, too. If you're reading this then you are probably one of them. I want to take this opportunity to thank you for following me and showing me tons of support in chronicling my adventures as your one and only Spashionista. I'd also like to ask you if there's anything in particular you'd like to see me address in the next year of this blog. What can I do to make this blog more interesting and a farther-reaching voice for anyone who has ever been made to feel less-than-beautiful because of their imperfections? I really value your input and appreciate all of the help and advice I've received so far.

Here's to another year of fabulousness!

Spashionistacrop

Fashion Friday: Laura Hine

Meet Laura Hine.

Laura is a fellow fashion blogger and author of wefly2. She has peripheral neuropathy which, in her case, means she has to wear custom orthotics in her shoes. Laura filled out a  BODS profile to get my input on an outfit for a group get-together to discuss fashion for disabled women. Like most of us she's on a budget so she requested I keep the outfit under $100. Classic casual is Laura's preference, "No mutton-dressed-as-lamb".

I can do that.

Laura describes her body shape as,  "Formerly hourglass, now more square–menopausal gain in waist and abdomen, broad shoulders, size 18 and busty but not huge."  I've given Laura two options here. Both share a very similar upper body shape and focus bold, solid color near her face (which, incidentally, is quite pretty).

Let's start with option one. The cardinal purple medium weight cotton blend cowl neck sweater dress is from Old Navy. It has an empire waist, hits just above the knee, and is priced at $39.

Because she has to wear orthotics in her shoes they must have a rounded toe and an athletic shoe style heel. These Lower East Side Alex side bow Mary Janes from Payless have a slight heel that mimics athletic shoes,  a rounded toe, and hidden elastic in the strap. These shoes are very comfy - I know this because I own them - and they are a steal at $17.

Laura has expressed a preference for fanny packs but I thought I'd show her a different option. The small Mossimo Supply Co. quilted chain crossbody black bag is from Target; it's also $17.

Finally, stylesforless.com has these black and silver stacked 6-piece bangles for $9.

Option two replaces the dress with a top and pants. The top is also from Old Navy, a fuchsia, medium weight jersey with a natural waist and cowl neckline that sells for $32. The pants are from Amazon.com. They are Lee's Comfort Waist straight leg pant in an indigo rinse, essentially a crisp-looking, more comfortable version of jeans. They sell for $28.

If you add up the totals you'll see that option one comes in at $82. Option two is slightly over-budget at $103, but Laura can skip the bracelets and bring the grand total down to $94.

I thoroughly enjoyed doing a real BODS oriented Fashion Friday. I hope Laura likes the outfits and has a terrific time at her meetup!

Spashionistas Wanted

The outfits that I put together for Fashion Friday are based on my BODS profile. Sure, some of the items I use are beyond my price range but I’m certain I can find reasonable equivalents within my budget. I would love the opportunity to put some together for you for the next installment of Fashion Friday. If you’re interested email me with your BODS profile and we’ll make it happen!