Pigtails secured with baby pink ribbons. Brown leather cross-body handbag. Multiple pastel pink beaded necklaces. All to complement a lemon jumper and brown trousers complete with an ice-cream pocket motif – lemon and strawberry, naturally.
Can you picture it yet?
I guess this is where my journey started, and I have my ever stylish mother to thank for setting me off on my colour co-ordinated path.
Let me clarify - there is one small component to this outfit that I’ve omitted so far – the dreaded leg braces. Or calipers to those in the know. With their hideous brown laced-up boots attached.
You see, the pastel-hued outfit was a well-planned distraction conjured up by aforementioned stylish mum to prevent another five-year-old tantrum at the prospect of even one more day in these less-than-stylish contraptions.
And you know what? It kinda worked! Well, it reduced the frequency of the tantrums anyway. Still didn’t stop me pining for the latest magic shoes – you know the ones, white, with the secret lock and key – and any other fashion fads that came along, but what I lacked in shoes I more than made up for with handbags. No change there then.
Moving on a few years, ahem, and I still get comments from the physiotherapists on my colour combinations (more often than not featuring pink or purple, or both). Only now, I’ve branched out a bit and broadened my range of accessories to include crutches. Purple, of course. I've yet to choose the most versatile shade of pink for my current wardrobe.
Ok, so you’d be correct in thinking that life with a disability surely has more pressing issues than the inability to wear a platform heel with crutches, but there’s a lot to be said for that boost one gets from a new image, be it an updated outfit, hairstyle, or accessory. And we’re all entitled to feel good about ourselves, don’t you think?
So, from those early days of caliper cover-ups, began a lifetime attempt to embrace fashion while accepting disability. No easy task at the best of times, with many mistakes along the way, but sure nobody gets it right all the time...