A Fashion Visionary

29 September 2016

Vision Australia client, staff member and fashionista Vildana, shares her very cool yet practical tips on how to dress with flare and style.

Vildana leaning against a wall in her stylish dress, smiling whilst look to her rightFashion has always been how I express myself. Through fashion I communicate how I feel and the sub cultures I identify with.

I’ve been through lots of fashion phases, to name a few; hippy, punk rebel and avant-garde. When I look back on those stages of my life, I smile and think how silly I was.

In my mid-twenties I developed a deteriorating eye condition called cone-rod dystrophy. Cone-rod dystrophy affects both central and peripheral vision.

After vision loss it became hard for me to choose clothes. It was suddenly hard to choose colours, to match the right patterns and materials and to know what’s in fashion. I thought that having my own unique style wasn’t possible anymore. I started wearing jeans and simple tops. I wanted to hide inside dark, baggy clothes. I was grieving and losing confidence.

After a while my friends and family helped me realise that I could still enjoy fashion.

Slowly I developed ways to shop for clothes.

Now I use fashion to express my personality again, and also challenge perceptions of what people with vision impairment might dress like.

So here are some of the tips and tricks that helped me create a unique style again:

Shopping tips

A good start is to identify a person you know who is fashionable. To identify that person, listen to who gets a lot of compliments from others for their style.

Once you’ve identified that person, ask them if they could help you with fashion by explaining their clothing style and where they go shopping

Then ask them if they would be able to come shopping with you to give you some fashion guidance.

Once you have your shopping friend you can hit the shops.

I think the best times to go shopping are mid-week mornings. The shops are not crowded and you won’t be bustled by other people

Before you leave for the shops, write a shopping list: think about what you need in advance so you don’t make impulse purchases you may regret later.

When you arrive at the shops, a good tip is to check out what the manikins in the shop windows are wearing, they are usually dressed in good combinations

Colours and patterns

These colour tips will help you choose the clothes once you’re in the store.

Monochrome colours such as black, white and grey always go well together. I like to add a bit of colour to a monochrome outfit like, a red cardigan or scarf for example.

When it comes to patterns the best rule of thumb for matching patterned clothing is to find the dominant colour in the pattern then find a skirt or pants that match the pattern.

Wardrobe

Now that you have some fashionable new clothes it’s time to dress in them. A good tip to staying well-dressed is to make sure you keep a well organised wardrobe. That way you will always know where to find your favourite clothes.

If you want to be really organised, on a hanger, have shirt and pants that go well together ready to go if you need an outfit on the run.

Finally, I recommend good lighting where you dress, magnifying mirrors for applying makeup, high tech products like the “Colour id mate” or “Penfriend labeller” if you need to label your clothes and last but not least, don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends, family or your OT to ensure you look your very best!

I hope you find these tips useful and I hope you are inspired to express yourself through fashion like I do.

Vildana Praljak