Having a Child with Down Syndrome, Part XXIV: Fashion

Copyright © 2012 Stephen Hawley, all rights reserved.

Day 9 of 31 for 21.

Did you know that as a parent you’re going to have to worry about fashion?  It’s true.  I didn’t think it would be too much of an issue and was fairly surprised when at an NDSC conference, I saw a vendor who was selling custom tailored clothing for people with Down syndrome.  Then I heard about a local friend who has a daughter with Down syndrome who has a tailor that they use to alter her clothing.

Starting about two years ago, we really had to worry about it.  The first reason was Alice is proportioned typically for a child with Down syndrome: her trunk is proportionally longer than her limbs (it doesn’t help that I carry genes for that body type).  This means that long sleeve shirts are a problem – a correct fit in the body means sleeves are too long.  The second issue is that with her stroke, she has trouble completely pulling up pants (and at present she still can’t operate buttons or snaps).  Because of the last reason, Alice had a tendency to show more cheek, something that gave her peers quite an eyeful since her IEP required her to sit in the front in groups.  We got a call from the school and had to make some big changes in wardrobe.

One thing we always look for are long-sleeved knits.  This way we can trim the sleeves with scissors.  We also usually have tights for her for pants.  Skirts and dresses are out of the question for now, as Alice will play “dress up day” at school, if you know what I mean (and I think you do).  Costumes have nearly always been scratch made so we can ensure a decent fit.  Socks have to be a little on the long side so her orthotics don’t chafe.  I’m sure it will get more complicated as she gets older.

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