This week’s blog entry is the work of a few months of planning and collaboration with two up and coming experts in the fashion merchandising field – Erica and Jamie, two graduating students in Central Michigan University’s Apparel Design and Fashion Merchandising Master’s Degree. I first met Erica while I was taking my classes this year, but found out later that she and Jamie do a very fun, fashionable, and functional fashion blog called My Favorite Things (check out their blog for daily fashion tips for the everyday person!). Anyway, I asked Erica a while back if she and Jamie would be willing to take my daughter and I shopping for some brace-friendly outfits that were on-trend with current styles. Also, if they would take a look at what she had in her closet to pick out their favorite pieces. They were happy to work with me on this project, and the following photos are the result of a great photo shoot with some really creative young women. Under each of these outfits my daughter is wearing her EmBraced In Comfort bodysuit under her Cheneau brace.
Trend this spring: florals, but with a tropical flare. The turquoise T-shirt and long sundress were both bought at Kohls – $20 for the dress (after sale, but before my 20% off coupon) and the T for $7 (after sale, before coupon). The brace friendly features of this outfit are, not only the layering, but that the pattern camouflages the brace. Erica and Jamie tied a bright scarf around her head as a hair accessory, which hangs down over her shoulder, disguising any additional bulges from the brace. Ingenious! This outfit is very comfortable and very on-trend for spring and summer.
The next outfit also demonstrates the tropical florals that are in this season. My daughter’s “Grandma Jenny” bought this outfit on one of her many excursions to buy clothes for my kids. She has a great eye for what is on-trend and what will work well with a brace. The white top shows a hint of her leopard print brace underneath, but that can always be layered with a white t-shirt. My daughter likes it just how it is. The bottom of the tunic puffs out just below where the bodysuit ends, acting as a perfect disguise for “all things Scoliosis”. The bright pattern puts a smile on everyone’s face.
The following outfit we got from Kohls. My daughter was thrilled to find jeans that felt like leggings, but actually LOOKED like jeans. They stretch really well, but still have pockets for that “jeans” look. This is the only pair of pants that closely resemble jeans that she has ever felt comfortable wearing. We got the jeans for $23 at Kohls and the cami for $7 and the shirt on top for $20. The layering of the tops allows her to wear a light weight, flowy top, without showing off the bulges of her brace. The cami comes down further on her body than the top, keeping the entire outfit stylish, yet conservative. And, we can see those florals again on the top!
The following two outfits were from my daughter’s closet, further evidence of her Grandma’s shopping excursions. The first, a black and white polka dot, is stylish and slightly sophisticated, but has those whimsical ruffles for the young fashionista. The sweater shrug is optional – the brace is completely hidden under the dress underneath. The key is to find dresses with smaller armholes. The polka dots are great camouflage (as are the ruffles). The fabric, a stretchable knit, also drapes wonderfully over all the bulges.
This final look represents a great way to use a dress that would normally not be “brace friendly”. While the print and fabric are perfect in terms of drape and camouflage, the dress has spaghetti straps. However, when layered over a black t-shirt, the outfit not only becomes more brace-friendly, but also becomes appropriate for a larger variety of events. The dress is a very “dressy” look on its own, but layered over the t-shirt it becomes fitting for school, church, a day at the mall, or a formal party. This is one of my daughter’s favorite outfits, one we will miss when she is about 1 inch taller. 🙂
Well, that is all for now. If you like what Erica and Jamie came up with, please go check out their blog (link is also on my sidebar). Sign up to follow their blog – they have a great personal style that is pretty, cute, whimsical, and (one of my favorites) classy and conservative – I don’t feel they have any outfits that I would not want my daughter to wear! And, they claim that they would have worn any one of the outfits featured here as well. 🙂 I’m hoping that their eyes will be “tuned into” other upcoming stylish finds for the brace-wearing young woman. These outfit ideas are just proof that baggy sweats and tees are NOT necessary – girls wearing braces can look stylish, put together, and absolutely gorgeous just like any of their straight-spined counterparts! Thanks Erica and Jamie!