Looking Good Without a Mirror

Deanna Noriega and her dog guideOne of the funny things about living with vision loss is that we often get stuck with a picture of ourselves that dates from the time of our vision loss. I was 8 years old at the time. At sixty-four, I know that I am no longer a pint-sized little girl with long dark chestnut braids, a baby face, and a snub nose. The ruffles my mama used to enjoy dressing me in are probably not current fashion either.

Planning Your Wardrobe

Women who are visually impaired need a plan to take into account current trends in fashion and what they have learned about their appearance. They need to be realistic when buying. Is the item easy care? Does it fit a need? Does the color go with their skin and hair? Does the style maximize their good points and minimize problem areas? Is it comfortable? Does it fit well?

Tips for Choosing Clothing

Choose a couple of basic color themes and build your wardrobe around them. Wear a favorite skirt, slacks, or jacket when shopping for new items so you can solicit sales personnel input on color matching. If you can’t tell the difference between two close colors like dark navy and black, avoid buying two identical items in those colors. If you just can’t avoid it, mark one color with a safety pin on the label. For example, if you mark all of the black items with a pin, then you will know the ones without pins are navy. There are a number of methods through which you can organize and identify your clothing, including using good lighting if you have low vision.

Consider shopping regularly at the same stores so you can develop a relationship with the sales staff and they can learn your tastes. If you buy something on advice from a sales clerk and don’t get a single compliment on it, take your business elsewhere.

Personal Shopper Service

Some large stores offer personal shopper services. You can phone for an appointment, give them your sizes and color suggestions, describe what you have in mind, and they will pull items for you to look at and try. They know their stock and can pull together an outfit with all accessories. This is especially helpful for big events like job hunting, a wedding, or other important occasions.

Smaller stores are often a good choice because their staffs are accustomed to providing personal service. If your budget doesn’t stretch to the higher prices of specialty dress shops or upscale stores with personal shopper service, you can inquire at larger discount-type stores for the best times to shop when they are not as crowded and arrange for someone from customer service to assist you.

Shopping with a Friend

Best of all is shopping with a friend whose judgment you trust and making a day of it with lunch out. If you offer to pay for gas and treat your friend to lunch, it isn’t hard to find someone to shop with. Once a year, you should have a sighted friend evaluate your closet with you to eliminate clothing that has become stained, frayed, faded, or is just no longer suitable. Such items can be put aside for charity or for performing grubby chores. Although you can’t see yourself, others can and it is worthwhile to look your best.

If you are clean, neatly dressed, and attractive, you will find that people are eager to help you when you need it. People will find you more appealing and will be more comfortable in approaching you.