Design Matters: Fall/Holiday 2014

By Stephanie Alves, Founder/Designer ABL Denim

Welcome to our Abilities community fashion blog from one of your own. Do you like the title? I love double entendres. But it's true—design does matter. It affects us in measurable and immeasurable ways. Our environments are so important. And so are our clothes.

Because society is concerned with image and identity, the point of fashion is to make one look good. In addition, it helps to make you feel good too, unless you spend more money than you can afford or the garment is uncomfortable or doesn't suit your needs. That's just silly, don't do it.

But I digress. One can make good choices that will accomplish those goals. I'll talk about a few fashion trends happening now, Fall 2014, along with a few ideas for holiday dressing.



Adaptive Street Cred

Photo Credit: the

You bought some exercise clothing because jeggings, leggings, and sweatpants are so comfortable. And you know you're supposed to do some exercise on your own or with a PT; something. Maybe you're lucky enough to have access to (or own) a Quadriciser. For those of you who mean to start soon or just exercise more frequently, you're in luck. One of the trends that has been gathering steam for years is exercise clothing that doubles as streetwear. But now it's not the messy, unshowered-before-exercise look, but put-together, neat and flattering. No dirty sneakers please.

Designer Mary Katranzou, the amazing print designer who does wild, picturesque prints, adds them to Adidas sneakers. They cost the same as a car payment but I'm sure someone will make a less expensive version very soon. Just keep in mind printed sneakers and sweatshirts. They're fun and in style. Adaptive shoe

Photo Credit: ADIDAS by Mary Katranzou


You can even wear what feels like a sweatpant in sleeker styles such as this jean from Silver Denim for women (but they're not adaptive.)

For men and women, there's an adaptive version of a sweatpant (warning: here's my one and only shameless plug) in sweatshirt denim from ABL Denim that are higher in the back:
Adaptive shoe


Theme: D.I.Y.

Do It Yourself, recycle your own clothes, buy them at a thrift store or buy them brand new for a lot more money. Patched jeans are in style and they look great: Adaptive fashion magazine spread

Photo Credit:

They look great for everyone—men, women and kids. Now you have an excuse to continue patching and repairing those old favorite jeans that continue to fall apart. Plaids are all the rage, as are stripes, dots and any busy pattern many of you have refused to wear all your life. Put together neatly, they look great. If you're game, they will also be all over the markdown racks in time for Black Friday. After decades of watching retail selling patterns, I personally guarantee it.

Remember what I said about clean sneakers here. For women, it's now time to talk about something you're alleged to like: shoes. It's the shoe that will pull the look together. Make that boots, actually, because they are the easiest way to update your wardrobe and your style. Thankfully, boot styles don't change so quickly. Go for knee high boots, medium or ankle height and here's something really great: at Duo Boot you order according to your calf size, as well as your shoe size and width. Incredible! They'll actually fit you. Watch their video here:


We've seen numerous articles of late about women's inequality or lack of inclusivity all over the world, from the Middle East to the boardrooms of corporate America. The trend in fashion that reflects this empowers women to be bold by wearing colorful patterns such as kaleidoscope prints and bold graphics in both folkloric, flowy fabrics or in more androgynous and tailored clothing.

App voices I Love You

Photo credit: Patrick Kovarik, Los Angeles Times

Boxy, short jackets and longer skirts that cover the knee prevail in both the soft or structured looks that say "look at my strength," not look at my, well, you know. Long sweaters and quilted coats are part of that 70's look (in a good way) if you're ambulatory. Capes and ponchos are big now in prints for the bohemian look or color-blocked to wear to work in place of a short jacket. They're great if you have arm mobility issues because you don't have to deal with getting your hands through those long tubes also known as sleeves.

See a few here:
Adaptive fashion magazine spread

Photo Credit:

If you need them accessible and they're in your price range, the best offerings in adaptive outerwear are made by IZ Adaptive.

By the way, the colors for the season in all categories are forest greens and leaf greens, brick reds and corals, navy and bright blues, and black/white in combination. I'll cover that a bit later.


Adaptive ShoesIt's time to raise that glass to all and everything that we are grateful for and to notice that glass is half-full, not half-empty. So wear something nice.

You can dress up all the trends above with some added shine. It's that simple. Denim Refinery takes your old jeans and adds a distressed metallic finish. (Love this!)

For women who want a beautiful look on their leg, wear a feminine lace up shoe in flats or heels with this effect.  This is a great look if you use a wheelchair!

For staying with me this long, here's a bonus:

App voices I Love You

Photo Credit:


That's a theme, you say? Yes, it's a theme this year, thankfully, because anyone can pull it off. Most can wing it with what they already own. Pair a nice white shirt, a black blazer or a black leather motorcycle jacket, white pants for women, and black shoes, whether dressy or casual.

Now go have that full glass of champagne!

Stephanie Alves is the founder and designer of ABL Denim, a premium denim adaptive jean line made in U.S.A. for men, women and children. 




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