Bling Your Wheelchair

By Stan Clark

The best part about living in this time is that we've got a lot of celebrating to catch up on. The hard part, at least for me, is that I am out of practice when it comes to dressing up and going out.

Whenever I look at my calendar, there's always an event around the corner with a different dress code, a different theme and a different group of friends, family and peers. I won't lie, it can make my head spin trying to keep the same handful of outfits fresh for all these events.

Of course, there's one element of my 'outfit' that's always hard to dress up. My wheelchair was a stagnant part of my ensemble for a long time. A constant, sure, but I found that I wanted to elevate my look and express myself. After all, this is an accessibility tool that I use to navigate the world. It's a part of me as much as my pants are.

When it comes to accessorizing my wheelchair, the choices I make are dependent on the nature of the event. So before breaking out the craft supplies and blueprints, I take time to consider the dress code, theme and tone of the event. Holidays may allow for a more campy, fun vibe.

Bling your Wheelchair concept art

We've all got places to be. School concerts, church meetings and date nights pile up. Maybe you're just celebrating Wheelchair Beautification Month. I like to coordinate my outfit with accessories whenever possible to shine.

Whether you're due to receive recognition, attending a wedding, or just a mom or dad looking to feel stylish for a day, there's a way to spice up your assistive device.

Decorate Your Wheelchair Handles

Some wheelchair users often receive assistance from someone using the handles. Others of us tend to not get pushed by others very often. Either way, wheelchair handles are a small detail that can be punched up to shine at special events.

If Your Handles are Used Often

There are plenty of accessories that do not interfere with the function of the handles. One of the most common accessories is rubber grips that slide over the handles.

There are some bags and totes that hang by hooking over the handles to rest at the back of the seat. A themed bag could be a great accessory to an event.

If there's no need for extra storage, this sort of hanging can be a customized piece. Maybe you had a dress made for a wedding. Spare fabric from that project could be used to make a matching banner to hang from the handles. I always like to integrate the wheelchair into my outfit, letting my look and my accessibility tool complement one another.

If Your Handles are Used Often

If you find that your handles are pretty auxiliary, I recommend going wild! Without a need to access the handles, they and the back of the chair can be completely covered should you so choose.

The handles themselves can also be covered. Some wheelchair users who are averse to having strangers touch their handles will commission custom spiked hand grips to go over the handles. These can be tailor-made for a special occasion to be both beautiful and functional.

Deck Out Your Rim Covers

If you're looking for a splash of color, I think there's no easier way than rim covers. They come in all sorts of colors, patterns, and sizes. They're easy and can be customized to fit the occasion.

Go Green with Floral and Botanical Elements

A popular way to accessorize wheelchairs is to incorporate natural elements. Much of the wheelchair is rather neutral metal, plastic and canvas. The inclusion of natural motifs like flowers can make for an elegant, striking presentation.

Fake flowers can be woven into the spokes on the wheels for a colorful, moving display. If your legs tend to stay stationary, you can even consider incorporating fake flowers into your lap or the leg area of your wheelchair.

Bling your Wheelchair concept art

Some wheelchair users even adhere floral tubes to their wheelchair. These tubes are full of water and designed to keep cut flowers fresh. It can be an incredible, striking choice for a wedding guest or an award recipient to have fresh flowers be part of their ensemble.

Whether you choose to accessorize your wheelchair or leave it as is, the most vital element of attending events as a wheelchair user is to own your use of mobility aid and let yourself shine!

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