Style Guide

Crutches Are the New Black

Just because you're injured doesn't mean your style has to take a hit.

By Miranda Proctor July 5, 2016

Crutches xae3dh

Image: Shutterstock

About five months ago, I tore my ACL, MCL, and meniscus in my right knee and required surgery. For the next few weeks I was on crutches, and for the next month and a half I wore a giant, clunky knee brace—not the most fashionable of accessories, let me tell you. For anyone who has suffered an injury that requires them to wear a cast, brace, or use crutches, you know how uncomfortable they may feel and how easy it is to give up on any semblance of your usual style in favor for some good old baggy sweats. But that’s just not me.

I love fashion. I love picking an outfit out to match my mood for the day, and whether I want to go for a chic or boho look. After my surgery, it was tempting to succumb to a let’s-just-wear-sweatpants-over-my-knee-brace look. As a former athlete, I’ve seen my friends get injured time and time again, and there seems to be this stigma that injuries equal sweats and that you can’t wear a cute dress that happens to show off your knee brace or cast, or else you’re "trying too hard."

Crutchlook fakisj

The author rocking her knee injury in style.

I understand sweats make it more comfortable and are necessary at times, but having an injury shouldn’t limit you if you want to continue showing off your style. Something like a simple summer dress is just as easy to wear, and three times cuter. If you’re on crutches, you have to be mindful how the dress rides up when you use them, but as long as you keep that in mind and choose appropriately, then it shouldn’t be a problem.

Another thing to keep in mind is the fact that crutches chafe, and they make your armpits sore if you don’t have anything to cushion the blow. So if you're wearing them, your options are:

  1. Spruce them up by using a cloth (using one that’s patterned or colorful for extra flair if you want!) to wrap around the padding for some extra cushion.
  2. Choose a top that safely covers your underarms and upper torso.
  3. Both, because boy do these puppies chafe.

As for shoes, you need something you can rely on so you don’t slip or trip and injure yourself further. That’s why I recommend something close-toed with good grip. Thankfully dresses look adorable when paired with cute sneakers or booties.

If you’re rocking some great accessories, people are going to be too busy admiring your outfit to notice your knee brace or crutches. I’m not saying you should try to hide your injury, but wearing a cute hat or statement necklace may even help you forget about it because you’ll be too busy feeling like a million bucks.

The point is you have to wear your injury with confidence. Injuries and disabilities can zap your self-esteem and leave you feeling worn and exhausted. Whether they impact us mentally or just make it really annoying to put on shoes, they affect our lives. Luckily, it’s been proven that your mental attitude can affect your physical well-being. And what makes us feel confident and empowered? Showing off and rocking our style. Just by wearing clothes that are more you then a pair of sweats, you’ll start to feel more like yourself. So if you’re an #ootd type, try your best to stay true to it, regardless of whatever medically necessary “accessories” you have to work with.

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