Personal Expression – Clothes

Autism hasn’t got a set look. The autistic appearance stereotype portrays them as “blank stares” “bad haircuts” and “weird” to put it kindly. It makes me sad to see this portrayed in the media time and time again.

Some autistic’s like to show their personality by wearing clothes and accessories. It makes them feel confident and not afraid to show themselves. Examples including bright colours or shiny things or loud patterns. Jeanette Purkis is one example. Here are some of her words below!

  • Sensory

Clothes can have sensory difficulties for some autistic’s. Tags can feel like a cactus. Certain fabrics can be itchy. Certain clothes can be uncomfortable or even distressing for autistic people. It could be just a simple thing like the weight of the fabric, or even the buttons. It’s always good to see what an autistic person likes to wear, not just for looks, but for functionality. Functional clothes for any occasion is key. Autistic kids or adults may like choices that defy gender roles, like dresses. If a boy is more comfortable wearing a dress rather than trousers, experiment with this.

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For me, I’m fine with most clothes but tumble dryed towels are so dry that the dryness of my hands makes me want to shudder. Glittery shirts also make me itch. Wearing socks most of the time when I sleep makes me overheat. Anything without pockets is a nightmare!

  • My type of clothes

Like many, I go through phases. From stripy tops to frilly shirts. From mostly black and goth to hoodies, from fitted to baggy. I’ve tried whatever makes me feel good or for comfort. Right now, I’m still in a tie dye binge and have discovered the advantages of high waist jeans! Every year, I like to try something new.

I used to wear dresses on occasion, but from 2018, I decided to wear more of a suit attire. I am slowly growing a flannel shirt collection. With my oversized denim jacket, tie dye shirts and big headphones. I’m unintentionally created a 80/90’s aesthetic. Some days I want to wear something nice to feel good. Some days its fitted clothes, other days. it’s baggy clothes.

  • Triggers

What upsets me is when people want you to dress a certain way, because of their insecurities (or it “embarrasses” them). I understand we need to dress certain ways for jobs or special occasions, but for our daily lives, why do we get judged? Why does anyone get judged for simply wearing a outfit? (Something that’s not offensive especially) I got told a few times that “you should dress like this” because it’s in fashion, and I never understood why we had to.

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Most things that are in fashion, I don’t like. I feel that mainstream fashion caters towards traditional gender roles. I don’t want to wear a dress or pink stuff all the time. I also noticed that guys have better shirts. Especially for fandom ones. I don’t care for Harry Potter or Disney. I’d rather buy a Deadpool or a Crash Bandicoot t-shirt. When I started to experiment what I wore, I did get a few comments or at worst, getting my outfits re-adjusted. I hate it when people dress me. It makes me feel like a child. Unfortunately, I still wear clothes back to front or accidentally wear the wrong size (I still mess up with buttons to this day!). I once let my mum choose my clothes for an interview. I know how to dress for a interview, but once I finally looked in the mirror, I didn’t recognise myself. I understand that most of the time people mean no harm, but it triggers me when it’s unnecessary. Clothes are clothes, and what I wear is a reflection of myself. I don’t care if it’s out or in fashion. I still wear my oversized denim jacket and I love it!

What’s your thoughts on clothes? Are they are a sensory nightmare, or are they a great form of expression?

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