Holiday Gifts that Sparkle with Style

by Christina Medvescek on October 1, 2001 - 10:36am

Back in the 1950s when my husband was young, his relatives gathered every Christmas for a party and gift exchange. Significant amounts of "Christmas cheer" preceded the swapping of presents, leading to raucous appreciation of each item. But the biggest crowd pleaser was always the gifts for men. Back in the Dark Ages of Men's Fashion, each and every adult male received the same gift, which he would unwrap and hold up for inspection.

"Another white shirt!!" the crowd would roar in unison.

Today, with the huge variety of fabrics, cuts and styles out there, there's no reason for anybody to get stuck in a "white shirt" rut. So for our 2001 Holiday Gift Guide, Quest searched out adaptive clothing and accessories for men, women and children that offer both function and fashion. Because wheelchairs can contribute to personal appearance, we've included some gift ideas for dressing them up as well. And let's not forget accessories for the trusty service dog or family pet!

See the "Directory of Clothing Sources," and order soon to be sure your gifts arrive before the holidays. Remember that the prices quoted here may have changed by the time you order.

May your holidays be bright and free of boring gifts!

Designer spoke guards are a flashy and fun way to personalize your wheelchair, as well as make it more visible to traffic. Rollinman makes a number of designs in different sizes, including dragons, angels, sports motifs and sparkly geometrics for $50 per pair. If you don't see what you like, you can order your own custom design.

Back-opening sweatshirts end the struggle to pull things over the head. Available in a soft navy fabric with contrasting trim at the V-neck and wrists, the back is cut shorter for less bulk in wheelchairs, and closes easily with Velcro tabs. Sizes range from child's medium to adult XL; prices range from $26 to $30. From Adrian's Closet

Vincente Chacon (right), 8, is pretty proud of his dragon spoke guards by Rollinman. Vincente also is wearing a back-opening V-necked sweatshirt from Adrian's Closet.

Vincente Chacon proudly displays his spoke guards by Rollinman. 


Elastic waist walking jeans offer easy style for kids who struggle with zippers. Stone-washed denim jeans have side pockets and an invisible Velcro fly.

Lower leg zippers can be added for ease in putting on and taking off braces. Sizes go from 24-inch to 30-inch waist, at $34. From Adrian's Closet

Elastic waist walking jeans

The Markel Brace Boot has a rugged "cool" look in an extra wide width to accommodate braces. In tan suede with a full leather lining, the boots have no left or right foot and the tongue folds completely down for ease of entry. Sized to fit children and small adults, the child version is $76, youth size is $90, and, adults 31/2 to 6, $115. From Adrian's Closet

The Markel Brace Boot

Cargo pants are another way for kids to look sharp and be comfortable. These pants feature an elastic waist with Velcro closure and invisible inside zippers for leg brace convenience. They're available in navy, tan and green in children's sizes S-XL and adult sizes up to XL. Children's pants are $30; adults' are $38. From Able Apparel

Cargo pants


Flap front pants with Velcro closure have a classic double pleat front and a covered half-elastic back, and won't fall down when the fly or drop-front panel is opened. The pants have two deep side pockets and a back set-in pocket. Black or khaki twill, adult sizes S-XL, at $49. From Forde's Functional Fashions

The Velcro-close long-sleeved shirt makes dressing easier with Velcro tabs under the buttons. It's available from Finally It Fits in white, tan, light or dark blue, and you can add up to four pockets (two front, two sleeve), in adult sizes S to XL, for $55. Forde's Functional Fashions' Velcro-close men's shirt features a longer tail and one breast pocket. It comes in sizes S-L, in blue, black, white or stripes, $40.

Flap front pants with Velcro closure

A back-snap cardigan makes a great gift for the man with limited arm mobility. The sweater appears to button in the front but actually snaps all the way down the back. In 100 percent acrylic with two front pockets, the sweater comes in assorted colors, adult sizes S-XL, for $30. From Wardrobe Wagon

The back-snap polo shirt in short or long sleeves looks as if it pulls over the head, but actually goes on from the front for ease of dressing. The poly/cotton blend has a two-button placard and pocket and comes in assorted stripes, plaids and solids. Available in adult sizes S-XL for $20, and 2X-3X for $22. From Wardrobe Wagon

Carlos Durazo (right) is wearing a back-snap cardigan and showing off a back-snap polo shirt.

Carlos Durazo is wearing a back-snap cardigan and showing off a back-snap polo shirt. 

Men's suits and sportcoats, cut for wheelchair users, feature a variety of custom alterations that allow you to look sharp, not rumpled. The coats feature adjusted shoulder and elbow seams, shoulder darts for a better fit, and shorter front and back lengths. Pants are cut higher in the back with elastic insets and straight-cut pockets. Wool and wool-blend suits and sport coats, sizes 33-inch to 50-inch chest, range in price from $175 to $189; pants in the same material, sizes 30-inch to 53-inch waist, range in price from $79 to $99. From Rolli-Moden

Wheelchair cuts suits feature both fashion and function

Back-closing fleece coordinates offer comfort, style, warmth and ease of dressing for those with limited mobility. Tops close up the back and pants have a wide side closure, available in your choice of snaps, zippers or Velcro. A variety of colors and prints are offered in sizes S-3XL. Prices range from $35.99 to $54.99. From Spec-L

Back-closing fleece coordinates

Back-closing fleece coordinates

This classic long-sleeved blouse goes with almost everything and never has to be buttoned because it closes with Velcro. A sleeve button tab allows you to convert from long sleeves to three-quarter length for fashion or function when pushing a wheelchair, and side slits allow extra comfort when seated. Choose no pockets, front pockets or sleeve pockets. Available from Finally It Fits in white, tan, cranberry or blue, in adult sizes S-XL (2X and 3X sizes coming soon), $55. Forde's Functional Fashions' classic blouse has dolman sleeves and no pockets or decorative buttons, in white or cream, sizes S-L, $35.

There's no way around it: Contemporary fashion means jeans. Fit While You Sit jeans have a higher rise in the back, elastic insets in the rear waist, less fabric to bunch up in the front, an extra-long fly opening, flat seams, and no rear pockets or rivets to cause pressure sores. Quality "sitter jeans" are available from a variety of adaptive clothing retailers, but two seem to have the biggest variety. Rolli-Moden offers seven shades of denim and four different cuts for men and women at $55. USA Jeans also has a large variety of colors and offers an optional Velcro-close fly for $47.95.

The front-close skirt in denim and twill can easily become the most popular piece of clothing in the closet, thanks to its "go anywhere" style. Mock buttons hide the Velcro closures at the half-elastic waist and down the front. Waist pleats complete the classic look. Black or khaki twill, adult sizes S-XL, $33. From Forde's Functional Fashions

Front-close skirt

This back overlap dress with large patch pockets opens flat for dressing ease and closes with buttons at the shoulders, eliminating any pressure points on the back. Choose from an all-print style or a solid-colored yoke, sleeves and pocket trim coordinated with a matching small print. The longer length covers knees while sitting. It's available with long or short sleeves, in pink, blue, lilac, purple and dark green, adult sizes S-L $40, XL-3XL, $45. The back overlap blouse is basically a shorter version of the dress, with a slightly more tailored cut. Available in long or short sleeves, sizes S-3XL, at $35. From Specially For You

Back overlap dress


WeatherChaps keep your lap, legs and feet drier than a poncho during a downpour because they fit snugly around your lower body instead of draping over it. They're easy to put on without standing: You simply slip your feet into the bottom pocket, then pull the waterproof fabric up over your lap and legs. The contoured shape eliminates fabric getting caught in the wheels. The item comes with a removable fleece lining, in adult or child sizes, for $39.95. From Diestco


This beautiful multicolored hooded poncho was made by artisans in the Andes Mountains, and is available in standard or wheelchair cuts. The wheelchair cut includes two "hip-huggable" straps for a better fit. One size fits most, at $75. The poncho can be accessorized with a matching artisan-crafted shoulder bag or wheelchair bags. From Forde's Functional Fashions

hooded pancho

The Handi-Robe is a classic holiday gift — a bathrobe modified for the wheelchair user. Its practical design allows you to put it on without standing up, and a convenient pouch stores personal items. It's available in white or navy for $49.95. From Able Apparel


Zip Ties are the ultimate in fashion convenience for men — just slip the pre-knotted tie over your head, tighten it up and go! They're available in a variety of colors and styles at $19.95 from Rolli-Moden, or $12.99 from Spec-L.

Zip Ties


Vibs offer a dignified way to protect clothes from spills and stains. Styled to look like vests with buttons and pockets, they attach around the neck with a simple Velcro closure. Reversible with a colorful pattern on one side and solid on the other, they come in either black/plaid or red/red-gold. They're machine washable and dryable at $19.95. From Rolli-Moden


They wiggle, they coil, they're Spirolaces! These colorful elastic shoelaces eliminate shoe tying. Stretch and they loosen; pull and they hold tight. In colors for boys and girls at $3.50/pair. From Adrian's Closet



When you can't let a smile be your umbrella, consider a canopy. Designed to fit manual and power chairs and scooters, the colorful canopies come in three models: basic, vented (mesh sides and back), and max protection, which is the vented model with removable plastic side curtains. The canopy mounting poles permanently attach to the chair or scooter, and the canopy slips on when needed or stuffs into a carry bag when not. Available in adult or child sizes, in navy blue, cranberry red, teal green or charcoal gray; $129.95 for basic, $159.95 for vented, and $189.95 for max protection. From Diestco

An underseat glove box is the perfect place for storing valuables and personal items out of sight. Available in small (9-by-5-inches) or large (12-by-5-by-9 inches), they fit under most power wheelchair or scooter seats (won't fit manual or folding wheelchairs). $21.95 (small) and $29.95 (large). From Diestco

Wheelchair canopy

It can be a "ruff" world out there for your service dog's tender paws, especially in icy winter or blow torch summer. These dog boots are engineered to stay on and provide insulation from the elements and rough terrain. Styles range from a 2-inch bootie ($30 for four) to 4-inch ($35) and 8-inch ($45) models that won't fall off. Available in camouflage, brown, orange, red, purple and royal blue. From the Dog Boot Co.

Dog boots, From the Dog Boot Co.


Stocking stuffers

The V-neck back overlap nightgown comes in several snuggly fabrics and prints for men or women. The overlapped back closes at the shoulder, meaning ease of dressing for caregivers and more privacy during personal hygiene for the wearer. Fabrics include cotton, flannel and white satin, in plain, floral and geometric prints. Sizes adult S-L are $30; XL-3XL are $35. From Specially For You

Fleecem socks give soft warm comfort to cold feet. Easy to put on, these thick midcalf-length fleece socks come in gray, navy, burgundy or black with contrasting ribbing. Sizes range from child small to adult large, at $10 to $14. From Adrian's Closet

Dressing Tips and Clothing Resources for Making Life Easier is just what the title says it is. Written by Shelley Peterman Schwarz, who's affected by multiple sclerosis, the book includes clear drawings, fashion and practical tips for selecting and putting on clothing, and a roundup of adaptive clothing retailers. $19. From Attainment

Drink holders can handle the ups and downs of life. Easily attached to wheelchairs, scooters or walkers, the holder swivels to keep drinks level as you head up slopes or over curbs. Expandable to accommodate cups, bottles and cans, at $9.95. From Rolli-Moden


Directory of Clothing Sources
Able Apparel
(888) 688-2253

Adaptations by Adrian
(formerly Adrian's Closet)
(800) 831-2577

(800) 327-4269

Diestco Manufacturing Corp.
(800) 795-2392

The Dog Boot Company
(785) 538-2488

Finally It Fits (now a diet co.)

Forde's Functional Fashions
(800) 531-7705

(800) 707-2395

(310) 898-8355

Specially For You
(605) 625-3765

(800) 445-1981

Wardrobe Wagon
(800) 992-2737

USA Jeans
(800) 935-5170

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