6 Misconceptions About Being An Amputee!

I’d like to take this opportunity and clarify the following misconceptions about being an amputee. I am clearing up these misconceptions almost daily. Enjoy!

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Photo courtesy of wordpress.com


Misconception #1: I Was Involved in a Tragic Accident or I am a Veteran
Fortunately some amputees, like myself, have never had to go through something as tragic as losing a limb in combat or losing it in a car wreck. There are so many ways to lose a limb. Cancer, diabetes, and other diseases are major factors in limb loss and amputation. Ask me instead of assuming it was tragic. 

Misconception #2: I’m Used To It, So It Doesn’t Bother Me
This is a very common statement I hear often. I was born with missing limbs, and when I tell people this, their initial response is, “Oh, so you’re used to it, that’s good. It doesn’t bother you much then.” Wrong! It doesn’t matter if I have always been an amputee, or I just became one. This is not something that someone just gets used to. It always bothers me. It bothers me when my friends are able to go do things that I am physically limited at. It bothers me when you stare and secretly whisper to your friend. It bothers me that the first impression that someone has of me is my legs. It bothers me that you don’t think to ask about how I’m doing because you think I’m “used to it.” Being physically and visibly different than the vast majority of people I am around is never something I’ll get used to. I get over it and cope, but guess what… sometimes it still sucks.


Misconception #3: I Don’t Want You to Ask About My Prosthesis

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Photo courtesy of quora.com


Please.. Please.. Please ask me instead of gawking with your mouth wide open. Parents, if your child is looking at my leg, don’t hurry them to look away. Encourage them to talk to me because I love kiddos. It could be a very good learning opportunity for them and you. Encourage them to ask me about how I lost my legs and how my legs work. They can learn that being different is awesome. I love explaining how my legs work and what happened to me. Explaining how it works makes me sound smart and like a scientist. Any opportunity I get to share my story means I can change someone’s life and their perspective.


Misconception #4: I Always Want to Talk About My Disability
A lot of people want to remind me that I am an inspiration, and they want to know what happened. But sometimes I just don’t want to talk about my prosthesis and what happened to me! I just want to talk about my day, or my love for running (which I talk about it a lot). We don’t always want to be reminded that we are an inspiration. I live with my disability every day, and talking about it doesn’t make my disability better. It just reminds me that I have a disability.

Misconception #5: Having a Prosthesis is Just Like Having a Real Leg
“You’re so lucky you have prostheses… It’s pretty similar to walking like you have two real legs.” As grateful as I am to be blessed with prostheses and to be able to walk, this statement makes me mad… so just… No. It’s so much harder. Things break and rip and hurt… constantly.


Misconception #6: I Can’t Laugh at My Situation

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Photo courtesy of someecards.com


Having one leg or no legs is actually hilarious to me. There are so many things that I or my loved ones can say that are just funny. “Tanya, if you leave your leg outside, the dogs will eat it.” “Tanya, don’t hit your sisters with your leg. “Tanya, I will take your leg off and beat you with it.” I laugh at myself before anyone else can. That’s what makes me strong. One of my favorite quotes is from Steel Magnolias. “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.”

What other misconceptions do you clear up daily?

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10 Facts About The Paralympics

The Olympic Games are over. Now it is on to Paralympic games! Did you know that Paralympic games are younger than Olympics? However, they have grown tremendously to include more than 170 countries and 4,000 elite athletes. These athletes compete in wheelchairs, with prosthetics, without senses such as hearing or sight, in more than 20 different sports.

 

1. The Paralympics made its debut in Rome in 1960 in conjunction with the summer Olympic Games.

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Photo courtesy of Paralympic.org

 

According to OUPblog.com, it all really began in 1948, when sports for athletes with impairments were widely introduced as a way of helping injured WWII vets. Dr. Ludwig Guttman was treating a number of patients wit h spinal cord injuries and organized an archery competition for wheelchair athletes. This led to the first official international competition known as Paralympic Games in 1960. Years later, the Paralympic Games expanded to include winter sports debuting in Sweden in 1976.

 

2. The word “Paralympics” means “next to the Olympics.”

The Greek word para translates to “alongside of.” Since both games occur around the same time in the same cities, original organizers used the prefix to form the name “Paralympics.”

 

3. Athletes are divided into classifications “to minimize the impact of impairment on the outcome of competition.”

A panel of international classifiers determines where athletes should be placed. For the Winter Paralympic Games, competitors with vision and physical impairments compete, and most events are divided into vision, sitting, and standing categories.

 

4. This year, the Winter Paralympics events consist of alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, para ice hockey, snowboarding, and wheelchair curling.

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Photo courtesy of Paralympic.org

 

The Paralympic sporting events often change. For example, ice sledge racing was a competitive event until 1998, when it was eliminated from the Paralympics. In 2022, there are hopes to see bobsledding, a sport where the sleds are controlled by just one athlete at a time, included in competition.

 

5. Vision-impaired athletes compete in alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, and the biathlon.

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Photo Courtesy of empirestatewintergames.com

 

These legally blind athletes compete with a guide who assists them during their events and are ultimately responsible for their safety. For alpine skiing, guides communicate by radio, and the athletes have microphones in their ear while racing down the hill at speeds around 75 mph! For the biathlon, when it comes to the shooting portion, athletes use a specialized laser beam rifle and aim for the target via sound.

 

6. Both para ice hockey and wheelchair curling are mixed events, meaning that men and women can compete with each other.

 

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Photo courtesy of Paralympic.org

 

When it comes to wheelchair curling, athletes don’t need to use a wheelchair in daily life to compete, as the event is inclusive for those who have lower-body impairments but can still walk short distances.

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Photo courtesy of Paralympic.org

 

For para ice hockey, athletes are seated on sledges — which are basically sleds with blades — and use double-ended sticks with a spike on one end for propelling them on the ice and a blade on the other end to pass and shoot the puck. While this sport has been “open to women” since 2010, it has been male-dominated since its debut in ’94.

 

7. Norway has won the most gold medals overall for the Paralympic Winter Games.

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Photo courtesy of 1460espnyakima.com

 

Norwegians have competed in every Paralympic Winter Games since 1976 and currently have 135 gold medals.

 

8. According to Paralympic.org, overall, 48 nations and over 550 athletes are competing in 2018 in PyeongChang.

The final number of countries may still change last minute. There will be 80 total events. Snowboarding is debuting this year which will expand the medal sports to 10.

 

9. This is the first-ever Winter Paralympics that North Korean athletes are expected to compete in.

While the country has been represented in two summer games, this is the first-time that athletes have the chance to compete. Two North Korean athletes will compete in para Nordic skiing for the winter games.

 

10. And of course, the most talked about subject of the games is Russia! Athletes from Russia were banned from the games, but they are still able to participate as neutrals.

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Photo courtesy of businessinsider.com

 

Due to a widespread doping scandal, Russian athletes can only compete under a neutral flag as “Olympic Athletes from Russia” in PyeongChang after having been banned fully since Rio 2016.

 

As interesting those previous facts are, the most important fact is when and where it is all happening! The games begin on March 9th in PyeongChang in South Korea and continue until the 19th! You can watch 94 hours of television and a total of 250 hours of coverage for the Paralympics on NBC, NBCSN, Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, NBCSports.com, and the NBC Sports app.

Go Team USA and Go Team Belarus!

 

 

 

 

Tanya’s Top Reasons – Take 2!

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Photo courtesy of clker.com

 

It is time for the second edition of Tanya’s Top Reasons why it is great to be an amputee! I have such a good time putting these together, because many of these are things people don’t even think about. Always my best advice, don’t take life too seriously and have a little laugh with me while you are reading my latest edition. You know, I am already laughing!

1. With the amount of stares that you get from day to day, you could always place an advertisement on your stumplet and have a company pay you to promote their product. You might as well give people something to read while their eyes are fixed in your direction! 😉

2. You don’t have to match your socks!  Not that people ever really do match them anyway… Matching is overrated!

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Photo courtesy of catersnews.com

 

3. You get to spend a lot of time hanging out with doctors and therapists! Just what everyone dreams about, right?! Actually, real talk here…I do enjoy my appointments because it’s exciting to see how much progress prosthetic technology makes. Well, and everyone at the prosthetic office is really nice.

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Doyle Collier (my prosthetist from Decker O&P) is doing a cast of my legs

 

4. You can usually get the good parking spots. I’m sure that eventually I’ll ditch the disabled parking pass when it gets warmer outside, but for now, I’m going to use it…especially since snow and ice are coming.

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Photo courtesy of myparkingsign.com

 

5. If you are missing one leg, then you only have to check one shoe for any creatures that may be hiding in there. And if you do happen to put on a shoe containing Mr. Spider, at least when your foot squishes him, you won’t feel it! LOL!

6. You find a lot of uses for random household items. I use clear bra straps to make sure my slide sandals stay on my prosthetic feet. Prosthetists may use lipstick to mark socket fittings. Next time I am asking to use my lipstick shade instead of his! Lol!! So pretty much any item can be used in ways other than their intended purposes to either enhance or learn about your prosthetics.

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Photo courtesy of livewithoutlimbs.com

 

7. There are more, creative job opportunities. I  have come across a LOT of patient advocates, which are really important roles to play in the community. It’s a niche market. Not only are we available to help, but very much capable of it as well! You learn the value of working hard every day when it comes to mobility. Why not appreciate that same sense of hard work when it comes to your job?

8. Speaking of mobility, you have a greater appreciation of it. More often than not, amputees have acquired their limb loss later in life, so they actually had experiences BEFORE their amputations. Gratitude is a powerful tool, and it’s always helpful to have around in any circumstance.

9. And always my favorite one… Your toes never get cold! You know, because you don’t have toes!

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I really need to clean my “toes” sometime

 

I hope you are laughing your toes off, because you probably have some to spare!

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5 Inspiring Amputee Animals Who Triumphed Over Tragedy

Most of my blogs are related to humans, maybe because I am a human and it is easier for me to talk about me! LOL

But in honor of National Love Your Pet Day (February 20), I decided to take a different approach and research amputee animals. O-M-G! Amputee animals are so cute (like any animals). We can learn so much from them, like not giving up on life and keep moving forward no matter what’s stopping us – we just need a little more help!

  1. Chi Chi – Golden Retriever

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Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Howell

 

I wrote a blog on Chi Chi, the Golden Retriever, back in November! Chi Chi was found inside a trash bag near a black market meat trader in South Korea. According to rescuers, she was barely breathing and all four legs were bound with wire.

She was immediately rushed to the hospital where doctors declared that the only way to save Chi Chi’s life would be to amputate all four of her paws. Losing her paws has not diminished Chi Chi’s energy or spirit. Just a day after her surgery, she was ready to be up and about, playing with her toys. Chi Chi is now living with her new family in Arizona. Her new owners have certified Chi Chi as a therapy dog so she can visit amputee patients. The best part, Chi-Chi looks incredible in our Knit-Rite prosthetic soft socks! 🙂

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Photo courtesy of people.com

 

If you would like to hear more on Chi Chi’s journey, follow her on Facebook or on Instagram @chichirescuedog

 

2. Ozzie – Goose

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Photo courtesy of 3dprint.com

 

Ozzie is a male goose that lives in South Africa. He was rescued by Sue Berger as part of an animal rescue effort. Ozzie had sustained a severe fracture in his left leg; so bad in fact that amputation of the limb was the only option. As a result of the amputation, Ozzie had great difficulty performing normal goose activities – such as walking. Because the rest of his body overcompensated for the missing limb, it caused him to end up breaking wings and damaging other parts of his body. Ozzie’s owner could not bear to see him continue to struggle, however she also did not want to give up on him. Berger sought out help from others – experts in 3D printing technology helped print a new leg for Ozzie to be able to walk again normally. Once Berger assembled the team to help, they developed a unique 3D design for Ozzie’s prosthesis. BunnyCorp who were responsible for the design of Ozzie’s leg, started the process by measuring Ozzie’s remaining leg in order to size up the dimensions properly in their computer program. Once the design of his leg was complete, they sent it to Hybrid Advanced Geometrics for 3D printing.

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Photo courtesy of 3dprint.com

 

Ozzie will require physical therapy, but has actually begun to walk using the prosthetic leg. The team is keeping an eye on his progress and this first version of the leg to see how Ozzie does before they actually go to CRPM to have his final, permanent nylon prosthetic leg 3D printed. The final 3D print is expected to be extremely durable and long-lasting for Ozzie, who should be out foraging in the green grass again soon.

Read more about Ozzie here

 

 

3. Minzi – Pomeranian

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Photo courtesy of @missyminzi

 

Minzi lost her leg as a puppy due to a medical malpractice incident, but never lost her positivity. After her owners spent two years searching for a prosthesis, they finally got her a new prosthetic leg. Their search was long due to her small size. Minzi was too small for most prosthetists to manage. Her new prosthesis fits perfectly and she is doing well with it.

Follow Minzi on Instagram @missyminzi

 

4. Mosha and Motola – Asian Elephants

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Photo courtesy of itv.com

Both, Mosha and Motola, two Asian elephants made headlines when became the first two elephants to be fitted with prosthetic legs. The elephants lost their limbs as calves when they stepped on landmines in Northern Thailand. Mosha was only seven months old at that time and weighed in at 600kg. As she grew, she was fitted with nine different prosthetic legs. She is now 2000kg.

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Photo courtesy of itv.com

 

Unfortunately, the border between Thailand and Myanmar is still dotted with landmines left over from clashes between ethnic-minority rebels and the Myanmar army dating back decades. Motola was injured by one of these landmine explosions while working for the logging trade in Northern Thailand. Being fitted with prosthetic legs saved both of these animals’ lives and Mosha and Motola are thriving!

Read more about Mosha and Motola here

 

5. Gamera – Tortoise

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Photo courtesy of newsfeed.com

Life for an amputee turtle isn’t easy. It’s tough enough crawling around with four stocky little legs and a cumbersome shell, let alone just two or three limbs. Leg injuries for these reptiles are surprisingly common, particularly in the wild. Fortunately, missing a leg or two isn’t always a death sentence for these creatures. Moreover, inventive vets and other caring people have come up with creative ways to make sure that turtles and tortoises get mobile again.

In April 2011 a tortoise by the name of Gamera was affected by an unexplained, yet serious leg injury. The African tortoise, who was 12 at the time, was taken to the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University (WSU). at WSU, it was decided that the reptile’s front left leg would have to be removed to keep him alive.

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Photo courtesy of itv.com

 

Thankfully, the vets at WSU didn’t give up on Gamera, and took an imaginative approach to getting the reptile back on his feet – well, the remaining three at least. The team fixed a swivel-style wheel to Gamera’s shell, allowing him to have mobility for the rest of what should promise to be a long life.

Officials have reported that Gamera is thriving with his new leg. He doesn’t even mind that he now vaguely resembles an office chair.

Read more about Gamera here

This February 20, reserve some extra love for these amazing pets on National Love Your Pet Day! ❤

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14 Things You’ll Understand If You’re Dating Someone With Leg Amputations!

Who wouldn’t want to date someone who is part robot? 😉

  1. People will be weirdly nosey.

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Photo courtesy of memegen.com

 

“Do they take it off for bed?” “What does it look like?” “Can they walk like a real person?” “Do they use it while being intimate?”

2. But you’ll have use that as an excuse to brag about your loved one!  

“I don’t know if you’ve heard, but she learned to walk again in a matter of months.” “His prosthetist say he’s the best walker in town.” “She’s a pretty big deal in the leg industry.”

3. And anyway, weird questions can be fun when your loved one has a great sense of humor.

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Photo courtesy of lovepanky.com

 

Little kid at the beach: How did you lose your leg?

Loved one: A shark ate it.

Little kid: *gulps*

Loved one: At this beach.

Little kid: *runs*

4. And spooning is far more comfortable. …because there’s so much extra space to wrap myself around.

5. But you have to be careful when play-fighting. 

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Photo courtesy of memegenerator.net

 

You know when you accidentally kick a lamp post? It’s like that, but a metal leg.

6. There will be some leg-related accidents. 

Recalling will go something like this from you: “Remember that time I tripped and all your legs came falling down on top of me?” “Yup, didn’t hurt at all,” she replies.

7. Your loved one will use any excuse to show off their physical capabilities. 

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Trust me, their balance is on point.

8. But they’ll also use it as an excuse to be waited on.

Loved one: Can you get me a cup of water please?

Me: You get it.

Loved one: *points to leg and shrugs*

Me: C’mon!

9. You’ll receive recommendations on every movie that includes a leg amputee.

My Dog Skip

The Fault in Our Stars

Stronger

Yep, seen them all!

10. You’ll discover new things, like leg art…

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Photo courtesy of R. Williams and Lila Mai Caldwell / Via thealternativelimbproject.com

 

I mean, come on. Insane.

11. Fancy Halloween costumes will step up to a whole new level.

You’ll have discussed and created an extensive list of characters that you can dress up as together, e.g. shark attack, a pirate, the Terminator.

12. You’ll start to hate things for your other half, like airport security…

You’ll roll your eyes as the metal detector goes off and your loved one has to endure yet ANOTHER full-body search.

13. ..and phantom pain.

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Photo courtesy of deviantart.com

 

It has nothing to do with a guy in a mask that sings at the Opera. Phantom pain is having an itchy foot that you can’t scratch, but it’s worse because that foot doesn’t exist anymore.

14. And at the end of the day, you both know having one leg, two legs or no is seriously awesome … especially together!

Happy Love Day! ❤

 

 

 

Do you know the differences between the Olympics, the Paralympics and the Special Olympics?

The Winter Olympic Games are coming up next week and I can’t wait to watch Ice Skating! It’s probably one of my favorite Winter Olympic Sports. What are your favorite games to watch?

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Photo courtesy of sportsfeatures.com

 

In honor of The Winter Olympics Games, let’s talk about the similarities and the differences between the Olympics, the Paralympics and the Special Olympics.

The Olympics and Paralympics are two of the biggest sporting events that occur around the world. Due to this, it can be often difficult telling them apart. Let’s start with highlighting the similarities between the two. Both the Olympics and the Paralympics take place every four years, in two segments: The Summer Olympics and the Winter Olympics; similarly the Summer Paralympics and the Winter Paralympics. Olympics and Paralympics take place in the same host city, but usually a few weeks apart.

The primary difference between the Olympics and Paralympics is that while most of the participants in the Olympics are able-bodied, the participants in the Paralympics are affected by some form of physical disability. The Paralympics originally started as a way to help soldiers that had been wounded in World War II. It was a way to provide a rehabilitating sport for veterans, which eventually turned into a recreational sport with friendly competition. Finally, it developed into what the Paralympics are today – an Olympic competition for people with disabilities. All the other differences are superficial. The Olympics are overseen by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), whereas the Paralympics are overseen by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).  There are also slight differences regarding the sports played within the games, as well as the country members that participate in the events. One of the biggest drawbacks in my opinion, are the hours of the TV programing for Paralympics Games. According to the teamusa.com, it is less than half the hours of TV programming for the Paralympics. Although, it will double since the coverage of Sochi 2014. We are on the right track.

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Photo courtesy of Joe Kusumoto Photography 

 

The Special Olympics, on the other hand, have quite a few differences from the other two. They are hosted by the Special Olympics organization, and are focused more on participants with intellectual disabilities. Their events take place at any time, all around the world. They aren’t limited to an every four-year competition. The Special Olympics consist of regional, national and international competitions, which in all add up to more than 108,000 events every year. The goal here is not competition like in the Olympics and Paralympics, but rather participation. The Special Olympics hopes to help differently-abled athletes through the focus and determination of sport. And hence, they also help to train them throughout the year in order to get them ready for their respective events.

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Photo courtesy of keloland.com

 

I am honored to know two of the Paralympic athletes: Oksana Masters, who competes in biathlon, skiing and formerly rowing, and Amy Purdy, who competes in snowboarding.

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Back in 2014 with Amy Purdy and Oksana Masters

 

Congratulations and good luck to everyone competing at the Winter Olympics and Paralympic games this year. Go Team USA and Go Team Belarus!

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Does fashion for amputees differ from mainstream fashion?

Fashion and style changes every day. Some things go away and some things come back around. And some things are truly just brand new. Remember choker necklaces? They’re back!!!!

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Photo Courtesy of lilyrose.blog

 

But… Does fashion for amputees differ from mainstream fashion? Not unless you want it to. Amputees can adapt any style out there currently or they can create their own style.

Are there clothes specifically designed for amputees? Absolutely!

As I was doing some research, I found a great company that actually does some great work with clothing that adapts to disability needs and makes dressing and fashion easier. As an amputee, pants are something I don’t care for, because it takes a while to put them on. However, BKQ Amputee Boutique will adapt clothes like pants and blouses based upon the person’s ability to dress themselves.

Photo Courtesy of bkqamputee.com

 

I think I found a new shopping website!!!

Looking good isn’t just about the clothes you wear but also about having the confidence. The main advice I can give to you about fashion is to have confidence in yourself. Confidence looks great on everyone. Whether you are wearing a skirt or a pair of shorts, be confident and show it off. You’ll be surprised how well people respond to confidence.

Here a few of my tips on how to dress for confidence.

Learn how to dress for your body. And I mean really learn. Know what denim style looks best on you; what fabric is most flattering. Experiment with skirt length to determine what is better for your figure or what elongates you best if you’re petite. Consider being measured for a proper bra size, so that you wear one that truly fits (we’ve all been there). Wearing one that isn’t the right size can affect the look and fit of your outer clothes.

Know what color looks good on you! The right colors can make your hair color radiant, your eyes pop, and your skin glow. The wrong colors can make you look sallow, washed out, or even tired.

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Embrace your favorite features. What are your favorite parts of your body? Do you love your long or prosthetic legs, your height, your curves? Find outfits that play up and flatter these features, and mask the features that you dislike. You want to show off what you want people to see, and mute what you don’t. For example, my thighs are two different widths due to my prosthesis, so finding pants that fit right is difficult. Skirts are easier for me to put on but they also take the focus off of my thigh issue. Win win!

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Finally, define your style.The most important secret for confidence is simply to be true to yourself and appreciate your uniqueness. This is the case for dressing as well. Instead of attempting to emulate what’s trendy or someone else’s style, know what you like and what is comfortable for you. Finding a signature style will help you make every outfit you wear personal, so that you feel confident showing the world (or your boss or friend) who you are.

Bottom line, your first concern when getting dressed should be to empower yourself. Impressing others is just a by-product. And if a company like, BKQ Amputee Boutique can improve your fashion by adapting your clothes to your needs, then that’s even better! 🙂 Be you and Be proud!

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