GUEST BLOG POST BY LYDIA WILKINS JOURNALIST AND AUTISM BLOGGER
We have been lucky enough to collaborate with an Autism blogger , Lydia is also a journalist and write for many publications, Lydia is also on the spectrum herself and has reviewed our products on a guest post below
“Lydia Wilkins is a freelance, NCTJ qualified journalist with bylines in The Independent, Readers Digest, The Metro, and more. She documents life on the Autistic spectrum at mademoisellewomen.com ; here she takes us through the problem of conventional clothing and sensory issues.”
The problem with conventional clothing for me
For as long as I can remember, I have dressed very differently from what is considered to be “normal”. (Because just what is that anyway?) While growing up, I preferred skirts or a dress, to the sometimes required trousers - and I still do. Oversized labels still make me twinge at the way they feel. Anything with sequins is a no-no, as well as other particular fabrics. I also go for particular sorts of socks - simply because of the way it feels on the instep. And my relatives noticed early on my perception to temperature was odd - with thick hoodies worn in summer, leggings in the snow.
Retrospectively, it should have been very obvious that I was on the Autistic spectrum. Along with these issues, there was a lot of other hallmarks - special interests, the tendency to “fact dump”, and not having many friends being some of them. I think, however, that the bias against women on the spectrum being diagnosed played a part in having to wait so long (!) For a label.
With the awareness comes greater awareness of sartorial choices. While I tend to avoid shopping - due to not being able to filter noise, a conversation for another day - I tend to be more aware of what clothing is appropriate for sensory needs. These days, I usually go for flat shoes - lace up trainers, anyone? - and looser clothing. Anything patterned too brightly is generally avoided, along with slogan ‘tees’ and anything without lining. But a band merchandise T-shirt? Sign me up! The baggier the better. For networking events - a requirement for my job as a freelance journalist - I tend to go for anything plain, loosely fitted. But the labels of conventional brands can sometimes still be a problem.
Added to this, I also nearly always have a sensory aide in my handbag. (Think along the lines of a Fidget Spinner…) However, I would love to see a brand incorporate the same kind of principle into their clothing. (Maybe making reversiblesequins more Autism friendly in clothing?)
This is why I support Born Anxious, and the aim of the brand. For someone like me, the material used is so soft and comfy; I also love the lack of clothing labels. (At last, at last!) The message of Autism acceptance is also something I am a huge supporter of - and I’m glad that we finally have a clothing brand that’s diverse and for people like me.
Lydia WilkinsT: @Journo_LydiaMademoisellewomen.comFreelance journalist / Autism Blogger / NCTJ qualified