After we had all had a chuckle, we established that the actual question she was asking was “Did you choose your clothes or does your wife choose them for you?” She wanted to know how I, or blind people, choose their clothes because she thought this must be difficult if you can’t see.
It is actually a really sensible and good question and my answer was something like:
“It is relatively easy for a man to choose what to wear (or me anyway). I tend to wear jeans (blue and black) and then either a polo shirt or a smart casual shirt but pretty much I can put any top with any jeans and it’ll be fine. My VIDA training shirt has an embroidered VIDA Training logo so this makes it easy to identify but I keep my training clothes together in a particular part of my wardrobe so I know where it is when I need it”.
However, for women it is likely to be harder due to the array of clothes (basing this fact on my wife’s wardrobe) and the importance of matching colours, styles, etc. Ultimately most vision impaired people will have a very organised wardrobe and be fully aware of what they have in it, what colours the items are and what they go with.
I do get help with pairing my socks after they’ve been washed as I like to wear stripy socks or socks with coloured toes or soles but if I didn’t have help to do this then I would use pegs to pair them when I take them off so that they come out of the washing machine together. I don’t feel it appropriate to talk about my pants… surely that’s taking it too far! :-)
In years gone by people used to sew different shaped and sized buttons in to their clothes so that they could then identify what an items colour was and what it went with by the shape or size of the buttons. Obviously you had to remember the relationship of each shape and size button but for some people this really worked and some still use this method today.
A few years ago RNIB released a gadget called the Pen Friend. This is a scanning gadget that is used for many purposes including food items, DVDs/CDs, important letters and much more. It is also a great gadget for identifying clothes. It works by reading labels that have a unique bar code that You scan and record a description to and when you re-scan the label it reads out the description. You can get labels that are washable, freezeable, stickable and some that attach with a tie making this a great gadget for so many things.
I guess nowadays there are also new apps coming out all the time that will be able to help. The Be My Eyes app could be used to get support with identifying clothes as could the Aira service that is soon to be released in the UK; you would just need to be careful when using one of these video call apps that you had at least your underwear on!! :-)
We’re always interested to know about other people’s experiences and thoughts. Please share these by commenting…
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