Dwarf 101 (#4): I often get asked about my clothes. More times than I can count, people have asked me whether there is a “dwarf clothing store,” or something to that effect. This is a funny, yet sincere, question. You see, with over 200 types of dwarfism out there, you can imagine that the “one size fits all” mentality of off-the-rack shopping just wouldn’t work. What fits a 2’5″ diastrophic dwarf is not going to fit 4’5″ achondroplastic dwarf. Not only is height varied, but limbs, and outright body mass. There are short-limbed forms of dwarfism (e.g., pseudoachondroplasia – me), short-trunk forms (e.g., spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia), proportionate dwarfism (e.g., diastrophic dysplasia).
I have a fairly normal torso with very short, thick arms and legs. As one surgeon told me, I have a heavy skeleton, and the tissue I would have had if I had been of average height. So, on a small, heavy skeleton, I’ve got a lot of tissue packed on around the joints, where they should have been longer. So, I cannot go shopping in the kids section of a store for pants. No way are these thighs going to fit in hipless girls/boys pants. However, a diastrophic dwarf can get away with it. So, no, there is no Dwarf Target around. As for myself, I LOVE capris. I shop for them at the end of summer (now!) to get good deals on them. If they are knee-length, chances are they just might fit. I also LOVE 3/4 length sweaters and shirts. One more thing: I can sew, thank goodness.
I don’t particularly enjoy it, though my mom (Sally Richter Allen) loves it and hemmed all my clothes growing up and made me some spectacular 80s/90s attire. It’s an extra challenge many of us face, as our bodies just aren’t “average.” I don’t know many people who do love trying on pants (especially jeans), but imagine trying to judge the fit when you’ve got 12″ of extra fabric to contend with. My inseam is 19″. True story. Also, I love it when I can find custom pants on Etsy. For the right price and quality, it’s wonderful!
Take a look on the internet. There are some online options, but not necessarily for fashionistas: options are limited, and somewhat spendy for a basic cut! There’s been progress with the rise of the Internet, don’t get me wrong, but just “running out” to buy a little something for that surprise job interview isn’t easy.