“There has to be a way.”
Smart Adaptive Clothing founder Nancy Connor has repeated these words at critical breakthrough moments in life.
The first was just before March 6, 1980.
Nancy considers this day one of her “birthdays” as it’s the date she had the surgery that would correct a very serious spinal curvature. This surgery had been scheduled after the meeting in which her doctor said, “If you don’t have the surgery, this will be fatal.” The words rang in her ears—and though scary, she somehow knew that she would be fine. Her 12-year old ever-optimistic self-responded, “OK. Let’s go!”
After the surgery came a year-long recovery, complete with body casts and back braces—all during the already-challenging years of middle school! Yet Nancy, with the help of her devoted family, worked hard to recover and heal. And heal she did! Since that time, she’s learned to adapt activities to accommodate the steel rod that runs the full length of her spine—finding ways to do the things she is determined to do. All because…
“There has to be a way.”
Fast forward to 2005 when Nancy, now an adult, noticed changes in her dad. It started with little things that led to big things—and an eventual (and much-dreaded) Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Her father, “Bo,” broke his hip twice which required skilled nursing and rehab. Due to this set of conditions, Bo no longer wore his signature style of button-down shirts paired with pressed slacks—his “power uniform” he wore every day during his previous time in the business world.
Now, Bo was dressed daily in sweat pants and sweat shirts—mainly due to the convenience and ease of putting on and taking off this type of clothing. Dressing this way, though, affected how Bo felt. Plus, it was especially hard on Nancy, seeing her dad go through this on top of all the other changes that had been part of this unwelcomed and difficult process.
“There has to be a BETTER way,”
Nancy said. “What if there were clothing that looked great and was easy to put on and take off?”
That is the moment in which the idea for Smart Adaptive Clothing was born.
Nancy realized that how we DRESS directly impacts how we FEEL. Our confidence is directly linked to the way we perceive ourselves. When we look good, we feel and perform better.1
Though the clothing line was not developed in time for Bo to be able to benefit, there are so many other loved ones who can. Currently, one in five Americans adults live with some type of disability. Smart Adaptive Clothing was developed for all those with any kind of difference—be it physical or otherwise—that requires the easy fasten, effortless style this line provides. “Everyone deserves independence and dignity,” says Nancy. “And that’s what Smart Adaptive Clothing is all about.” Because it turns out, that when there is enough motivation, compassion and inspiration, there IS another way.
1 Inc. magazine: June 8, 2017 Research Shows That The Clothes Actually Change The Way you Perform, Scientific American: Jan 1, 2016 Dress for Success: How Clothes Influence Our Performance, MDPI March 2018: Exploring Clothing as a Barrier to Workplace Participation Faced by People Living with Disabilities, Disability and Rehabilitation January 2016: Apparel Related participation barriers: ability, adaptation and engagement, Applied Ergonomics 2017: Clothing-related barriers experienced by people with mobility disabilities and impairments.
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