A few days ago, one of my friends asked me to help them pick out a t-shirt at the college bookstore. They wanted to be able to feel the design on top of the shirt, and for the shirt to have a soft feeling to it. We were able to find lots of options for them and ended up choosing two different colored shirts for them to wear. Today, I will be sharing how people with vision impairment can buy school spiritwear that feels comfortable and looks great.
What is school spiritwear?
School spiritwear is apparel that features a school or team name or other design. In college, I see students wearing spiritwear for our college on campus every day, as well as for campus events such as games. Examples of spiritwear include t-shirts, tank tops, hoodies, jackets, sweatpants, and hats. I own six t-shirts, four hoodies of various weights, and one hat, all of which I wear to different campus events and with my band uniform.
School spiritwear often comes in three different sizing types- men’s sizing, women’s sizing, and unisex sizing. Since I can’t read tags very well, I do one of these three things:
- I feel the armholes of the shirt or hoodie with my hands and see if they are big enough to fit my arm through
- I use an app like Seeing AI to read what the tag says- read more about Seeing AI here.
- I ask an employee to confirm what size an item is before purchasing it
Look for raised lettering
When walking around my college bookstore, I found that about half of the items featured raised lettering in several forms. The most common examples include screen printed graphics, embroidery, felted letters, and sewn on letters. I found that these techniques are most common on cotton/polyester blend fabrics and are comfortable for everyday wear.
Pay attention to font choices and styles
While most school spiritwear features simple but distinct fonts, there are several other pieces that can have cursive or script, brush effects, or other embellishments. Personally, I prefer to have the more classic fonts that are easy to read, so make sure to check what the font is and what it says before purchasing. Read more about print disability friendly fonts here.
Choose interesting/unique textures
People with vision impairments tend to have an increased sensitivity to texture, so choosing items with unique fabrics can be a great way to stand out. Examples of unique fabrics include:
- Sherpa, a fluffy fleece material
- Hacci, which is thin and has a weathered look to it
- Waffle knit, which is textured like a waffle or honeycomb
- Sport/athletic fabric, which is smooth and lightweight
- Woolly crew, which feels like a soft washcloth
Have items that can be worn throughout the year
Unless it’s part of a uniform, I recommend not buying items such as heavy jackets or tank tops since they can only be worn seasonally and may not be permitted at certain events. Instead, buy shirts that can be worn at school spirit events, hoodies that can be thrown over anything, and similar versatile pieces. I have spiritwear in a few different styles to accommodate for sporting events, pep band performances, casual events, and everything in between.
When in doubt, choose school colors
Spiritwear can come in many different colors that go beyond the traditional school colors. Neutral colors, pastels, and even bright neons are featured on several different designs, however these are less versatile because many of the events I attend require spiritwear to be one of the two school colors. I have found that my school’s green color looks best on me and looks best on camera, so that’s usually the color I choose to wear.
There are really no rules when it comes to fashion, so wear whatever spiritwear makes you feel the most confident and happy. I hope this guide helps you make an informed choice when buying your new favorite school spiritwear.