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I have a beautiful granddaughter who was born with Down syndrome. She has enough challenges to face in her life and I want to make sure that finding appropriately fitting clothes will not be one of them.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Why Downs Designs clothes are so different

After months of working with our models, here is our basic conclusion about the many differences in their body shapes that makes wearing clothes made for typical body shapes almost impossible for most people with Down syndrome.  The upper leg bone is much shorter in a person with Down syndrome (about 5-7 inches).  In pants, this makes where they taper in a completely different place.  In typical pants, the knee tapers below the knee of a person with Down syndrome so the fit is very inappropriate. This is why just hemming a pair of pants doesn’t make them fit well.  It creates a “stove pipe” look in the pant leg.  This also creates the big difference in the inseam length.  In just the people we worked with, we found the average inseam to be between 20” and 26”.   This is why just hemming a pair of pants doesn’t make them fit well at all.  Pants made by Downs Designs have been designed with these issues in mind.  We may not be able to fit every single person perfectly, but I think our pants will be the best fit they have ever had.  And by offering to hem each pair per order, the length should be a perfect fit. 
Regarding the shirts, there are many differences in them as well.  The upper arm bone is much shorter in a person with Down syndrome, so the taper at the elbow on typical clothes is not in the right place.  Shoulders are usually very small which also adds to the poor fit at the wrist.  Most long-sleeved shirts are way too long and need rolled at least 3 or 4 times.  Necks can be a little bigger around and we find that most do not like tight fitting collars.  Also, we find that as we scale up the size around the mid-section, we have to keep the shoulder size smaller. Creating these shirts around these particular issues is important for a proper fit and using a raglan sleeve solves the problems where the sleeves hang on the shoulders.    My goal is to make sure that rolling up long sleeve shirts will be a thing of the past.

I call our special sizing, “downsizing”.   The name of our styles and sizes has to be different from typical size clothes.  We must distinguish our pants and shirts sizes from typical ones?  The first jeans we designed we simply called them small men and large men for the style names and the sizes we use letters A,B,C,D, etc.  We did the same for the women.  The shirts we merely named them men’s and women’s and used S,M,L,XL,etc.   Later we had to change the name of the shirts because the men's shirts were actually for both men and woman but the women's shirts were only for the full-figured women.  We also changed the name of our jeans, too.  I decided to name them after our models.  It was one way to  show how much I appreciated all their help. 

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