Em-bracing Fashion with Lainie Ishbia
Tell us about yourself.
I’m a 47-year-old mom, wife, blogger, social worker, empowerment speaker/educator and fashionista. Besides hanging with my family, I love entertaining, traveling, attending my monthly book group (more for the wine than the books) and thrift store shopping.
Why did you start Trend-ABLE?
I inherited CMT from my mom and, unfortunately, my daughter Zoe, inherited CMT from me. In my professional life as a therapist and girl-empowerment-speaker, I focused on helping teenage girls and women with their self-esteem related issues. There is a definite connection between self-confidence and taking pride in one’s appearance. When people felt positive about what they were wearing and how they looked, they also felt better about themselves on the inside where it matters the most.
As a teenager, I had a very poor self-image. I felt fat and ugly and hid my body inside of baggy clothing. Having Charcot- Marie-Tooth, which challenged my mobility, gave me an excuse to get out of gym class and ultimately not challenge myself physically. I let my disability limit me and did not take pride in how I looked because I thought it was hopeless. This led to depression and ultimately a cry for help at age 16.
I eventually figured it all out and grew up. I stopped letting my disability be an excuse for not exercising and began taking care of myself. I ate better, lost weight, started weight training, learned how to apply makeup and began dressing in clothing that made me feel good and highlighted the parts of my body I didn’t mind. Even though my physical problems were slowly getting worse, I was more confident than ever.
Having a physical disability that isn’t obvious to others definitely has its own set of challenges. I don’t wear my leg braces on the outside of my clothing or focus on the fact that my hands don’t work so well. I just live my life but it’s often a struggle both internally and with things like finding cute shoes that fit or putting on necklaces. Since my disability isn’t obvious, I sometimes get self-conscious having to balance at parties and feeling confident. Dating was an issue for me after my divorce.
I saw a ton of support groups for my disease but none of them were focused on the issues I really cared about and there wasn’t a group focusing specifically on women with invisible physical disabilities. Trend-ABLE is a place for Perfectly Imperfect Women who want to look and feel their best.
How has launching the website changed your life in a short period of time?
I launched my Trend-ABLE website less than two weeks ago, and at this point over 2000 people have visited the site. Both the Facebook and Instagram pages now have followers from all over the world. I get emails from people and organizations daily with either awesome feedback and/or questions. It feels amazing to have created something that was clearly needed.
What are your future goals for Trend-ABLE?
Right now, I am focused on growing the Perfectly Imperfect community. As Trend-ABLE grows, so will my understanding of my tribe’s wants and unmet needs. So, stay tuned.
What is your top fashion tip for individuals with CMT?
Be creative and don’t give up. Sometimes what seems impossible just needs to be modified. For example, a simple thing like sewing up the buttons on a stretchy shirt and making it a pullover or putting magnetic closures on your favorite jewelry. We call these “Trend-ABLE TWEAKS” on the website.
What do you want readers to take away from your blog?
I want readers to feel like their time was well spent. I want them to feel like, “She gets it” and “I’m going to use that tip/idea”. We have too many social media time-wasters that leave us feeling bad about ourselves. I want Trend-ABLE to empower women with invisible physical disabilities and challenges.