Lingerie Made with Accessibility in Mind: Slick Chicks Adaptive Underwear Review
Pansy St. Battie is a model, burlesque performer, and long-time lover of lingerie. They're a wheelchair user and that informs their relationship with lingerie. Outside of fashion, performing and writing, they spend their time with their pets and studying veterinary medicine. Follow them on Instagram @pansystbattie.
Disclosure: This product was purchased for review by The Lingerie Addict. All opinions are the writer's own.
In the clothing world, accessible fashion is blooming. Major brands like Target, Tommy Hilfiger, and Nike have all hopped on board to make aesthetically pleasing, and functionally adaptive, clothing for disabled customers.
However, when it comes to undergarments, the conversation around accessibility is still limited to the fringes. The frontrunners of the industry - likely because there are only a few of them - have yet to focus on disabled customers. It doesn’t help that both lingerie and disability are still considered taboo topics, combining to make the perfect storm of “we don’t talk about this." So when I learned about Slick Chicks panties created for people with mobility limitations, I was thrilled to try them.
Slick Chicks' site and packaging both feature photos and art of disabled people in lingerie front and center. There are illustrations and gifs showing how the panties are put on and taken off. Surprisingly, the only place on the entire site where you can clearly see the type of fastener is the gif, with all site text simply reading “side fasteners."
This lack of information could be a problem for those with vision impairments that rely on plain text or devices that can't load gifs Truthfully, even with neither of those issues, I just didn’t notice the gif when I ordered, so I had no idea what type of fastener to expect either.
I got the brief and hipster styles, and learned, when they arrived, that both pairs used hook and eye closures. The $26 brief feature two hooks and eyes on each side, while the $28 hipster has four. There was a learning curve to putting them on, and I imagine, for someone with lower dexterity, they could be a bit of a nightmare. Luckily, I can use hook and eye closures with relative ease, and after a few tries, both putting them on and taking them off were second nature.
Though in the package the closures looked bulky, I was surprised when I put them on to find they were incredibly comfortable. I couldn’t feel the fasteners at all, and they didn’t show through any of my clothing. The fabric was soft, stretchy cotton. I don’t struggle with many sensory issues in regards to clothing, but I didn’t have any issues with digging, pressure, or scratchiness which are the few that tend to aggravate me. The fact that the labeling is printed, rather than on a tag, definitely made a noticeable difference in comfort.
While I generally prefer a bit more lace and color than their selection provided, they’re both wearable, simple panties I’ve come to reach for regularly. On top of that, they solved a few problems that I, as a wheelchair-using lingerie-lover, hoped they would.
The biggest issue I deal with almost every day is putting my panties back on after going to the bathroom. I’ve asked dozens of wheelchair users how they do it in hopes of learning a good method, and not a single person I know has found one they like.
I usually take a knee on the floor and pull them back up quickly before I lose my balance or it gets painful. But in public bathrooms where the floor is simply not suitable for my bare knees, I have to add yet another layer of risk by balancing on the footrest of my chair. Suffice to say, I dread it.
Since these panties fully unfasten on the sides and then are put on by refastening, I’ve taken to wearing them every time I expect to use a public bathroom. I simply lay them flat on my wheelchair and transfer onto it so I’m sitting on them. Then I can pull the sides around and re-fasten them.
Another issue I deal with while wearing panties, I strongly prefer to wear them under my garter belt. This is for both aesthetics and the fact that I often take off my garter belt the second I enter the threshold of my apartment. However, with most panties, this makes using the bathroom difficult as well. Since these come off at the sides, rather than down, these panties can be removed and put back on under garter belts with minimal effort.
I’m also excited at the prospect of dolling these panties up for the stage. I love when burlesque performers shed more modest panties for tiny thongs, but have avoided it in my routines since, being seated, gravity isn’t on my side. I have yet to try it, but the move of pulling these out from under me would be equally sexy, I reckon. Even for a fully ambulatory performer, these would certainly allow newfound ease of removal.
Overall, the panties were great for me and solved a few of my major problems. However, I also hope they continue to grow to include more options in terms of fasteners, for those who don’t have finger dexterity, and update the site to include clear plain text. On a more personal level, I look forward to them being able to create more sexy and fun styles in the future, and I truly hope they’re given the support and budget to do so.