Statistics from the CDC indicate that 61 million people that are living in America have disabilities that affect primary life activities.
Mobility, one of the more common disability types, currently affects 1 in 7 adults. With age, disabilities tend to become even more common and affect around 2 in 5 adults from the age of 65 or older.
One of the most common challenges that most seniors face is a simple task such as dressing or undressing. This can be caused by a chronic condition, physical disabilities, or/and other common restrictions that are associated with individuals with disabilities or age.
Adaptive clothing often makes life a lot easier, whether it comes to caregiver-assisted dressing or self-dressing.
What Is Adaptive Clothing?
Adaptive clothing is a form of clothing that is created specifically for individuals with disabilities or mobility issues. This includes physical disabilities or invisible disabilities like chronic illnesses. In general, “adaptive clothing” is made for people that have an issue dressing.
These difficulties in dressing often present themselves in an individual having issues with closures (zippers, hooks, eyes, or buttons) due to issues with “over-the-head” shirts, blouses, and dresses caused by restricted shoulder mobility or restricted hand dexterity.
Or finding it hard to wear items such as pants due to uncomfortable rivet or seam placements for users of wheelchairs.
There are many more specific and nuanced examples, but it is best to consider that the term “adaptive clothing” doesn’t only refer to only one body function type or disability type but it is rather a standardized term that indicates clothing items that are made for individuals that don’t match the general conventions relating to the clothing sector.
25 Adaptive Clothing Brands And Retailers
It may still be a while before the fashion world becomes fully inclusive and to start noticing a lot more designers producing adaptive clothing.
Yet, there are a few fantastic stores and online retailers that are in the business of creating as well as stocking fashional adaptive clothing right now.
Here is a list of the top retailers and brands for seniors and people with disabilities.
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Ovidis is a specialty manufacturer of clothing for people with physical or cognitive difficulties. They offer unique and innovative designs for easy and stress-free dressing by older adults, the disabled, or their caregivers.
They manufacture adaptive clothing for men and for women that can be used to make dressing easier for people with a wide variety of challenges and disabilities. Many of their designs can be used by caregivers to easily dress the elderly or disabled who need complete assistance dressing.
Ovidis’ clothing ranges from simple solids to bold floral patterns to meet the preferences of people who like to stand out or prefer a more subtle style.
Dignity Pajamas has created a nice niche in adaptive sleepwear for men and women. They offer many styles of sleep shirts, pajamas, and gowns with open backs and velcro closures.
This is a wonderful place to shop for seniors and disabled who spend a lot of time in bed or for people who are bedbound and dressed completely by their caregivers.
For many years, the industry of fashion has left individuals with special needs or disabilities behind. The clothing options were once drab, shapeless, and close to hospital apparel.
Tommy Hilfiger was among the first designer labels to start producing fashionable clothing items for individuals with disabilities or special needs.
The Tommy Adaptive Straight Fit Jean was the first that featured an adjustable hem that can raise to 4 inches in order to accommodate people donning a prosthetic limb or people in wheelchairs.
Zappos uses an “advisory council” that manages the offerings on the marketplace for adaptive-clothing ranges and selects the best-seated wear, intimates, sensory-friendly, shoes, and more.
This massive online store stocks a range of adaptive clothing dedicated to men, women, and kids. The store offers functional and fashionable clothing from several adaptive-clothing brands.
They sell certain adaptive options and styles individually, which means if you need a different shoe size due to orthotics or perhaps you are only needing a single shoe, Zappos can accommodate your needs.
Being one of the world’s largest retailers, Amazon offers a wide selection of adaptive clothing from many of the most popular manufacturers. Another benefit to purchasing from Amazon is their easy to navigate website and generous return policies.
Etsy is a great place to find one-of-a-kind adaptive clothing pieces that aren’t mass-marketed. Some Etsy sellers even offer custom-made items for special situations or will make special sizes for larger or smaller people.
Silverts offers a stylish and professional range of “adaptive clothing” that remains on par with the innovative look of this brand. The standard sewn-on buttons have been replaced by hidden magnetic clasps behind a placket for simple on-and-off.
The adaptive clothing range is for people that require pain-free and struggle-free dressing options that come in several styles with Velcro closures and magnets.
Above all, the adaptive clothing range from Silverts includes various options for children, women, men, and seniors alike.
Founded in 1902, JCPenney sticks to the same simple rule “to treat others as we would like to be treated.” As one of the prominent apparel, beauty merchandise, and home retailers in the U.S., JCPenney boasts a portfolio of premium quality and superior value brands.
Most of the JCBrands such as Stafford, Worthington, Okie Dokie, and Liz Claiborne are pretty well-known, and most customers are not even aware that these are exclusive to JCPenney!
9. Slick Chicks
Slick Chicks is one of the personal-care ranges of underwear for women designed by American Eagle, when the company started to expand its offerings (in early 2020), to include items for individuals with disabilities.
This brand is innovative and stylish. Slick Chick offers a patented “hook and eye” fastener for underwear that is easy to either take off or on, whether laying down, standing, or sitting.
Slick Chicks feature side fasteners making it easier access for those that spend most of their time in a seated position in a wheelchair or for people that are relying on another person such as a caregiver for assistance.
Reboundwear is a brand that specializes in clothing designs dedicated to post-operative care. The adaptive clothing range allows for easy dressing even for those that are experiencing post-surgery pain and discomfort.
At its core, it is an activewear and athleisure brand using super-soft fabrics that are simple to either take off or on with accessible pockets and convenient zipper placement.
Whether you prefer super-functional leggings, non-skid ankle socks, a hoodie, or short-sleeve tops, Reboundwear combines both quality and style.
MagnaReady produces dress and casual clothes that come with convenient magnetic closures that are stylish and easy to wear. Some of the main features of these adaptive clothing items include interior elastic waistbands and magnetic closures.
12. Buck & Buck
The adaptive garments from Buck & Buck have been designed specifically for caretakers and users, with comfy styles and bright prints.
Buck & Buck sells both adaptive footwear and adaptive clothing for men and women in care facilities and at home. The website lets customers choose according to their needs, based on their motor skills, or when directed by a healthcare professional.
The slogan of the brand is “we make dressing easier,” and many customers and reviewers agree that these garments match up to their requirements, and they enjoy the responsive customer services of this brand.
The majority of the clothing items are made in the U.S. This brand also offers free hemming, free labeling, and custom alterations.
13. IZ Adaptive
IZ Adaptive is a fantastic source of men’s, unisex, and women’s adaptive apparel with one-handed zippers, arm warmers, and flattened seams.
The brand founder, Izzy Camilleri, creates highly-popular items such as trendy and high-fashion coats, bottoms, and tops for standing and seated frames.
IZ Adaptive also uses input when it comes to what they design from people that have disabilities and ask them to be models for their campaigns, which have included The Perfect Fit.
14. Seven7 Adaptive
Seven7’s Able range is made up of casual wear and adaptive denim that makes dressing faster and easier for individuals with disabilities, in hospice care, or outside of nursing homes.
Stylish pants are one of those challenging items of clothing to source for a person with a mobility-related disability.
Made with fewer seams and lower pockets so that they don’t bunch up when a person remains seated, Seven7 adaptive pants feature colors and formless shapes that will match up to any taste.
The women’s styles include:
- Pull-on seated pants that come with zippers
- Adaptive tummy-less seated jeans
- Slim ankle high-risk jeans made for women
Options for men include seated medical-care jeans and jogger jeans in several styles that come with trendy cargo pockets.
15. Aerie Adaptive
Aerie’s Adaptive Clothing range is affordable and stylish, matching up to various adaptive needs, which stem from a realization that continues to grow that there happen to be several body-specific apparel needs.
Six years back, Aerie made a commitment to stop airbrushing any of its models.
From then on, this retailer has worked on making sure it uses models that show different races, body types, skin imperfections, wheelchair-bound models, and models with chronic illnesses that use arm crutches and ostomies.
But, Aerie has now taken it one step further and now offers adaptive accessories and clothing that support just about every type of medical device.
16. NBZ Apparel
This is another adaptive clothing brand that creates zipper-free, no-button jeans, dresses, and casual pants for women, kids, and men who are needing clothes that are both easy to put on and take off.
- No buttons
- No zippers
- Stretch fabric
- Elastic bands
Many people that suffer from disabilities know the struggle of trying to tie, button, snap, or zip apparel.
Kohl’s Adaptive Clothing range includes some of the best innovations accompanied by assistive technology that allows disabled people or those with special needs to also enjoy the latest fashion trends and styles.
18. Koolway Sports
Koolway Sports offers an adaptive clothing range ideal for disabled individuals that enjoy spending time outdoors.
Their range includes water and wind-resistant leggings, custom-made jackets, and water-resistant nonambulatory boots (that keep the feet protected and warm while exposed to the elements).
99% of the product range is custom made. They use virtual meetings to help with fittings and to answer questions that may arise during the process of ordering.
While the brand is aimed at younger customers, Koolway also offers several outwear choices for the senior and adult disabled population.
The reviews online prove that this is a fantastic company that shows heart when it comes to helping people that love to spend their time outdoors.
Koolway Sports also has a funding and grant section that can alleviate some of the costs relating to their garments. The virtual -zoom meetings help significantly with fittings.
Nike is among the first athleisure businesses to produce lace-free shoes as part of a cultural movement due to their HyperAdapt range and innovative and unique sneaker boots.
In addition to the HyperAdapt range (dedicated to streetwear), Nike also sells a FlyEase range of medical wear and athletic shoes for men, women, and kids.
FlyEase shoes include prominent features such as easy close and accessible open, adjustability for several foot sizes and shapes, and step-in the heel.
The FlyEase, lace-free closure system includes a wraparound zipper that comes with a convenient hook-and-loop strap that provides a secured fit with a single motion.
Custom Adaptive Clothing by the Cover Up Shop sports a slogan stating, “Adaptive Clothing That Doesn’t Look Like Adaptive Clothing.” This brand offers an innovative alternative to conventional clothing items for people with impaired mobility or limited dexterity.
Their range of products has the potential to make a dramatic difference for people that would like to remain independent, comfortable, active, and fashionable. They specialize in clothing items for ALS, Parkinson’s, stroke, and multiple sclerosis.
The brand provides three options:
- You can ship clothing items to the company so that they can adapt and adjust the clothing to your needs using modifications or Velcro closures.
- You can also shop at the store to buy your adaptive clothing. The current selection of women’s and men’s adaptive clothing items are relatively limited, but they do offer functional and attractive waterproof bibs. They also carry ostomy-adapted clothing.
- Custom-made clothes. If you cannot find something that you need, email customer services, and a customer representative will work directly with you.
Custom Adaptive Clothing has an unmatched return policy. If for any reason you feel unsatisfied, you are allowed to return the item with no questions asked, provided the clothing item has not been altered.
Care+Wear is a company specializing in creative solutions for people that require clothing that is clinically accessible for treatments such as chest access. Some of the main features relating to these items include breathable, anti-microbial, stretchy, and sensory-friendly.
Able2Wear specializes in wheelchair-adaptive clothing. From fleeces to waterproof jackets to wheelchair drop-front trousers designed specifically for users of wheelchairs and elasticated-waist trousers for individuals that can walk and stand but find it hard to manage fastenings and zips.
This brand provides excellent selections of waterproof adaptive outwear, from jackets to ponchos. Their measuring and sizing guide is helpful in choosing what sizes you should be ordering. They also provide tailor-made items, wheelchair gloves, and edema socks.
Professional Fit is a brand that specializes in behavior-issue clothing items for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Their range of clothing items features waterproof outdoor polyester that discourages pica behavior (this is when a person tears, eats, or is really hard on their bedding or clothing).
They also provide jumpsuits that come with Velcro fasteners and rear closures, rain capes, and bibs.
Unhidden is a brand started by a garment technologist by the name of Victoria Jenkins, who made the decision to launch a size-inclusive and sustainable adaptive brand after she spent time in a hospital and noticed first-hand the struggles that people with disabilities have to deal with when it comes to the clothes that they wear.
The brand includes apparel for people with dexterity problems, wheelchair users, and many other issues. You can find out what this brand has to offer by visiting unhiddenclothing.com.
The clothing style relating to Yarrow is minimal by nature and made for individuals that have an interest in creating a customized adaptive clothing “capsule wardrobe.”
The graceful draping linked to this brand is ideal for layering, making it perfect for just about every body type. The patented magnetic technology of this brand is easy-to-use and durable for everyday use.
Who Can Benefit From Adaptive Clothing?
Wheelchair users, individuals with limiting physical disabilities, seniors with limited mobility, people with different mental disabilities, or any person that finds it difficult to get dressed or undressed without assistance.
Why Do People With Disabilities Need Special Clothing?
Adaptive clothing often makes it easier to get dressed, promotes independence, and improves comfort for people with limited mobility or with disabilities.
For example, if a person is experiencing incontinence, adaptive clothing is easy to remove discreetly, easily, and quickly.
How Does Adaptive Clothing Help The Elderly, Seniors, Or People With Disabilities?
For individuals with physical limitations and older adults, the advantages of adaptive clothes can be significant.
Health conditions such as dementia or Parkinson’s disease or even painful joints can cause a simple task such as getting undressed and dressed to become an extremely frustrating and emotional experience.
Adaptive clothing often solves these issues by removing very common obstacles such as laces, buttons, zips, and closures, which can make these processes a lot easier.
For many older adults or seniors, this could mean no longer having to rely on the assistance of a family member or caregiver to get these tasks done, which can be dramatically empowering. It can also help to support senior independence.
For older adults or seniors that may still require some level of assistance, certain adaptive clothing types can make it easier on a caregiver by making sure the task of helping a patient to get dressed is a more simplified and a lot less time-consuming process.
Finally, many of the adaptive clothing items made for seniors or people with disabilities provide comfort and a more secure feeling to the wearer.