Magnetic Closure Clothing – Everything You Need To Know

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®

Some adaptive clothing has closures that use magnets. And with magnets as a replacement for buttons, getting dressed can now be easier for people with disabilities or limited mobility. So keep on reading to find out everything you need to know about magnetic closure clothing.

Magnetic Closure Clothing

Some adaptive clothing has closures that use magnets. And with magnets as a replacement for buttons, getting dressed can now be easier for people with disabilities or limited mobility. So keep on reading to find out everything you need to know about magnetic closure clothing.

Income Disclosure: I recommend products based on my personal experience working with seniors.
I may earn a commission on items purchased from affiliate links in this guide. Learn More.

Many items of clothing have closures such as buttons or zippers that are hard to use for people with disabilities or special needs.

It is also difficult for caregivers and nurses that are helping patients with tasks such as dressing.

Adaptive clothing has reimagined closures in garments with very useful replacements like magnets or Velcro.

What Is Adaptive Clothing?

Adaptive apparel is clothing that is designed specifically to make it easier for people with certain types of special needs such as learning disabilities, spinal cord injuries, or physical disabilities to get dressed.

Many of these people find it impossible or very difficult to manipulate buttons or zippers, or they may have limitations when it comes to mobility which can make self-dressing difficult. 

One of the common misconceptions about “adaptive clothing” is that it only benefits people in wheelchairs or people with severe injuries. But any person that is limited by traditional clothing designs may benefit from adaptive clothing.

These garments can also be beneficial to caregivers or healthcare providers by making it easier to work with patients.

magnetic closure clothing easier get dressed
Magnets are used in various types of garments as a replacement for buttons.

How Do Magnetic Clothing Closures Make It Easier To Get Dressed?

Under Armour was among the first retailers to include magnetic zippers in some of their clothing. Their new design for jacket zips is known as the MagZip. It uses magnets that connect each side of the zip. This makes it easier to undo or pull the zip up using one hand. 

Magnets are also commonly used in pants, shirts, and other types of garments as a replacement for buttons. This enables people that don’t have the ability or dexterity to use a closure such as a button to help them to dress.

Clothing with magnetic closures is just one of several types of adaptive clothing that are helpful to people with difficulty dressing.

Where Can You Buy Clothing With Magnetic Closures?

Today there are many retailers and brands that sell adaptive clothing that features magnetic closures. Some of the popular brands include:

Amazon Adaptive Clothing

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. 

Zappos

Zappos offers much more than adaptive shoes. They offer many adaptive clothing items as well from many of the popular adaptive clothing brands. Plus, they have an Advisory Council that reviews and selects the items they choose to sell.

Dignity Pajamas

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.

Tommy Hilfiger Adaptive

Perhaps a surprising addition to the list is well-known fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger who has a line of adaptive clothing for both adults and children. His shop is a great choice for the more fashion-forward person.

Etsy

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.

JCPenney

JCPenney offers a decent selection of adaptive clothing made by standard clothing manufacturers like St. John’s Ba, a.n.a., and Worthington. Plus sizes are available too. 

You can also find adaptive clothing through brands dedicated specifically to the craft, including:

MagnaReady

MagnaReady specializes in clothes that rely on magnetic closure devices.

See my full list of adaptive clothing brands and retailers here.

How Can You Make Your Own Magnetic Closure Clothes?

You may be thinking that magnets don’t have much to do with clothes or fashion.

But, certain clothing items might use magnetic clasps or button magnets interchangeably or assist individuals with a disability or limited hand mobility when it comes to unfastening or fastening garments. 

If you are planning to include magnetic closures in a garment that you are making for a loved one who has a disability, make sure you choose a magnet type that won’t interfere with technology such as pacemakers or phones. 

To sew a magnetic clasp into clothing items, below are a few how-tos and tips to help you get started:

Supplies

  • Square or felt fabric cover
  • Disc magnets
  • The clothing item you plan to sew the magnet into
  • Scissors

Tips On How To Sew With Magnets

How to Install Magnetic Snaps and Invisible Magnetic Snaps

When sewing a magnet into clothes, you will need something to cover the magnet. The cover will protect the magnet, and it also makes it possible to sew into the garment.

You can either choose a sewing magnet design that includes the cover or use a piece of square fabric to sew the magnet into the cover. For added security, you can also use fusible interfacing. 

Once you have made the cover for the magnet, you can now sew it into the garment. If you plan to use the magnet inside a pocket, first make a slit under the flap of the pocket so that you have enough room to insert the magnet and secure it into place.

On the opposite side, where the closure will fasten, you will need to sew in a second magnet. Make sure that the magnets are placed correctly so that they pull together when they are close together.

Buttons are slightly trickier since there is typically more than one to work with. However, the steps that were mentioned above will work just as well with buttons.

When it comes to buttons, it is advisable to either use thicker fabric or smaller magnets. This will also depend on the placements of the buttons. 

These are just the general steps or tips you can use when it comes to sewing one or more magnets into an item of clothing. Some projects might be more specific.

When this is the case, do a bit of research to make sure you know what you are doing. 

magnetic closure clothing adapt
Have a tailor modify your clothing items with magnetic closures.

How Can You Adapt Existing Clothing With Magnetic Closures?

Garment closures are the most challenging things for individuals with disabilities or limited mobility to work with, especially for those that have problems with hand dexterity.

Buttons seem to be the hardest to deal with, followed by a zipper with a small pull. 

There are a few devices that people use to make these closure types easier to handle, such as elongated zipper pulls or button hooks.

However, for people with debilitating disabilities such as ALS, arthritis, or a stroke, it is often better for these individuals to change the closure to something easier like a Velcro closure or a magnetic closure.

This can also mean that they won’t need special devices to help them to fix a garment or get dressed. 

It is easy to replace buttons and zippers for magnetic closures. The best option is to take a garment to a tailor to have clothing items modified. Magnetic closures for clothing blend in relatively well and generally look like traditional shirts or dresses.

In fact, no one would know what type of closure the garment has unless you decide to tell them. 

If your fingers are no longer working the way they used to, this shouldn’t turn into a problem. Magnets can be placed and inserted easily into your clothes. They also easily snap into place without having to force your fingers or hands into a hurtful position.

Where Can You Buy Magnetic Closures To Make Or Alter Clothing?

You can purchase magnetic closures for clothing at just about any local sewing or fabric store. Or you can order them online. Amazon sells kits of varying designs and sizes as well. 

Conclusion

While most people are under the impression that getting dressed is a relatively simple task, understanding the problems that older people face when they start getting older is essential when choosing clothing that is appropriate for them.

From a technical and aesthetic viewpoint, families and caregivers should focus on finding garments that will help boost confidence and maximize comfort.

Photo of author

Scott Grant, CSA®, ATP, CRTS®

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional
Certified Rehab Technology Supplier (CRTS®)

I have been serving seniors and the elderly for over 20 years as a medical equipment and custom wheelchair specialist for a regional medical equipment company. I am also a lucky dad to four awesome daughters and grandfather to three pretty terrific grandkids. When not helping older adult improve the quality of their lives, I enjoy early morning runs and occasional kayak trips. I am also a self-admitted nerd who loves anything from the 1980's. Learn More

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