Adaptive clothing refers to garments designed specifically for individuals who may have difficulty dressing themselves due to a variety of conditions, including physical disabilities, age-related limitations, or cognitive challenges. The main goal of adaptive clothing is to increase the wearer’s autonomy and comfort while making the dressing process less challenging for caregivers or the wearers themselves. Fueled by an increasing senior population and demand from hospitals, more adaptive clothing is available for purchase than ever before. In fact, it’s set to be an estimated $400 billion dollar market by 2026.
Fashion is a form of self-expression, and people with disabilities and older adults deserve to have clothing that is comfortable, accommodating, and reflective of their personal style. But if you have recently been diagnosed with a disabling condition or are beginning to care for a person with disabilities, you may not know where to look or what is available.
“When most people think about adaptive clothing, they think about garments in terms of function, but these consumers are human beings and their needs extend beyond that,” said Li Zhao, an assistant professor in the Department of Textile and Apparel Management at the University of Missouri-Columbia. “They want to be confident, and they also need professional garments that they can wear in the workplace.”
Here are some retailers who offer adaptive clothing.
IZ Adaptive: Founded by Canadian designer Izzy Camilleri, IZ Adaptive offers stylish clothing specifically for wheelchair users. Her patented “Seamless Back Pant” helps wheelchair users avoid painful pressure sores.
Zappos Adaptive: The online shoe store Zappos offers a selection of adaptive shoes, including single shoe sales for amputees or people with different shoe sizes because of a prosthetic. They also sell step-in shoes and shoes made to fit orthotics.
Nordstrom: Nordstrom also offers split-shoe or single-shoe service.
Kizik: Kizik is a brand that sells a wide variety of stylish step-in shoes, perfect for people who can’t bend over or lack the dexterity for shoelaces or Velcro strap shoes.
Tommy Hilfiger Adaptive: The ubiquitous American brand was one of the first major fashion designers to offer adaptive clothing with magnetic closures, soft fabrics, easier closures, and designs for prosthetics.
Buck & Buck: Established in 1978, Buck & Buck is one of the oldest adaptive clothing retailers. Their “shop by need” tool helps older people and caregivers quickly find clothing to address their needs. As a bonus, they are known for their exceptional customer service and product guarantees.
With these options, you are sure to find something that fits both the body and the style of a person with disabilities or an older loved one.