People with disabilities have long endured the struggle to zip, button, tie and snap apparel just so they can start the day, and clothing designers have finally noticed as more clothiers than ever offer adaptive clothing. Perhaps one of the finest innovations in assistive technology, adaptive clothing enables disabled people to sport the latest fashions and empowers individuals to tend to special needs with dignity. Here, we offer an overview of what adaptive clothing means and list 43 places to buy adaptive clothing for disabled people.
What is adaptive clothing?
Adaptive clothing is apparel specially designed to help those who experience difficulty dressing. Designers create adaptive clothing for a wide range of people and needs: men, women, children, seniors and people with disabilities, including wheelchair users and those with autism. Adaptive clothing makes it easier to get dressed, and it can make it easier to care for special needs.
With adaptive clothing, people with disabilities can enjoy greater independence and avoid the pain that’s sometimes associated with putting on traditional clothes. And, with more designers hopping aboard the adaptive clothing train, adaptive clothing can help wearers achieve a stylish look that lends a greater sense of confidence.
Adaptive clothing examples
Adaptive clothing is designed with unique user needs and conveniences in mind. Here are some examples of adaptive clothing:
- Pants, shirts and dresses that open at the back or side and feature magnetic closures (often, “traditional” buttons are sewn in the front to maintain a fashionably inclusive look)
- Shoes that open far enough for wearers to step into them (so they do not need to force them on) and feature Velcro closures
- Pants that are cut higher in the back and lower in the front for sitting comfortably – ideal for wheelchair users – or constructed from rivet-less stretch fabric with elastic waistbands, front pockets, wide legs and extra loops or straps. Some styles also facilitate restroom use
- Shirts and pajamas that feature access for medical equipment, such as G-tubes and oxygen lines
- Reversible clothing: frontward to backward, inside and out
- Sensory-friendly clothing: soft fabrics, tagless, compression and flat seams
- Orthotic-ready shoes
- One-piece outfits
- Pica clothing
Where to buy adaptive clothing
The following retailers sell adaptive clothing for a variety of needs, from adaptive pants and footwear to shirts and adaptive clothing for wheelchair users.
Target sells adaptive clothing for kids, women, and men. A store employee who is a mother of a child with disabilities approached her bosses with the idea of designing and selling adaptive clothing. New items are being added, including adaptive Halloween costumes in 2019. Target also introduced a Pillowfort line of adaptive home products.
Kohl’s sells adaptive clothing for kids for babies through juniors and young men. The clothing is available in three of its private-label brands: Jumping Beans, SO and Urban Pipeline. Kohl’s put together a team of employees who have loved ones with disabilities to ensure clothing meets challenges and needs of both kids and caregivers.
Tommy Hilfiger has a Tommy Adaptive line of clothing for kids, women, and men. Outstanding members of the disability community are involved in promoting the collection, including Jeremiah Josey, an autistic chef, and Paralympic gold medalist Jeremy Campbell.
Zappos has adaptive clothing for kids, women and men and features fashionable and functional clothing from a variety of brands. It includes shoes, seated wear, medical wear, intimates, sensory friendly, and more. Zappos has assembled an advisory council for their adaptive clothing line that help guide selections. The company also offers an Adaptive Clothing Coloring Book.
FFORA stands for Fashion for All. They design fashionable wheelchair accessories including bags and cupholders and also carry purses and hats. Founder Lucy Jones was inspired by a cousin with disabilities to look at disability needs first when designing products. Wheelchair users are involved in advising, designing, promoting and all other aspects of the creation process.
Intimately.co sells ladies lingerie. Founder Emma Butler was inspired by her mother’s struggle to find fashionable and functional undergarments. Currently intimately.co features creations by several designers and they are also working on developing their own line. The site has a blog with stories about dating, fashion, and confidence.
7. ABL Denim
ABL Denim sells jeans for kids, women, and men through Zappos Adaptive. Jeans features include: sliding trouser hooks, alternative seaming, mock seams, zippers with pulls and strategically placed pockets. Founder Stephanie Alves was inspired by siblings with developmental and mobility disabilities.
Silvert’s sells adaptive tops, pants, sleepwear, undergarments and footwear for women and men. They carry clothing for self-dressing and assisted dressing. The online site allows customers to shop for specific disabilities. This site also sells to nursing homes and has a blog for caregivers.
Etsy is a marketplace for unique, handcrafted goods. Search adaptive clothing on the site for unusual and custom adaptive clothing for men, women, and kids.
10. Buck & Buck
Buck & Buck sells adaptive clothing and footwear for women and men at home and in care centers. The site allows customers to shop by need. Most items are manufactured in the U.S. Custom alterations, free labelling and free hemming are available.
Adaptive Clothing Showroom sells adaptive clothing, footwear, and accessories from a variety of brands for kids, women, and men. Clothing is especially designed for those with limited mobility, those who are bedridden, and those who use a wheelchair. Site offers helpful assisted dressing tips.
12. IZ Adaptive
IZ Adaptive sells women’s, men’s, and unisex styles. Founder Izzy Camilleri designs high-fashion tops, bottoms, and coats for both seated and standing frames. IZ Adaptive seeks input for their designs from individuals with disabilities and features them as models and in their campaigns, including The Perfect Fit.
Able2 Wear sells pants, jackets, ponchos, capes, footwear and accessories for women and men who use wheelchairs or others looking for essential clothing with a proper fit. Some styles are waterproof. Able2Wear consults with wheelchairs users, caregivers, and professionals when choosing items for their collection. They also offer tailor made clothing.
Adaptations by Adrian offers both custom-made and pre-made clothing and accessories for kids, women, and men. Products include pants and shorts, leg and arm warmers, bathing suits, capes, back-open jackets, and loungers designed for sitters and those with physically limiting conditions.
Macy’s sells adaptive tops and bottoms for women and men. Brands include MagnaClick, Seven7 Adaptive, and Tommy Hilfiger Adaptive.
Professional Fit Clothing sells durable women’s, men’s, and unisex clothing and clothing protectors, including adult bibs that look like actual clothing and clothing for pica behaviors. Custom alteration is available. Professional Fit Clothing provides clothing for those with unique needs, for individuals who live at home as well as in care facilities.
Alium sells clothing with an emphasis on comfort for women who need assistance dressing. Currently they carry three products: wrap sweater, easy-access nightgown, and zip-front pants with zippers that run the length of the legs and separate at the ankle. More styles including men’s wear are coming. Alium is seeking input on new products if you have ideas to share.
18. Care Zips
Care Zips sells unisex pants designed for daytime wear for adults with incontinence. Designed with special features for comfort and ease of dressing, the pants have an athletic style.
19. Dignity Pajamas
Dignity Pajamas sells easy on, easy off pajamas for women and men. Designed by clothing designer founder, Franne, who was looking for a comfortable, dignified option for her parents when they needed hospice care, these pajamas feature soft materials, attractive prints, and open backs with Velcro closure. This site has a blog.
MagnaReady sells magnetic fastening shirts for women, men, and boys and magnetic fly pants for men. Founder Maura Horton was inspired by her husband’s struggle for independence with fastening shirts after he developed Parkinson’s disease at an early age. A donation is made to the Michael J Fox Foundation with each purchase.
21. Myself Belts
Myself Belts sells one-handed closure belts for kids and adults. Initially designed by sisters Talia Bahr Goldfarb and Danielle Bahr Eason as an aid for potty training, the belt is now offered in teen and adult sizes for those with disabilities and hand dexterity challenges.
Independence Day Clothing sells clothing for kids, teens, and young adults. Founder Lauren Thierry was inspired by her son’s need for dressing assistance and found designer Dalila Anderson to help create a line of reversible sensory-sensitive clothing. Compartments for optional personal tracking GPS devices are added for wandering safety concern issues. This company hires individuals with developmental disabilities through Vista Life Innovations to process and package orders.
23. BILLY Footwear
BILLY Footwear sells shoes for toddlers, kids, women, and men. After co-founder Billy Price had an accidental fall that resulted in paralysis from the chest down he became vested in finding ways to get dressed more easily. Collaboration with friend Darin Donaldson led to development of unique FlipTop Technology zipper shoes. The site also publishes a blog.
Reboundwear sells adaptive athletic wear for kids, women, and men. Clothing provides solutions for dressing issues following surgery or those with limited mobility due to other conditions. Site has a blog.
25. PLAE Shoes
PLAE Shoes sells easy on easy off kids shoes. Select PLAE styles are adaptive friendly and orthotic-ready.
26. NBZ Apparel
NBZ Apparel sells jeans and pants for kids, women and men under their Downs Designs brand and jeans and pants for boys and men under their NBZ brand (NBZ = No front Buttons or Zippers.) Founder Karen Bowersox entered the clothing line after realizing her grandchild with Down syndrome had unique fit needs. Each pair of Downs Designs pants includes a personal custom fitting service. With NBZ Apparel the clothing line has expanded to include inclusive stylish pull on pants for all boys and men. Women’s NBZ designs are coming. NBZ Apparel donates a free pair of pants to a wounded veteran or other person in need with every 3 pair purchased.
Care + Wear sells apparel and accessories for kids, women, and men that allow accessibility for ports PICC lines, post-surgical sites, and more. Care + Wear has partnered with designers such as Oscar de la Renta, Parsons School of Design and organizations such as MLB and NBA to create products that are fashionable as well as functional. Site also has a blog.
Easy access Clothing sells bodysuits and pants for kids and women, and men. Clothing features include higher waists, more room for personal protection products, straight forward poppers instead of zippers and buttons, mock fly, VELCRO closures, and part or full elastic waist with adjustable cords.
29. Nike FlyEase
Nike sells a FlyEase line of athletic shoes for kids, women and men. FlyEase shoes include at least two of three features: easy open and easy close, step in heel, and adjustability for different foot shapes and sizes. The lace-free, FlyEase closure system has an easy wraparound zipper with a hook-and-loop strap which allows a secure fit with one motion.
30. Preventa Wear
Preventa Wear sells bodysuits and onesies for kids, women, and men that are designed for individuals with incontinence and challenging undressing behaviors.
Special Kids Company sells clothing that includes bodysuits, dungarees, socks, shoes, swimwear and accessories for kids ages 2 to 16. They also have a line that provides g-tube access. The site has a blog.
32. Sweet Lemonade
Sweet Lemonade sells fun, fashionable custom clothing for kids with one of their specialties being adaptive clothing. Special needs clothing adaptations include: g-tube openings, elastic straps, back opening tops and dresses, pants with wide openings for orthotics and reversible designs.
Marks and Spencer sells an “Easy Dressing” line of clothing for kids from infants to age 16. Clothes are included for individuals with hip dysplasia, feeding tubes, and sensory needs, and include bodysuits, pants, sleepwear, tops, socks, school uniforms, coats and more. All clothes are modeled and adapted from products on Marks and Spencer’s main clothing line.
34. CBO Baby
CBO Baby sells bodysuits for kids with sizes 2T to 14. Bodysuits come in sleeveless, short-sleeved, and long-sleeved styles, have double stitching, are tagless and accommodate feeding tubes, ports, casts, and other medical apparatus as well as help with undressing and other challenging behaviors.
Hatchbacks sells shoes that are hinged and open from the back for kids and young adults. The company responded to requests from parents of special needs children and developed a new line of shoes called the “Elites” that are designed specifically to wear with AFOs and other custom inserts.
36. Kozie Clothes
Kozie Clothes sells tops, bottoms, skirts, socks, and swimwear for kids. Founded by pediatric occupational therapist Susan Donohoe, Kozie Clothes offers compression, weighted, and temperature controlled clothing as well as clothing for specific medical needs. Preemie size clothing also available. All products are manufactured in the U.S.A.
AbleApparel sells bibs, clothing protectors, and fleece shawls for kids and adults. One of Able Apparel’s goals is to price items so that they are affordable for everyone.
Cast Clothing Company sells custom and modified tops and pants for women and men, specializing in temporary or permanent limb conditions. They also accept orders and try to find clothing solutions that they don’t currently carry.
39. Alter UR Ego
Alter UR Ego sells fashionable jeans and t-shirts for women and men. Founded by Heidi McKenzie, who became a paraplegic after a car accident at the age of 21 and went on to graduate from college, become Ms. Wheelchair Kentucky in 2012, and serves with several advocacy associations. Their line of jeans features pockets on the thighs, a high, elastic back waistband and straps to make pulling jeans up easier.
40. Cover Up Shop
The Cover Up Shop sells custom adaptive clothing for kids, women and men with limited dexterity or mobility. They carry a line of fashionable tops, skirts, pants, jackets, and more. They purchase name brand clothing and adapt it to sell and they also will adapt clothes from your own closet.
41. Tummy Tunnels
Tummy Tunnels sells iron-on patches used to adapt regular clothing for G-tubes. Developed by a mother who wanted her child to be able to wear regular clothing, Tummy Tunnel patches themes include animals, sports, flowers, stars, and more.
Something Sew Special sells custom-made bibs, ponchos, and bandanas for kids using kid-popular themes in its fabrics. The company also modifies t-shirts into bodysuits. The founders of Something Sew Special have three children, two with disabilities.
Specially For You sells custom made clothing for kids and adults with physical challenges. Their products include sitting pants, elastic waist pants, pants with side openings, “halo” shirts, back overlapped dresses and tops, and much more. If customers have a need that the company doesn’t address, they welcome inquiries to see what they can do to help.
Know any other great places to buy adaptive clothing? Let us know, and we’ll add them to our list!