Adaptive Clothing Defined


Many times people with disabilities have a hard time wearing what one would consider “typical” clothing.

Typical clothing can be difficult for people with disabilities to wear. Many times, people who have disabilities become frustrated and limited in their selection of clothing.

It is hard for people who have disabilities to wear “typical” clothing due to the fine motor skills required for buttons, zippers, etc. People with disabilities also face challenges with the proper fitting jeans with an AFO or a prosthetic leg, and even people in wheelchairs experience difficulty with clothing.

Adaptive Clothing Defined;

Adaptive Clothing has allowed people with disabilities more freedom to express themselves in fashionable ways.

When thinking about adaptive clothing, many times people with disabilities can “adapt” typical clothing to meet some of their needs.

For example, if needing more motor control for a zipper, one can use a paperclip to extend the length of the zipper which in turn makes it more accessible.

Another example includes purchasing no tie shoelaces to assist people with disabilities who can’t tie. Some other ways include using a button puller when needing to fasten shirts that have buttons. These methods work, but many times, people with disabilities do not want to feel like they are “standing out from the crowd.”

When using these adaptations, the person has to carry around the paperclips or the button puller if they are traveling. Also, at times, the button puller or paperclips can break. These experiences can be frustrating for the person.

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Adaptive Clothing is the new clothing trend.

This particular line of clothing allows people with disabilities to experience freedom, and wear the latest trends all why not having to worry about zippers, buttons, etc.

This new clothing line includes many modifications including;

  • One-Handed Zippers
  • Side-Seam Openings
  • Adjustable Waists
  • Magnetic Buttons
  • Velcro
  • Bungee Cord Closure Systems
  • Easy Open Necklines
  • Expanded Back Openings

The modifications allow people with disabilities freedom to enjoy their environment without having to worry about zippers, buttons, etc. When a person with a disability uses adaptive clothing, it allows that person to be able to dress him/herself independently.

This is beneficial because he/she can live independently and increase his/her self-esteem and confidence.

Adaptive Clothing Drawbacks;

  • One drawback to adaptive clothing is the price.

Due to the design of the clothing, it too comes with a high price tag. Since this clothing line is designed for certain populations, the clothing line has to ensure they get a cut from the products.

  • Another drawback is most of the time, the only way you can shop for items are online.

You can’t go into the store to see the merchandise. Sometimes this limits one’s choice because what an item looks like online may not be what it really looks like face to face.

  • The last drawback includes the limited selection of available clothing.

Even though the clothing is the current trend, the selection is limited. This may cause someone with a disability to have a hard time creating a full wardrobe for him/herself.

Overall, the positives outweigh the negatives.

Have you experienced adaptive clothing? What are your thoughts regarding both positives and negatives? Please leave a comment!


~ Amanda

Picture of Amanda Wagoner, MAT

Amanda Wagoner, MAT

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