Seven tips to help you choose the right adaptive clothing

When it comes to buying adaptive clothing you need to find items that are the perfect mix of style, comfort and practicality. Here are seven tips to help you.

Adaptive clothing is really changing the game in fashion. It’s all about mixing clever design with practicality, making sure it works for everyone, especially for those with disabilities, older folks, or anyone who needs clothes that are easier to use. But it can be a bit pricey and hard to find in the UK. 

So in honour of National Disability History Month, we reached out to Carrie Shaltz Haslup, a former architect and Founder + CEO of Tabeeze and Julia DeNey, sensory-friendly fashion design expert and founder of Sense-ational You, who understand firsthand the importance of functionality and offers insights on what to look out for when you’re on the hunt for adaptive clothing.

1) Go for comfort first

Look for fabrics like cotton or bamboo that are kind to the skin and breathable. Stretchy materials are great for a comfortable fit, and moisture-wicking fabrics keep you dry.

Always choose adaptive clothes that are comfy and practical. Look for elastic waistbands and stretchy materials that can handle body changes or medical needs, and make sure they allow easy movement for daily activities.

2) Seek out technology and sensory-friendly integrations

Look for clothing that integrates smart technology, such as garments with built-in monitoring systems to track health metrics or fabrics that can change temperature based on body heat. Some clothing might include therapeutic features such as compression to improve circulation or alignment.

If you have sensory processing disorders, clothing with minimal seams, soft fabrics, and no tags can significantly reduce discomfort. 

For individuals who benefit from sensory input, such as those with autism, weighted clothing can provide a calming effect. This type of clothing can help reduce anxiety and improve focus, making it a valuable tool for sensory regulation and comfort in various settings.

3) What to look for in convertible and adaptive clothing

Garments that can be easily converted, like pants that zip off into shorts or adjustable sleeve lengths, provide versatility and adapt to different environments or body temperature changes.

If you have limited hand movement, go for clothes with magnetic buttons or Velcro. Front-opening designs are great for easier dressing, especially for those needing a bit of help.

And don’t forget about undergarments, as they should also be accessible, comfortable, and easy to put on and take off. Look for options with side openings, Velcro fastenings, or special support features.

4) Think about safety features

Remember that reflective materials for visibility if the wearer is outdoors in the evening or special closures to prevent accidental undressing in public settings can be important for safety and dignity.

5) Colour-coded systems make dressing easier

If you have visual impairments or cognitive challenges, clothing with colour-coded systems can make dressing easier. Using different colours to distinguish the front from the back or the inside from the outside of the garment simplifies the process of dressing and promotes independence. 

6) Find accessible footwear

Adaptive clothing isn’t the only need. Footwear with features like wide openings, non-slip soles, or orthotic-friendly designs can be crucial for safety and comfort. These design considerations ensure the shoes are not only easy to put on and remove, but also provide stable support and reduce the risk of slips or falls.

7) Don’t overlook the style

Don’t forget the look! Adaptive clothing should be stylish too. Find brands that offer different designs and colours to keep you feeling confident and fashionable.

Finding the right adaptive clothing doesn’t have to present a challenge, especially now with so many inclusive options. Follow these tips to ensure the needs of all individuals are met.