The Best Adaptive Clothing Companies

According to the CDC, 61 million Americans have a disability that affects major life activities (source). The most common disability type, mobility, affects 1 in 7 adults. With age, disability becomes more common, affecting about 2 in 5 adults aged 65 and older.

A common challenge many aging adults face is the act of getting dressed and undressed by themselves. This can be the result of a physical disability, chronic condition, and/or other restrictions that may come with age or for people with disabilities.

Adaptive clothing can make life easier whether it is self-dressing or caregiver-assisted dressing.

What is Adaptive Clothing?

Adaptive clothing, or adapted clothes, are defined as clothing, and footwear for people with physical and cognitive disabilities who may have difficulty dressing due to an inability to manipulate closures, such as buttons and zippers, or due to a lack of a full range of motion required for self-dressing.

Adaptive clothing is designed to make it easy to dress and undress by providing easy access to certain body parts without having to fully remove any clothing. These changes make life simpler for aging adults and their caregivers. It provides comfort, confidence, and in many cases independence for aging adults, as well as the family caregivers.

Who Can Benefit from Adaptive Clothing?

  • Those who use a wheelchair
  • Those who have Arthritis
  • Individuals who have recently undergone surgery
  • Individuals with paraplegia or quadriplegia
  • Those with diabetes
  • Individuals with Parkinson’s
  • Those with a cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia
  • Individuals with back and spinal cord injuries
  • Those with a limited range of motion in arms and legs

What Special Features Does Adaptive Clothing Have?

  • Open-Back: These are blouses, shirts, and dresses with Velcro™-type closures that retain the traditional button styling on the front.
  • Lap-Over Back-Style: These are garments with snaps for the individual who cannot raise their arms
  • Cut-Away Garments: This is where the seat of the garment has been "cut away" providing easier personal care.
  • Rear Closure Garments: Special clothing items that open down the back to facilitate dressing those who cannot raise their arms over their head to put on a shirt or dress, wheelchair users, or those who spend most of their time in bed.
  • Back-Flap Pants: Pants designed with fabric overlaps at the seat and is attached at the waist to allow for ease in self-toileting for wheelchair users.
  • Magnetic Closures: Clothes that use magnetic closures in place of buttons or zippers. These have the "look" of a traditional button or zipper but use magnetic fasteners instead.
  • One-Piece Jumpsuits: Accessible from the back to prevent the wearer from disrobing inappropriately.
  • Side Zip and Snap Pants: These feature zippers or snaps on both sides of the pants at the waistband providing ample room for care and dressing comfort and can facilitate the transfer process for toileting.
  • Adaptive Footwear: Shoes or slippers that have easy on and off features such as Velcro fasteners instead of shoelaces.
  • Sensory-Friendly: Clothing designed specifically for textural sensitivities.

What to Consider When Shopping for Adaptive Clothing

When shopping for adaptive clothing it is important to focus on the user, their lifestyle, physical ability, and personal preferences. Below are a few things to consider:

  • Physical Ability:  Does the person you are buying for use a wheelchair? Do they have a limited range of motion?
  • Cognitive Ability: Does the intended user have an Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis?
  • Level of Dexterity: Does the individual you are shopping for have Arthritis or another diagnosis that makes it difficult for them to manipulate buttons, zippers, and other closures?
  • Post-Surgery Considerations: Will the clothing only be needed for a short time? Are there medical devices that may need to be accessed that the clothing will need to accommodate?
  • Age & Sex: Does the clothing brand have styles suitable for (and appealing to) the age and sex of the individual you are shopping for?
  • Design & Comfort: Is the clothing designed in a way that will protect the user's dignity? Does the clothing proved ample coverage without being bulky? Do the clothes look and feel like non-adaptive clothing?
  • Self-Dressing vs Assisted-Dressing: What setting will the clothing be worn in? Will the user be self-dressing at home or do they live in an assisted living facility or have a caregiver is present to aid in dressing?
  • Lifestyle: Is the intended user someone who enjoys participating in sports or other physical activities?

The Best Adaptive Clothing Companies

To help you navigate the adaptive clothing industry, below is a list of the top companies along with information about the types of clothing they carry.

 SilvertsProfessional Fit ClothingBuck and BuckAble2WearCustom Adaptive ClothingKoolway SportsTommy Hilfiger
Wheelchair
X
X
X
X
X
Arthritis
X
X
X
X
X
Diabetes
X
Post-Surgery
X
X
Amputee
X
X
X
Back/Spinal Cord Injury
X
X
X
Limited Range of Motion (Arms/Legs)
X
X
X
X
X
Alzheimers/Dementia
X
X
X
Outdoor Wear
X
X
X
X
X
X

Silvert’s Adaptive Clothing

Silvert's offers stylish and functional adaptive clothing options for almost any ability and situation. Their clothing options range from adaptive shoes to clothing designed for wheelchair users, those who spend most of their time in bed, plus-size individuals, geriatric dressers, as well as other needs-based options for those with Alzheimer’s, arthritis, diabetes, etc.  They are one of the oldest and largest suppliers of nursing home apparel. A nice feature of theirs is their color-coded system. For self-dressing, they have a green icon, for assistive dressing a blue icon, and for recovery after injury or surgery a black icon.  Their commitment to quality and customer service makes them one of the top online adaptive clothing stores.

What We Liked:

  • They are a larger company with a good reputation for quality products, outstanding customer service
  • Color-coded system for easy recognition

What Could Make Them Even Better: 

  • Longer customer service hours

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IZ Adaptive Clothing

The IZ Adaptive Clothing Collection is a line of fashionable and functional clothing, created to make wheelchair users look and feel amazing. The collection has signature cuts and styles for a seated body, which fit better, look nicer, and feel more comfortable than standard mainstream clothing, all without interfering with wheelchair mechanics. They use quality fabrics, which have been selected for stretch and durability. IZ garments are created ethically in customized studios, where every consideration is made so that the end-user gets the best possible product and service. Use this promo code for 20% off at IZ Adaptive.

What We Liked:

  • The variety of options and their focus on the perfect fit
  • Risk-free 30-day guarantee
  • Promo code for 20% off
  • Video showing the proper way to take seated measurements

What Could Make Them Even Better:

  • Longer pant lengths for tall wearers

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Able2Wear

Able2Wear's specialty is wheelchair adaptive clothing. From waterproof jackets and fleeces, to drop front wheelchair trousers specially designed for wheelchair users and easy to manage elasticated waist trousers, for those who can stand and walk but have trouble managing zips and fastenings. Great selection of adaptive waterproof outerwear, from ponchos to jackets. Their sizing and measuring guide is a handy tool to help decide what size to order. They also offer tailor-made clothing, edema socks, wheelchair gloves, and even a smoker’s apron for safety.

What We Liked:

  • Wide selection of sizes to choose from, and they also offer alterations

What Could Make Them Even Better:

  • Shipping outside their area can prove to be pricey

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Professional Fit Clothing

Professional Fit offers behavior issue clothing for persons with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Their line of clothing is made out of outdoor waterproof polyester that deters pica behavior (a behavior where a person eats, tears, or is particularly hard on their clothing or bedding). They offer jumpsuits with rear closure and Velcro fasteners, bibs, rain capes. They also offer alterations as needed. Their products are well made and attractive.

What We Liked:

  • Excellent quality and customer service

What Could Make Them Even Better:

  • A larger selection of clothing

Check Current Prices At:

Buck & Buck Clothing

Buck and Buck specialize in advanced Alzheimer’s sleepwear that discourages undressing. Other products they carry are stretchy knit pants in sizes up to 5x, Velcro-fastened jeans, and specialty footwear for edema, balance, and diabetic neuropathy. They carry a wide selection of men’s and women’s adaptive clothing, from underwear to sweaters, pants, and shoes. They also carry adaptive accessories such as necklaces, bracelets, ties, hats, and even adaptive alarm clocks.

What We Liked:

  • Their focus of 43 years specializing in Alzheimer’s sleepwear helps identify them as a go-to company in the field.
  • Exceptional customer service.

What Could Make Them Even Better:

  • Their return policy can be a bit confusing if you need to return an item

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Koolway Sports

Koolway Sports' adaptive clothing line is geared toward the disabled community that enjoys the outdoors. Their line includes custom-made jackets, wind and water-resistant leggings, water-resistant nonambulatory boots (to keep feet warm while in the elements).

99% of their products are custom made. A virtual zoom meeting is scheduled to assist with fitting and answer any questions during the ordering process. While geared towards a younger clientele, Koolway offers many outerwear options for the adult and senior disabled populations as well. Their online reviews show them to be a great company with a heart to help those wanting to experience the outdoors.

What We Liked:

  • They have a grant and funding section that can help with alleviating the cost of the garments
  • They also have virtual zoom meetings to assist with fittings.

What Could Make Them Even Better:

  • This line of clothing could be cost-prohibitive due to the nature of the clothing.
KoolwaySportsAdaptiveClothing-KoolKozyLegs

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Tommy Hilfiger Adaptive Clothing Line

An impressive move toward fashion versus function is the Tommy Hilfiger adaptive clothing line. This extensive collection of classic, quality clothing is a refreshing change from the usual stereotypical view of adaptive clothing. The site has men’s and women’s Hilfiger label clothing. The popular Hilfiger polo dress and classic sweater lines found in the main apparel line can be found in the adaptive apparel section. Men’s Hilfiger hoodies and clothing are also found in the adaptive clothing section of the Hilfiger website.

What We Liked:

  • Options for the disabled to wear name-brand clothing they may have been used to before becoming disabled.
  • They have a wide selection of sizes.

What Could Make Them Even Better:

  • Their website can be confusing and hard to navigate. It is easy to end up in the main line of clothing since this site is not exclusively for adaptive wear.

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Custom Adaptive Clothing

“Adaptive Clothing That Doesn’t Look Like Clothing”

Custom Adaptive Clothing by Cover-Up Shop offers alternatives to traditional clothing for those with limited dexterity or impaired mobility. Their products can make a real difference in the quality of life to help people stay active, independent, comfortable, and fashionable. Their specialty is ALS, Arthritis, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, and stroke.

This company offers 3 options:

  1. Ship your clothes to them and they adjust and adapt to suit your needs with Velcro closures and other modifications
  2. Shop their store of adaptive clothing. The selection of men’s and women’s adaptive clothing is somewhat limited. They do carry waterproof bibs that are attractive and functional. They carry ostomy-adapted clothing also.
  3. Custom-made clothing. If you don’t see what you need, you may email customer service, and will work with you.

What We Liked:

  • They have a return policy that is unmatched. If you are not satisfied for any reason, you may return the clothing at any time, as long as the item hasn’t been altered.

What Could Make Them Even Better:

  • A larger selection of premade clothing
Best Adaptive Clothing - Custom Adaptive Clothing by Cover Up Shop

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Other Considerations

Is Adaptive Clothing Covered by Insurance?

Adaptive clothing is not covered by insurance. However, Koolway Sports has an extensive list of places that offer grants and assistance in purchasing adaptive clothing. Most of these sites are aimed at children and families, however, there are some listed that could benefit disabled seniors. Runway of Dreams also provides grants for adaptive clothing.

In Conclusion

The adaptive clothing companies listed above give you a solid starting place. Take a look around and see if any of these companies or clothing options are right for you. Explore each website and test the products you find most appealing but don't accept anything below your standard and comfort. As you explore each line of adaptive clothing you will hopefully be able to walk the runway of your dreams.

 

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