Adaptive clothing is designed with the needs of older adults and people with disabilities in mind. It is commonly associated with people who use wheelchairs, but can be useful for those who struggle with the more intricate parts of clothing, such as fastening or zippers.

Clothing in general is not made with the needs of the less able-bodied in mind. If you have limited mobility, some clothing can be a real struggle. Several companies have taken on this challenge, however, to help people dress themselves in regular clothing. These companies have redesigned certain garments to be more user-friendly. Some of the adapted features include:

  • Velcro-type closures instead of buttons
  • Open-back blouses, shirts, and dresses with Velcro-type closures that still retain the illusion of a traditional button styling on the front
  • Lap-over back-style garments with snaps for the individual who cannot raise their arms
  • Zippers with easy-to-grasp pull tabs
  • Pants with side zippers
  • Seatless pants to help with incontinence
  • Shoes with Velcro-type closures instead of shoelaces
  • Slippers that adjust in width to accommodate swollen feet and ankles
  • Magnetic shoe fastenings

Just because it’s adaptive doesn’t mean it can’t be chic. Here are some common misconceptions about adaptive clothing:

Shopping Medicare in the digital age is as simple as you make it.

Adaptive clothes can’t be fashionable

There is a myth that adaptive clothing can’t be stylish, but brands like IZ and ABL denim are bucking this trend. Adaptive clothing are carefully designed to provide comfort and style.

I can only live in loungewear

Fabrics are constantly evolving. The “athleisure” trend is making its way into daytime clothing and workwear — even skinny jeans have stretch now, like the jegging (a hybrid of the jean and legging.) Ease of movement and style are not mutually exclusive anymore. Everyone want to be comfortable.

If I can’t dress myself, I need the easiest garment that someone can take on and off for me

This is important, but it shouldn’t hold you back from considering other clothing. On her website, adaptable fashion designer Izzy Camilleri states, “People have been telling me their attendants are reaching for my adapted clothing. Fashion and function — it’s a win-win!”

I can’t wear what everyone else is wearing

Not everyone can wear the latest items from Zara, but you can find a way to make something work. An item can be tailored to your needs and, if you don’t see it out there, ask someone to make it. Many adaptable designers custom make clothing for their clients.

Here are six companies who are currently serving up fashion with function, style with substance — and all at affordable prices.

Silvert’s

Silvert’s offers clothing in two options. You can choose self-dressing or assisted dressing depending on the level of help you require.

Silvert’s design department continually consults with clients, caregivers and healthcare professionals to make sure they are meeting the needs of their customers. Some of the challenges the design team aims to tackle are decreased levels of mobility, arthritis, scoliosis, podiatry concerns and incontinence issues.

IZ Clothing Collection

IZ is a line of fashion forward and functional clothing, created specifically for fashionistas who use a wheelchair. The collection has signature cuts and styles for a seated body, which are flattering, and feel more comfortable for sitting, all without interfering with wheelchair mechanics.

Able2Wear

Able2Wear, a Scottish men and women’s adaptive clothing company provides garments for people with spinal injuries, chronic and progressive illnesses, stroke, and other severe conditions. They also offer a range of adaptive clothing to people across the spectrum of ability.

Adaptations by Adrian

Adaptions by Adrian specializes in unique items, such as the bus pass/cell phone holder, arm warmers, swimsuits, and boots for older and younger people with physical disabilities.

Easy Access

At Easy Access their mission is to make “the most practical, functional, highest quality, and most fashionable collection of clothing and products for the disabled consumer available today.”

ABL Denim

Everyone should own a good pair of jeans, and ABL Denim offers a range of denim-wear for adults and children. Stephanie Alves is the Founder, CEO, and designer. Alves was inspired to create the company by her brother and stepsister who have developmental disabilities and mobility issues, respectively. In September 2016, she presented ABL Denim at the White House.