Adaptive Fashion: Embracing Inclusivity

Krista Hendrickson • December 11, 2023

Fashion has long been a means of self-expression, but for older adults and individuals with disabilities, accessing stylish clothing that accommodates their unique needs has often been challenging. However, a transformative shift towards adaptive fashion is underway, ushering in an era of inclusivity and diversity.

So, What is Adaptive Fashion?

Adaptive fashion is designed to make dressing easier for older adults and individuals with mobility challenges. It features thoughtful modifications such as magnetic closures, adjustable hems, and convenient openings. While adaptive clothing has been around for centuries, it has gained broader availability recently, offering older adults and those with disabilities the independence to dress comfortably.

Examples of Adaptive Fashion

Adaptive fashion encompasses a range of clothing, including:

  • Pants: Designed for greater comfort, with higher backs and lower fronts, ideal for wheelchair users.
  • Shirts
  • Dresses
  • Skirts
  • Shoes: Easy to slip on without forceful pulling, often with magnetic closures.

These items prioritize practicality and ease of use, with convenient access points for medical equipment. Moreover, sensory-friendly options and one-piece outfits cater to various preferences.

Challenges in the Fashion Industry

Historically, the fashion industry lacked inclusivity and diversity. However, a growing movement is pushing for inclusive fashion for older adults and individuals with disabilities to change perceptions and promote accessibility in all aspects of life.

Here are some of the many companies looking to offer adaptive clothing and shoe lines!

Buck and Buck

Buck and Buck offers stylish and accessible clothing designed with seniors in mind. Their range features vibrant prints and comfy styles.

Explore their collection: Buck and Buck

Tommy Hilfiger Adaptive

Tommy Hilfiger Adaptive combines classic style with adaptive features, such as magnetic and Velcro closures. Their line includes options for men, women, and children.

Discover their range: Tommy Hilfiger Adaptive

Zappos Adaptive

Zappos Adaptive is expanding its adaptive shoe offerings, including individual shoe styles. This unique feature caters to those with varying shoe needs, such as orthotics or single-shoe requirements.

Explore their adaptive footwear: Zappos Adaptive

Rebound Wear

Rebound Wear uses athletic technical fabrics to create clothing that accommodates medical equipment. Shop for specific needs like incontinence, surgery recovery, or port/IV access.

Browse their collection: Rebound Wear

Supporting Adaptive Fashion

Though the fashion industry has come a long way, there is still work to be done to foster inclusivity in fashion for older adults and those with disabilities. Here are a few ways you can help:

  • Purchase Adaptive Clothing: Support retailers specializing in adaptive fashion, encouraging the continued production of stylish and accessible clothing.
  • Raise Awareness: Share information about adaptive fashion through social media and conversations with friends and family, shedding light on the importance of inclusivity.
  • Engage with Advocacy Groups: Collaborate with organizations that promote inclusive fashion, participating in events and campaigns to advance the cause.

The Future of Inclusive Fashion

The fashion industry is actively developing new technologies and materials to create even more accessible clothing. Innovations include fabrics that adapt to different body shapes and sizes and materials designed for the comfort of individuals with sensory sensitivities.

As the industry embraces inclusivity, adaptive fashion for seniors is not just about clothing; it’s about empowering older adults to express themselves confidently and comfortably, regardless of their physical abilities.

We hope that this work will continue, and we’ll see even more options in the future.

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