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The Best of the Best: Adaptive Clothing Lines

By: Molly Crawford

Clothes and fashion have a unique ability to showcase personality and imbue confidence. Discovering fashion preferences and trying on new styles gives many people a sense of individualism and excitement. What happens when you’re trying to find clothes that make you feel confident and excited, but you have sensory issues with certain materials, sizing complications, or a disability? In those instances clothes shopping poses more significant challenges. Fortunately,

clothing companies have evolved to sell adaptive clothing lines. Keep reading to learn more about adaptive clothing and some of the best adaptive clothing options for adults with disabilities including most fashionable, most affordable, and most diverse options.

The fashion industry defines “adaptive design” as “regular clothing and shoes re-engineered for children and adults with physical, cognitive or sensory issues, both chronic and short term” (Washington Post). Previously, most accessible adaptive clothing was geared towards senior citizens with frumpy styles and limited choices. However, in more recent years adaptive clothing lines have increased their presence and versatility to meet the needs of all ages.

Most Affordable: JC Penny Adaptive Line

JC Penny has an entire adaptive clothing line for men, women, and children. Their clothing includes sensory friendly fabrics, velcro buttons, easy on easy off pants, and shirts with easy off design. The clothes offer variety and choices in modern fashion trends. Most unique; however, is

that the clothing have all been designed with individuals with disabilities. JC Penny sells all of their adaptive clothing at an affordable price. Prices range from 20-100 dollars. These prices are even lower right now, with a large clearance sale happening.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of options are only available online. On the other hand, shopping online does have its advantages. JC Penny offers filter options specifically for the adaptive clothing line including: adaptive collection and adaptive features. This allows customers to filter through all of the options and find clothes that mean their needs the best such as clothing without tags, seated wear, magnetic buttons, and more.

Most Diverse: Zappos

While Zappos does predominantly sell shoes, we’ve included them under the category of most diverse for the wide array of adaptive shoes that they do sell. They have shoes that fit the needs of almost everyone. They also have a line of adaptive clothing wear. Their shoe variety includes: AFO friendly, easy on/off, orthotic friendly, and single shoes.

Within each style of adaptive shoes, they have a wide variety of styles to choose from. For example, the orthotic friendly category includes sandals, loafers, dress shoes, sneakers, books, and more. The only con to Zappos perhaps is their price. The cost of their shoes appears to be about $75 and up.

Most Fashionable: Unhidden/Tommy Hilfiger

Finally, we’ve made it to “most fashionable.” Two brands stood out the most in their adaptive clothing lines for their fashion forward choices: Unhidden and Tommy Hilfiger. Both of these lines cater towards the needs of adults and offer a variety of styles from casual to professional to dressy.

Unhidden offers an array of adult dress and professional clothing. They’ve also recently added a new line of fun patterned pants and overalls that have been adapted to meet individual needs as well. They have been adapted for seating and they have elastic straps, open leg hems, and all pockets have openings to allow for tubes to be threaded through.

Tommy Adaptive’s style maintains the classic style that Tommy Hilfiger has been recognized for. Styles include casual and dressier styles such as blazers, t-shirts, shorts, pants, dresses, and much more. They have replaced traditional buttons and snaps with magnetic buttons. Their website describes their adaptive line as “all your Tommy favorites, modified with one handed zippers, magnetic buttons, and seams that open to accommodate prosthetics.”

Each of these adaptive clothing lines demonstrates an acknowledgement of the wide range of clothing needs within the disability community. As many know disabilities come in numerous forms and don’t always appear blatantly obvious. Think about a time that a tag irritated you throughout your work day or you tried on an outfit and the fabric just rubbed you the wrong way. Now imagine feeling like that every time you wear clothes. These adaptive clothing lines work to meet the needs of all including sensory issues, physical disabilities, and chronic illnesses.

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