Adaptive clothing

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Adaptive clothing is clothing designed for people with physical disabilities, the elderly, and the infirm who may experience difficulty dressing themselves 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 typically offers rear-closure designs so that an individual can be dressed more easily by a carer or even by themselves. For example, rather than buttons and zippers, hidden magnets or Velcro may be used for garment and footwear closures.[1] [2] A common misconception of adaptive clothing is that it is only for wheelchair users or others that suffer from severe disabilities. Whilst these groups do benefit from the garments, adaptive clothing is for anyone that can be limited by traditional clothing.[3] Adaptive clothing not only benefit the wearer but also the carer or health care professional to be more efficient and helps prevent potential back and shoulder injuries.[4]

Clothing for special needs[edit]

Adaptive clothing is specialised clothing that is modified to enable easier dressing for people with a disability. The clothing is modified to help people with a high degree of disability and their carers or to assist individuals with a lower degree of disability to dress independently.[5]

Adaptive clothing typically incorporates flat seams to reduce friction, and discreet adaptations to make the clothing look as consistent with fashion norms as possible, including: easy access snaps, Velcro, stretchy fabric, roomy design to accommodate incontinence aids, longer rise in the back to accommodate sitting in wheelchairs, and elastic waist for increased comfort and easier dressing.


Special Need Associated Problem Adaptive Clothing Solution
Alzheimer's disease Individual disrobes at inappropriate times. Locking clothing
Oedema Swelling of feet and legs leads to difficulty wearing conventional footwear or pants. Adaptive Shoes and pants are adjustable in size and offer non-restrictive closures.
Incontinence Reduced bladder control and urgency Clothing that can be removed easily and quickly and can accommodate incontinence aids discreetly and comfortably.
Parkinson's disease and arthritis Loss of fine motor skills Buttons and zippers are replaced with easy touch Velcro or magnetic closures.
Contractures, arthritis, MS, MDS, SCI, MD, paraplegia, quadriplegia Inability to bend muscles or move joints Open back clothing which allows the clothing to be put on frontwards, eliminating the need to bend or rotate muscles or joints.

Magnetic closures[edit]

For individuals suffering from Parkinson's and other disabilities that affect motor skills, magnetic closures have emerged as a great solution across multiple garments. The original technology was developed by MagnaReady and was patented in December of 2015.[6] The technology was licensed for numerous lines of adaptive clothing by brands including Van Heusen and MagnaClick.[7][8] Magnetic closures again came to the forefront of adaptive clothing when Tommy Hilfiger featured magnetic closures prominently in the launch of their adaptive clothing line in the Spring of 2018.[9] Silvert's Adaptive Clothing & Footwear also carry magnetic closure dress shirts for both men and women.[10]


  1. ^ "Adaptive Clothing – Information and Availability". Disabled World. 20 March 2014.
  2. ^ "What is Adaptive Clothing?". Silvert's Adaptive Clothing & Footwear. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  3. ^ "What is Adaptive Clothing?". CBO Baby. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  4. ^ "Adaptive Clothing/Apparel for Health Care Professionals". Silvert's Adaptive Clothing & Footwear. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  5. ^ "What is Adaptive Clothing -". Errine Adaptive Clothing. Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
  6. ^ Article of Clothing Having Magnetic Fastening Assemblies, 2012-11-12, retrieved 2018-05-03
  7. ^ "Van Heusen launches men's dress shirt designed with adaptive technology that eliminates traditional buttons". EPR Retail News. Retrieved 2018-05-03.
  8. ^ "Making a new connection to certain dress-shirt buyers". Retrieved 2018-05-03.
  9. ^ Gallucci, Nicole. "Tommy Hilfiger unveils innovative clothing line for people with disabilities". Mashable. Retrieved 2018-05-03.
  10. ^ Henriques, Carolina (June 8, 2018). "Workplace Dress Codes Can Limit Opportunities for People with Disabilities, Researchers Say". Multiple Sclerosis News Today. Retrieved June 14, 2018.