Welcome to the last installment of our Adaptive Clothing Blog Series! Today, we will be chatting about where you can find specific clothing where construction, shape, or function has been fundamentally adjusted to suit certain needs. Whether you or someone you care for has a lifestyle for which conventionally designed clothing is not well-suited, knowing about the different clothing options available can be really helpful. You are not limited by the mainstream!
Clothing with different fundamental construction is just one subset in the category of adaptive apparel—which is currently an under appreciated and underrepresented facet of modern fashion. Take a quick look at the infographic below to touch upon everything we covered in Adaptive Clothing 101, and feel free to revisit Parts I-III to learn more about each section. Then, be proud of your awareness, and take that knowledge into the world… and the rest of this article where we delve into the best places to buy fundamentally adjusted adaptive apparel.
We’ll go ahead and start with two well-known companies that you most likely have heard of, but may not know have these kinds of adaptive options to suit so many different needs.
When it comes to big brands becoming more inclusive, there are few collections that have been as successful as Tommy Adaptive. Initially launched in 2018, Tommy has been continuously offering great adaptive options every season that are stylish, on-brand, and inclusive. Their collection is very extensive, and ranges from their iconic tees and fashionable dresses, to jeans and chic outerwear. Each piece is also especially adapted for different needs, and you can filter for characteristics such as Seated Wear, Easy/Open Necklines, and Adjustable Waist. Their selection also includes a few options that tailor to Parts II and III of Adaptive Clothing 101, with sensory friendly options and alternative fasteners (ie. magnetic closures and one-handed zippers) as well.
Target recently began introducing as well as expanding their adaptive wear lines. They have a pretty strong selection for children, and have recently begun to offer Universal Thread Jeans for women. Although the collection is on the smaller side right now, the sizes and the design of the jeans are very adaptive and can be a successful find for a lot of people. They are constructed with no back pockets and high elasticity/flexibility, and some are also designed to be pull-on. Also, a wonderful sensory friendly note is their flat seams!
The following companies are well-respected and notable adaptive apparel companies that may or may not be known in the disabled communities. They each offer a unique selection of mindfully crafted adaptive clothing that make fashion more accessible and inclusive.
Buck & Buck
Buck & Buck’s slogan is “we make dressing easier”, and indeed they do; for women, they have a vast collection of different adaptive apparel (you can even filter by self-dressing/assisted dressing styles) as well as footwear. Some of the most notable fundamentally altered pieces include their wrap-back tops (no overhead), cozy polar fleece shawls (comfort and warmth without cumbersome fastenings), and wrap back swing dresses (fashionable, adaptable, with adjusted neckline). Further, their so-soft lap robe, full-length rain poncho, and fleece cardigan + full elastic waist pant set are especially designed with the needs and preferences of wheelchair users in mind.
NBZ apparel specializes in adaptive bottoms, and offers a modest selection of styles (but many colors!) of pants for women. They are all specially designed with the needs of the user in mind, with a full elastic waistband, no additional closures, and stretchy fabric. The different styles are also adjusted in the front and/or the back for any additional comfort or logistical needs!
Rollitex is a European adaptive wear company, and their women’s collection specializes in bottoms and outerwear. They offer jeans, trousers, jackets, and winter-lined clothing that are not only high quality, but are almost essential for those who live in climates with colder seasons. Their jackets selection also includes stylish blazers (a woman boss essential!) that are cut shorter in the front, and a lot of their bottoms are flexible and higher rise in the back for ease of sitting!
This small UK company provides a small selection of robust pieces to suit the needs of many wheelchair users. They offer waterproof tops, bottoms, and outerwear in a few different colors, as well as different elasticated waist pants and shorts. Although their selection isn’t too wide, the versatility and usefulness of these garments makes up for it and is definitely worth browsing through.
Modern and chic intimates that capture a whole range of needs is what Intimately is all about. The bras are made with many features that are typically characteristic of adaptive apparel, and the most notable fundamental differences are the uniquely comfortable cups and the flexible side boning as a source of support rather than the basic underwire. The panties come in a bunch of different cuts and styles, all made with high quality materials that are not only feminine and sexy, but breathable, functional, and fully accessible.
Your local tailor
When it comes to alterations, sometimes there is no one better to ask than your local tailor. More often than not, tailors would be happy to work with you and help you achieve the optimal fit for your clothing, often without even coming close to breaking the bank. The best part about this is that you rarely have to compromise on fashion or style anymore, because if all it takes is an adjusted neckline, width, length, shorter front/back, etc, oftentimes a tailor can make that fix for you. Although there are still limitations, finding a skilled tailor that can understand and help you achieve all you want out of your wardrobe can truly be a game changer!
If mainstream clothing doesn’t always work for you, we hope that this list was helpful in offering some additional places to explore! We understand that finding adaptive apparel that checks all the boxes is hard, and we are working towards helping shape a future where it becomes a lot easier for everyone to find what they need in fashion—and improvements are being made! With a growing list of shopping options and movements like that of Bezgraniz Couture that work to change the conversation to be more diverse and inclusive, there is great hope moving forward.
Thank you for coming along with us in this mini blog series. If you enjoyed this article, please visit our Stories page and peruse the Parts I-III of Adaptive Clothing 101 to learn more about the topic, as well as to delve deeper into sensory friendly clothing and clothing with alternative fastenings. Let us know which part of Adaptive Clothing 101 was the most helpful, or that was your favorite!