The world of adaptive apparel is an integral part of the modern fashion conversation, and we’ve broken it all down in Adaptive Clothing 101 Part I (and summarized it in our infographic below!). In Part II of this series, we dove into the subcategory of Sensory Friendly Clothing, and now, in Part III, we’re bringing you some wonderful places to find flattering, functional, and quality clothing that offer Alternative Fastenings.
If you or someone you know has a disability, is recovering from a procedure, or is in any other situation where conventional fastenings on mainstream clothing are difficult to work with, consider looking into what these companies have to offer. Just like last time, we’ll suggest several different resources, ranging from well-known brands to startups to well-established adaptive apparel companies.
Kinds of Alternative Closures
Here is a more specific list of commonly used fastenings used in adaptive apparel, to expand upon the few examples presented above:
Velcro on clothing or shoes
Made with pull tabs that make them easier to grasp
Additional zippers (either along a part of or along the length of a garment)
Snap on closures (often on shirts to create ease of putting on/taking off).
The rest of this article will offer some suggestions as to where you can browse and shop for clothing with this diverse array of fastenings!
Where to Buy
Notable Adaptive Clothing Companies offering Alternative Fastenings
These are several remarkable companies that especially focus on making general clothing styles more accessible. Through innovation and a strong purpose, they provide a wealth of options for those that are looking for any kind of alternative fastenings.
“Fashion and Function for all” is the driving mission for this company, and they truly meet so many different needs with their zipper shoes. More specifically, as they describe on their website: “BILLY Footwear incorporates zippers that go along the side of the shoes and around the toe, allowing the upper of each shoe to open and fold over completely. Thus the wearer can place his or her foot onto the shoe footbed unobstructed. Then with a tug on the zipper-pull the shoe closes and secures overtop the user's foot. It's simple. It's easy.” Their incredible selection and versatile designs characterize their collections of universal footwear.
This is an amazing and fashion-forward company that offers stylish, timeless designs that are specially adapted in many different ways to suit any clothing need. For example, they offer trench coats, denim shirts, and other quality pieces with magnetic closures, as well as a classic black dress that can be completely opened from one side via magnetic clasps and a long zipper. They have so much to offer, in all departments: men, women, and non-gendered clothing as well.
This is an extremely reliable, time-proven brand that offers a vast selection of adaptive clothing to make dressing easier for anyone. From blouses to dresses to skirts, they have several options that provide alternative and/or additional fastenings to make dressing more comfortable, convenient, and autonomous. They provide a wealth of different fastening options as well, from magnetic and snap close tops to velcro pants, and anything else you may need in between.
Although their selection for women is quite narrow at the moment, this is a wonderful company that designs clothing that is mindful of post-procedural needs. They do offer a few pieces that are quite unique, including a beautiful, stylish, and soft short sleeve top that is equipped with several zippers along the sleeves, side seam, and the front.
Popular Places/Brands that You Didn’t Know Offer Alternatives.
Outside of the companies that specifically focus on providing different adaptive clothing options, there are several well-known companies that you likely didn’t know also have alternate fastening lines or options. These are a few well known brands that are expanding their selection for those with different needs, and in doing so, are also setting an example of inclusion for other bigger companies to follow.
Nike’s FlyEase collection provides a selection of sneakers for women, men, and kids of all ages, and embodies the iconic Nike brand in a more accessible shoe. These shoes are designed to be easy-on, easy-off, with a slip on and velcro strap design.
Zappos has recently expanded their adaptive clothing and footwear collections to be very impressive, and they have a specific category for alternate closures. Here, you can find polos and hoodies with magnetic buttons, and much more. They are also a retailer that sells adaptive apparel from other reputable companies, so they truly have a lot to offer.
Land’s End (Business)
This reputable clothing company is beginning to test the waters with their adaptive clothing lines, and although the number of options isn’t huge, they do have some wonderfully comfortable clothing, as well as a few pieces with magnetic closures and that are adjustable, such as the Adaptive Blend Chino Skort and the Adaptive Short Sleeve Polo Shirt.
This popular denim company has an entire line of adaptive clothing for both women and men, and offers several classic denim jean styles. They are designed with “ease of dressing in mind”, and are altered to be more accommodating than the typical jean. Their chic and functional styles come with magnetic clasps and a velcro patch to replace the common zipper and button, and they also boast additional velcro waist and side seam closures.
Small Companies and Startups Providing Alternate Fastenings
While belts are not a fashion category that many think of too often, a good belt is often very useful, and often a staple. However, conventional belts can often be more cumbersome than we think; Myself Belts is a wonderful company that has fulfilled that need for a belt that has been adapted to be able to be put on and taken off with just one hand. These belts can wonderfully complement any wardrobe, in function, and in fashion (they offer a great range of more professional to more statement-esque belts).
Etsy is a well-known online platform that supports a host of different creators, and many small, independent designers have listed a great selection of unique pieces that are also wonderfully adaptive, such as this Floral dress with button down front or beautiful wrap dress (pictured below). There are also sellers that expand your options by providing magnetic zippers that you can attach to and modify a piece you already have and love–all in one place. You can find so many different alternative fastening options that are chic and special from small sellers contributing to Etsy’s many adaptive clothing options.
Our little brand will always be one of our favorites in the world of adaptive apparel, and we always aim to deliver on fashion, comfort, and function. Many intimates that we offer have additional and/or alternative fasteners that make some of the highest quality bras and panties also universally accessible. The Elba essential bra has an invisible magnetic fastener in the front, and the Monarch Bikini Panty offers tasteful sexiness that doesn’t sacrifice incredible quality, and is made with two tasteful clasps on either side.
Clothing companies and retailers are beginning to be more inclusive and mindful of inclusivity in their lines, so it is important to bring awareness to what they are offering! We hope that this list provided you with a starting point and some great options if you are looking for alternate fastenings, and we hope that at least one of them can suit your needs!
If you liked this selection, please visit us next week for the last part (Part IV) of Adaptive Clothing 101, where we introduce you to a collection of companies that offer adaptive apparel in the form of altering the fundamental construction. Feel free to also head back to Parts I and II, our previous installments, to learn more about sensory friendly clothing and adaptive apparel as a whole.
Please share which of these companies you’re interested in browsing next, or your go-to place for clothing with alternate closure