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What is Adaptive Clothing? A Complete Guide

A Complete Guide to Adaptive Clothing

Many barriers have been removed over the years for people living with disabilities. But there is still more work to be done to ensure that they feel more independent in their lives. That’s why having an assortment of adaptive clothing that’s both stylish and functional is more important than ever before.

Millions of adults and children all over the U.S. live with a disability. But with adaptive clothing in their wardrobe, these individuals and those who help provide care for them can experience more ease in the dressing process. This will allow them to more easily get on with their day while ensuring maximum comfort and a great look wherever they go!

What is Adaptive Clothing?

Adaptive clothes are specifically designed for children and adults with physical, cognitive or sensory sensitivity. The purpose of this type of clothing is to provide innovative garments that make life more accessible. Inclusive apparel consists of a variety of adjustable, stylish and functional features for people with a wide range of physical and cognitive needs – all while giving them a stylish edge.

Why is Adaptive Apparel Important?

It’s important that you’re comfortable in whatever it is that you’re wearing. With features including abdominal access and wheelchair-friendly options, adaptive apparel makes quality apparel accessible to all. Adaptive clothing can remove barriers by making dressing easier, thus prolonging independence and activity. At Kohl’s, you’ll find the same inclusive fabrics, styles, graphics, and shopping experience that lends you a greater sense of confidence.

Benefits of Adaptive Clothing

Clothing shouldn’t just look good. It should feel good, too. One major benefit of adaptive clothing is that it limits the need for large movements. Simpler closures that require less precision and finger movements reduce the pain associated with putting on garments.

Another benefit of adaptive clothing is that it inspires confidence in the people who wear it. Children and adults with special needs shouldn’t have to compromise their personal style and self-expression. Clothing with stylish, inclusive designs should address their unique needs while giving them the confidence to feel good about what they are wearing.

What Types of Clothing Can Be Adaptive?

We recognize that a little ease goes a long way. That’s why we’re happy to offer adaptive designs from a few of your favorite brands, including Jumping Beans and Sonoma Goods For Life. Our adaptive clothing offers you great options from baby sizes all the way to juniors and adult apparel. 

Adaptive clothing comes in a variety of styles. Look for tops and bottoms featuring 2-way zippers and reinforced belt loops to make dressing easier, while still having the outward appearance of standard clothing. You can also find tops featuring a hidden abdominal access point with a wider neck and hem for easy dressing. Additional styles include using flat seams and tag-free options to allow more comfort on the skin.

Other examples of adaptive clothing include:

  • One-piece outfits with a high rise
  • Clothing that opens at the sides with zipper closures
  • Pants that are cut higher in the back and lower in the front
  • Shoes that the wearer can easily step into, often lace-free
  • Clothes with easy access points for medical equipment

Inclusive Apparel for Adults

You’ll find that many of the clothing designs and features that are available for kids are also available for adults. It’s important that they’re given the same accessible garments as they will likely have the same needs as they make their way into adulthood.

Shirts that have back and side snaps allow adults with limited motor skills to get dressed a little easier. Adults can also benefit from tops and jackets that have wheelchair-friendly designs such as zip-off sleeves or magnetic closures. There’s also a wide range of choices when it comes to finding a comfortable pair of bottoms. Opt for pants that offer a wrap waist or side-zips. Elastic bottoms are another great option that minimizes the hassle of getting the right fit.

In addition to clothes, adaptive footwear is great for everyday activities. This includes shoes with zipper wrap-around closures, larger openings and wider widths. This provides a better fit for those who wear braces on their legs and feet.

Inclusive Clothing for Children

Looking for comfortable boy’s adaptive clothing and girl’s adaptive clothing made for everyday wear? Parents who have children with special needs often have a challenging time finding clothes with features for ease and functionality that adapt to them. Fortunately, you’ll find a wide assortment of adaptive apparel from the brands you know and love at Kohl’s.

In general, some children can be especially sensitive to clothing tags, seams and textures. A child who is focused on how uncomfortable their clothing is can find it hard to focus on other things. Having clothes that provide comfort such as weighted or snug-fitting clothing can help them feel grounded and secure. This not only makes it easier on the child but the parent or caregiver, too.

Comfort is key, especially for children with sensory sensitivity or sensitive skin. All of our kid’s clothing is made of a very soft and smooth cotton blend for maximum comfort. Apparel with adaptive features like zipperless designs, no buttons, and clinical accessibility for certain treatments are ideal.

Kids want the freedom to dress the way they want and fit in with their friends. Opting for clothing with cool graphics and patterns is sure to boost their confidence and give them a sense of belonging. You can even find accessories and apparel featuring their favorite characters from Mickey Mouse & Friends, Toy Story, and Frozen.

Explore Clothing Based on Their Dressing Needs

When it comes to clothing, everyone’s needs are different. The type of adaptive clothing that might work best for someone with limited mobility may not be the right fit for a neurodivergent person. For example, something simple like a tag on a shirt can trigger a reaction from a child with sensory processing issues. However, a child with physical disabilities will have an easier time dressing if their clothing has magnetic closures or Velcro instead of various buttons and zippers.

Adaptive clothing helps both people who require assistance with dressing and those who are able to dress independently. Self-dress adaptive clothing is ideal for individuals who have issues dressing but aren’t completely dependent on someone to do it for them. While they may be able to get dressed independently, this type of clothing has features such as magnets and fasteners that make it easier to put on and take off clothing.

For individuals who need help getting dressed, assisted-dress adaptive clothing is best. Assisted-dress items feature front and back closures that enable the person to be changed from a seated or lying position. This means that they won’t have to lift their arms if they’re unable to while providing discretion and full coverage.

Accessible Clothing Styles

Now that we know what to look for in adaptive clothing for children, let’s dive further into specific garments you can find at Kohl’s! Your kiddo will remain cute and comfortable in our adaptive tees, pants, bodysuits, and hoodies. Many of our shirt styles are tag-free, feature a wider neck for easy dressing and have a hidden opening for abdominal access.

She’ll be absolutely comfortable and stylish in a kid’s dress. We have styles featuring snap shoulder closures and thoughtfully placed pockets. When it comes to their bottoms, our jeans and leggings are designed to have adjustable waistbands. Additionally, each pants design is diaper friendly and brace friendly, giving them the style and convenience they need wherever they go.

Additional Categories of Adaptive Clothing

Abdominal Access & Diaper-friendly Clothing

Conveniently placed snaps, easy-access openings and room to fit over a diaper are just a few features that keep function in mind.

Easy Dressing Clothing

Hook and loop closures, larger neck openings and reinforced belt loops all make getting dressed that much easier.

Seated Comfort Clothing

With seated comfort clothing, higher waistlines provide versatility and comfort over a diaper. There are also hidden leg openings that allow access for braces and cast prosthetics while adjustable pockets ensure all-around comfort.

Sensory-friendly clothing

As mentioned earlier, sensory-friendly clothing is important for children with sensory sensitivities and sensitive skin. Flat and external seams, heat seal tags and knit fabrics provide comfort and feel smooth against the skin, reducing any irritation.

Kohl’s ensures everyone can feel comfortable and look their best every single day. While you’re here shopping for clothes, be sure to also explore adaptive toys that feature stimulus-reward sensory enhancements that keep their mind and fine motor skills active. Then, explore other essential apparel for the entire family at Kohl’s, and ensure everyone is covered in unmatched comfort and style!