Adaptive Clothing

Adaptive Clothing

What is adaptive clothing?

Adaptive clothing is garments and shoes specifically designed for those who struggle to dress independently (due to mobility issues, access for equipment eg feeding tube), or those for whom regular clothing is uncomfortable or ill-fitting (due to sensory issues, wheelchair users, those who need to accommodate splints and supports)

How is the clothing adapted?

Adaptive clothing can include a variety of useful features:

  • Velcro or magnetic fastenings for those who can’t manipulate buttons or zips with ease
  • Discreet additional openings to increase ease of dressing/undressing
  • Adjustable leg/waist measurements
  • Alternative design to ‘hide’ openings which are in an unconventional position
  • Ability to access medical equipment which is close to the body (feeding tube, stoma, etc)
  • Higher waist at the back particularly comfortable for wheelchair users
  • ‘Soft’ seams and tagless clothes for those who experience sensory discomfort

What I have found

  • Tommy Hilfiger.  Unfortunately, there are two disadvantages (well, one and a half disadvantages)
  • It is not available in New Zealand or Australia - the line has been "specifically developed for the US market"
  • The range is only for children

    • There is a wide range of adaptive clothing, for all ages
    • They carry a large range of sensory friendly clothes
    • They don’t ship to New Zealand

  • New Zealand
      • Very little available, particularly for adults (you’ll find a great infants/kids clothing website though, in NZ)
      • Adult clothes which are available are suitable for the older lady/gentleman

  • Australia
      • Slightly more choice of younger looking clothes
      • Once you include shipping, rather expensive

  • Marks & Spencer (UK)
      • Have just released a range of ‘Easy Dressing’ (3 months - 16 years), and ‘Specialist Clothing’ (0 - 3 months), to help with mobility, tube access and sensory issues
      • No adult range
      • Not available on the NZ site

    I have seen other good American or European sites, but the cost of shipping puts them out of the picture.


    • Approach a university/college with a fashion design course (I was going to do this but as usual, I keep running out of time - anyone else fancy doing this?)
    • Make your own - tricky if, like me, you’re the one with the mobility issue
    • Let me know if you have found anything else and I’ll keep you updated ……..