Adaptive Clothing for Disabled Individuals – Be Confident and Stylish

Fashion has always been a way to express your style and personality. And adding a few new pieces to your closet is a way to relieve and re-energize everything. It’s a way I express myself to the world, making me feel alive and confident. 

Tamara and I were diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at the age of 27, and on TwinsCoast2Coast, we share our stories and thoughts to spread awareness and help lift people with related chronic illnesses to live a happy and healthy life. 

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While we are very different individuals, we share the same outlook on life. We like to dress up and be comfortable while looking stylish. As our MS has progressed, it’s been challenging to find stylish and new fashions. The fashion industry doesn’t seem to be aware of physically disabled people’s needs and requirements. Designers seem to be moving on a single track that is meant for a few selected body types. 

This raises an important question- Are there adaptive clothing brands for people with disabilities, and what changes are brands making to expand and fulfill the requirements of disabled people? 

Come on, let’s find out!

Changes are Sweeping the Fashion Industry 

 A small number of brands produce adaptive and comfortable clothing for disabled people. Tommy Hilfiger, Zappos, Ffora, and Slick Chicks are examples of some of the adaptable clothing line brands that offer a wide selection of clothing, keeping the wants and needs of all their consumers at the heart of their designs .  

Tommy Higfiler’s initiative – Tommy’s Adaptive – started with adaptive clothing for children, a selection he later expanded to adults with all types of disabilities. His approach was both thoughtful and smart.

“Tommy Adaptive’s mission is to be inclusive and empower people of all abilities to express themselves through fashion,” the company said in a press release. Besides providing clothing for people with special needs, the brand also runs advertisements and campaigns with the help of disabled personalities like dancer Chelsie Hill and motivational speaker Mama Cax. 

The company does not just design clothing, but also tries out new approaches that align with the values and mission of the company. They have produced advertisements with models that speak to this targeted niche and enhance this community’s sense of confidence and style. They have been receptive to customer feedback, filling in the gaps and creating adaptive clothing. 

Yet there still remains a huge gap in terms of experimentation and style for non-traditional bodies.

Changes must be made 

A number of brands have started expanding their clothing lines specifically for disabled consumers and creating clothes that can be worn by both non-disabled and disabled consumers. Here are a few additional I believe need to be changed to bring change in the industry and overall public view. 

Utilize Disabled Models

Brands should use disabled models to market clothing to target and connect with this audience. Utilizing these models on social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube are another way to normalize these models to all types of consumers.

Change The View Of Functional Clothing

Individuals with disabilities can be seen as unsightly and people may assume they feel the same about themselves. This makes the designer focus on incorporating less style into their functional clothing, assuming that disabled people want to conceal and cover themselves, almost hiding from the public. But being disabled is no reason to hide! People are people! Extroverts – whether they use a cane, crutches or a wheelchair – are still extroverts. And that may mean they prefer color and sparkles in their clothes. Functional clothing can and should be as stylish as non-adaptive clothing.  

Challenge The Assumptions

Designers might have some assumptions that the people who wear adaptive clothing aren’t interested in current fashions or trends. As a woman who loves bright colors and fashionable clothes, it’s a constant struggle to find current clothing styles that can be altered to fit my body and chair. But disability does not make people less interested in fashion. Many in the community would like to wear the latest trend, but why is it always up to us to remake today’s clothes to fit our lifestyle?

How to choose the right clothes for you?

These five tips will help you pick the right type of clothing – maybe you’ll discover some new options!


The fabric plays a crucial role for any type of dress, but the length of the dress may be more important if you are using a disability device. Fabric should always be skin-friendly. I find maxi dresses to be elegant and comfortable but I would like to have less fabric in them as they are difficult to manage (as the extra cloth may get caught up in the wheelchair). 

Comfort in dressing 

Clothes should be comfortable and stylish, as they should be easy to slip on and off without too much strain on the body. For people in wheelchairs, shoes should be light and have anti-skid soles, adjustable straps, long shoelaces, and pull tabs so that they can be easily put on and taken off.

Reducing mobility 

The clothing should include easy-access snaps, fabrics that stretch easily, and convenient designs for elderly and disabled people. Large for relaxed necklines and loose-fitting arms, pants with a side zipper, elastic that is loose or adjustable, and magnetic closures instead of zippers. 

Home try offers for online shoppers  

Look for options that allow you to wear the clothing at home and with any medical devices so you can confirm you’ve made the right choice. Tommy Adaptive clothing can be found on TommyHilfiger.com. Other specialized brands include EQL Threads (site launching in late 2023.) Both JCPenney and Kohls also offer adaptive clothing – and Amazon is a great place to start your search.

Detailed descriptions

Look for in-depth descriptions to help determine if a particular style of clothing is suitable for you. Brands that use ambulatory and disabled models for the product can help you better understand the flow of the garments.

Final Thoughts 

I can imagine it’s challenging for designers to create and market adaptive fashion. Yet the disabled community is growing, and deserve to wear stylish, chic and affordable clothing. Let’s hope that more designers follow the lead of the few brands serving this market and we soon have more choices that make us look – and feel – fabulous!!

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