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Tips on Adapted Clothing

By Pam Clifton, owner of Adaptations by Adrian

If dressing is difficult, try mail order catalogs for easy-on clothes. You don't have to buy two sizes too large! If your clothes fit your body and your sense of style, you'll have a better day! Go for it!

If we consumers patronize adapted clothing catalog companies, we'll keep them alive to determine and meet our needs. They fail because they don't really understand customer needs, and the market is small. We need these products, and we can educate the marketplace. Companies started by a personal need will usually listen to your needs.

Soon we'll all be on the Internet with a connection through our TVs. Today, a librarian at most public libraries will help you learn how to search the Internet at no cost. Search by typing key words like "adapted clothing + disability" into a search engine. Print a list of 800 numbers to call. Most companies offer exchanges and returns. They can also be emailed with questions about their products. Another option is to go to a manufacturer or a to a dress-maker or tailor directly.

Here are some tips:

  • Family Service agencies and the Department of Rehabilitation reimburse for clothes or purchase them when it means independence.
  • Adapted clothes equip us for life, so ask about tax deductions too.
  • Abilities Expos are useful places for seeing modified clothing.Tell vendors where and how your clothes should open. Look for longer openings and full side zippers.
  • Velcro can stay soft and clean with a little care, and is the easiest fastener.
  • When you are interested in a product, ask how long the company has been in business.
  • Sitter pants require careful measuring. Seated, your waist thickens and torso shortens; the seat needs to be deeper and the pant leg longer. Measure accurately, or you'll be mailing the pants back. Adrian's Closet, Rolli-Moden, and USA Jeans make sitter's pants. The rise (seat depth) runs from 3 (Adrian's Closet) to more than 6. Measure from back waist to front. Ask the maker for the rise measurement. If you sit most of the time, you'll like sitter pants!
  • Buck & Buck and Caring Concepts make attractive geriatric clothes.
  • Nicer clothes mean better quality of life.
  • Avoid words like "Smock, "Nursing Home Apparel, Health Care Apparel or "Bib." Trisha's of Acton makes an attractive nightshirt. Back closures for easy on or to foil undressing: Adrian's Closet, Buck and Buck, Caring Concepts, and a host of companies on the Internet.
  • Wheelers: rainwear runs from $70- $250. Most $70 capes are not waterproof. Ask for waterproof, not water resistant or water repellent. Plan to spend at least $70 for at least six years of good service. Get the dimensions of the cape, and measure. Ask if machine laundry is possible. If the laundry ruins the "waterproofing, the cape isn't waterproof.
  • Incontinence: Join one of the many internet groups to discover products. 10-20 incontinence sites and medical equipment central sites are useful. Adrian's Closet, Buck and Buck, Special Clothes for Special Kids (800)-201-8300), and other companies have drop front pants or snap inseams for changes. My Pool Pal and Special Clothes for Special Kids make swim diapers.
  • Enjoy your life! Look good, and be comfortable!

Go to the WheelchairNet Discussion Area to ask questions or share your thoughts on this topic with others.

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Last Updated: 3-2-2006

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No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to WheelchairNet and the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology.

Please note this information is provided a archival information from the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Wheeled Mobility from 1993 to 2002.