Self-Dressing Clothing – As you get older, everyday tasks such as dressing yourself can become a challenge. Wrangling tiny buttons or contorting yourself to wiggle into a dress might not be options anymore. However, you don’t have to give up dressing yourself completely. There’s a whole category of garments out there, called self-dressing clothing, designed just for your situation. Here are 12 features to look for as you shop:
Larger Buttons and Holes
If you’re committed to buttons, then look for garments that have larger buttons and buttonholes, which are easier to work with limited mobility in your hands. If you need to, you can look into getting a button hook tool, which makes it easier to work buttons of all sizes. If buttons are too difficult for you, then read on to discover plenty of alternative options.
Snaps for Self-Dressing Clothing
If you’re ready to bid goodbye to buttons, there are many different alternative closures that you can try. One of our favorite replacements for buttons are snaps, which mimic the look of buttons while being much easier to work. They stay fastened securely, yet can be opened easily at a moment’s notice.
Hook and Loop Closures
Hook and loop is another alternative type of closure. This is especially popular on shoes, but may also be used on garments as well. While this closure is very secure and easy to work, it does have a tendency to catch stray threads, lint and other debris. Certain types of hook and loop are also very thick and can be uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time, so look for garments with thinner, softer closures.
Zippers with Big Tabs
Zippers can be great for self-dressers — if they are strategically used. Look for garments with a minimal number of zippers and make sure they are in places that are easy to reach (so no tops or dresses that zip up the back). Zippers with larger pull tabs will be easier to grasp, so bear that in mind if you struggle with smaller closures. If thick metal zippers bother you, seek out thinner, softer zippers made out of plastic instead.
Magnetic fasteners are a lesser known alternative to zippers and buttons, but they’re really fantastic for self-dressers. Popular in adaptive clothing, magnetic closures are easy to open and closer simply by bringing the two fabric panels together or apart. The magnets will do all the work for you, making it easier than ever to get dressed and undressed.
You can also get rid of closures altogether thanks to pants with elastic waistbands. These pants simply pull up and down whenever you need to change, which means that you’ll be dressed in a snap. Elastic waistbands also eliminate the need for belts, suspenders and other pesky add-ons that are used to hold up pants with non-elasticized waistbands.
Wide Necklines for Self-Dressing Clothing
Similar to pants, there are some shirts that are made in a pull-over style, getting rid of closures altogether. However, unlike pants, these shirts usually don’t have elastic around the neckline and armholes, which can make it difficult to take them on and off. Instead, look for shirts with wide necklines and larger armholes that can easily be pulled on and off as necessary.
Different Front and Backs
There’s nothing worse than struggling into an outfit, only to realize that you’ve put it on backwards and have to start all over again. We recommend seeking out self-dressing tops, pants, dresses and other garments that have a clearly marked front and back to prevent this problem from happening to you. If all else fails, look for the tag before struggling into a garment.
Stretchy Fabrics for Self-Dressing Clothing
Whether your clothes are pull-on style or not, having some stretch in the fabric is essential to comfort and ease. Check the tags or item description and see if the fabric has any elastane, spandex and/or lycra in it. All of these materials provide stretch to otherwise static fabric. Even just five percent of one of these stretchy fibers will make a difference in the fabric — and the higher the percentage, the greater the stretch.
Low Profile Seams for Self-Dressing Clothing
Since seams don’t usually stretch, having seams that are thinner and lower profile can make it easier to get dressed. Having smaller seams also usually equates to more comfort, as thicker seams can chafe, scratch or leave impressions in your skin. Feel the inside of the garment to see how much the seam sticks out from the fabrics and get a sense of how stiff it is.
Shoes can be one of the trickiest parts of an outfit, and they present a trip-and-fall hazard if they don’t fit properly. Many older adults find slip-on shoes to be the easiest to put on by themselves. Look for pairs with Velcro tabs so you can adjust the fit and ensure that they aren’t too loose. If you have a little more mobility in your hands, shoes with a zipper closure may also work for you. If your feet tend to swell a lot or you’re having a surgical procedure soon, then you might want to look into dedicated post-surgery shoes.
Speaking of trip-and-fall hazards, you can help keep yourself safe at home by wearing slip-resistant shoes — even inside. These shoes have textured rubber treads on the bottom to help you step surely and avoid slipping and falling. As an added bonus, wearing shoes in the house will also help keep your feet warm.
Dedicated self-dressing clothing can help you remain independent for longer and make you feel empowered no matter your age. Check out self-dressing clothing if you want to make getting dressed the easiest part of your day.