Clothing and Older Adults

Well dressed older man


Who wants to wear "old people clothes"?

This is a common sentiment among the older adults who come to our Longevity Explorer meetings or read this website, especially when the discussion turns to clothes that fall into the category of "adaptive clothing". 

On the other hand, there are many situations where clothing designed for older adults needs to diverge from what the fashion industry designs for people in their 20's and 30's. There are changes in body shape, and conditions like arthritis, tremor, or peripheral neuropathy, that require some rethinking of how clothing functions.

This is the "Topic Hub" where we collect the results of our explorations into clothing for older adults. We are seeking clothing that is stylish. And clothing that has specific functions that help it adapt to some of the physical and mental changes that occur as we age.


Featured Content: Clothing and Older Adults


Arthritis Sufferers: Struggling with Clothing?

We have been looking for  good arthritis clothing solutions. These products range from various special shoes for arthritis to a special type of arthritis bra. This article uses videos from around the web to demonstrate some of those solutions, and we add our comments and questions. 


More: Clothing and Older Adults


Explorer Discussions: Clothing & Accessories

To Women's Clothing Designers: We Need to Talk!

Explorer Judy expects pockets in garments when she is shopping for new clothes.



Help! Women’s Jewelry Clasps

What aids are there to make putting on women’s jewelry easier?

With the clasps being so tiny and senior vision and hand dexterity getting worse, it is difficult to fasten a necklace or put on the backs of earrings. Short of ceasing to wear jewelry, what are some options that would help?...



Supportive and Fashionable Shoes: Opportunity?

An adult daughter Explorer seeks a special type of shoe on behalf of her mother, who wants a sturdy shoe to prevent falling but at the same time is good looking.



Button Hook Endorsement

Explorer Rita reports that the Good Grips button hook tool she took home to test performed excellently well.



Easy-On Swimsuit, good for arthritis

Explorer Gabrielle introduced a product designed to make putting a swimsuit on and taking it off easier for sufferers of arthritis or other motion-limiting conditions.



Help for Arthritis Sufferers

Explorer Ayanna starts the discussion by asking how to make things easier for arthritic hands.



Clothing Gadgets for Ease While Dressing @ Cal Presy

The group handled and commented on several devices designed to make dressing easier for persons with injured or arthritic joints. Some were more efficient than others, but all agreed about the need and the benefits of such tools.



Clothing Gadgets for Arthritic Hands @ EVC

Group members inspected and tested various dressing aids, then discussed the pros and cons of each.



Arthritis Tools for Dressing @ SSF

The group examined and discussed several devices to help people when dressing with limited range of motion or arthritic hands.



Arthritis Gadget discussion @SRC

Members discuss the innovations for making it easier to get dressed when arthritic hands and other disabilities make it difficult. Velcro makes an appearance, but has its negatives as well as positives.



The world needs better fashion for seniors

A recurring theme among our groups of older adults is the dearth of well designed and attractive clothing for older adults. Hear this discussion of the issue.



Medication Reminder and Velcro Shirt Closures

I need a way to help not forget to take my medications on time. AND, I have trouble with my shirt buttons and want to get a short with Velcro closures but don't know where to go.



Clothing: Arthritis and Parkinsons. Geriatric Care manager insights

In this interview summary, Care Manager Diane Loeb, LCSW, describes her observations of past clients who have had difficulty with dressing, and reveals her approach to finding garments that accommodate their needs. Vivian Tsai, student of industrial design at Academy of Art University in San Francisco, California, conducts the interview.



Points to Consider when Designing Clothing for Elders

Be mindful of limitations in fine motor tasks and range of motion when approaching design of garments for older adults. Even the ergonomics of the closet can be important to making the task of dressing much easier to negotiate.



Finding footwear is tricky for arthritis sufferer

Footwear posed a problem for me until I discovered a sock assist that is readily available and a dressing stick that helps me take my socks off. It is still very difficult to put on compression stockings, but I don't see any solution. They need to be tight fitting, but it aggravates the...



They are frail and slow but still want to look nice. Where are the designers?

I work in a CCRC and there are a couple of quite elderly women who have dressed with care and style all their lives.

Now that they are more frail, dressing is a real chore and frustration to them and accessories? Forget it. Those loving touches of earrings, brooches and scarves are just...



Buttoning Shirt Sleeves: hard if you have Parkinson's

As my Parkinson's Disease is entering it's eighth year I find it increasingly difficult to button my shirt sleeves which takes some dexterity even for those that don't have PD. I would like to see button snaps on the sleeves for now and eventually I would imagine I am going to need it for...



Key words: 
adaptive clothing, arthritis clothing, stylish clothing for older adults

Last Updated: January 03, 2020.