When it comes to back-to-school clothes shopping, your kid’s all about perfecting “the look.” And with on-trend adaptive clothing lines galore to choose from, even issues like Sensory Processing Disorder or other special needs won’t hold your fashion-forward kiddo back. This BTS season it’s ready, set, shop … for everyone. Keep reading to see what we found.
This brand-new inclusive line of kids' clothing from JCPenney has something for every shape, size, style and ability. Sizes range from 2T-22, the clothing is gender-neutral, has adaptive features like sensory-friendly seaming, hook and loop closures, hidden abdominal openings, magnetic zippers and no tags.
The Good Day Lab's Clean Shield T-Shirts
Imagine a world where spills don't actually stay on that school shirt. Yup, The Good Day Lab has a line of comfortable 100% cotton t-shirts that also have an added clean shield technology that actually repels liquids. Soft and breathable and offered in eight colors, kids who struggle with anxiety won't have to worry about staining their clothes. And, our editor's kids tried these out and can totally vouch for them!
Kohl’s sensory-friendly and adaptive clothing lines include special features like flat seams, longer lengths, abdominal access and two-way zippers (to name a few), indistinguishable from the rest of the brand. You'll find these inclusive favorites when you shop the Jumping Bean, SO and Urban Pipeline brands online or in the store.
While this line isn't technically considered to be adaptive, the clothes have tagless, itch-free labels, covered elastic waistbands and flat seams, which are perfect features for a kiddo who feels everything. With adorable graphic tees, leggings, dresses, shorts and even underwear, you'll be able to find plenty to outfit your child this fall.
Say hello to a boxer short that's got a new perspective. These comfy, shorter than average, no-fly boxers are made with girls in mind (but that doesn’t mean boys don’t love them too!). And they’ve earned the sensitive-kid seal of approval thanks, in part, to their super soft organic cotton fabrics. Pair that with kid-designed patterns, and you’ve got your new favorite undies … jammies … shorts to fit under dresses …. basically whatever you need them to be.
Sensory Smart Clothing Co.
It helps that Sensory Smart Clothing Co. owner/mom Alison started designing clothes for her own sensory-sensitive kiddo to start because when she started the design process, her experience led her to choose soft fabrics, outside seams and pockets, and to get rid of tags altogether. When you shop her look, you’ll find a collection of graphic tees, soft pants and leggings and underpants that feature subdued colors and understated patterns and graphics. Plus, they won’t scratch or bother kids the way everyday clothes can. Casual and cute is always a winning combo.
Extra credit: You can find ever-elusive slim-fit sweats here. A unicorn find, for sure!
Editor's Note: The shop is closed at the current time, but will reopen on August 16th, 2021
Universally designed Billy Footwear is a blend of function and fashion, so everyone can rock cool kicks, no matter who they are. What makes them so accessible to everyone is their design—a simple full zipper that runs from toe to top so they open completely, making it easy for feet to just slip right in. A simple zipper tug closes them snugly around the wearer’s feet. And the funky patterns and shimmery metallics give them total kid-appeal.
Extra credit: Billy Footwear’s toddler line is also great for littles. Shop them here.
Cat & Jack Adaptive
From the moment Target debuted its Cat & Jack Adaptive clothing line, it’s been the go-to for easy, affordable clothing options for kids with special needs. And it runs the gamut. From wheelchair-friendly options to clothes that offer abdominal access, to tagless and seamless clothes for kids with sensory issues, you can find it all here. The best part? Their adaptive line has the same playful graphics and colorful patterns you can find on all their clothing. Plus, with most items topping out under $15, it's easy on the wallet. And who doesn’t love that during BTS shopping season?
Extra credit: Don't miss Target's adaptive Halloween line that has functional and creative costumes for everyone!
Lands' End Adaptive
Quality and function are what Lands' Ends bring to the adaptive clothing stage. And easy dressing—for everyone—has driven their designs. Offering a full line of school uniform pieces that replace buttons and zippers with magnets, and include magnetic openings to accommodate leg foot braces, they’ve thought of pretty much everything. No more morning hassle as you rush the kids out the door because they can throw on these school uniforms with ease … and independence.
Extra credit: Sensory-friendly tags are part of the whole package here, too.
Patti + Ricky
Consider Patti + Ricky your one-stop shop for every special need under the sun. Founder Alexandra Connell has curated collections for people of all abilities. Looking for magnetic shirts? They’ve got them. How about Velcro belts? Those too. And our favorite, Chewelry (yep, it’s exactly what it sounds like), is a must-have for kids with sensory sensitivities who like to fidget or chew. Recently they released Braille shirts, by Braille'iant in both kid's and parent's sizes that allow you to customize a name or saying in Braille right onto the shirt.
Kids who dig weight or pressure to help alleviate anxiety or mitigate responses related to ADHD, Autism or SPD can find everything they need to dress for success at Kozie Clothes. From compression clothing (think: long, short and double-layered tee’s as well as pants) to weighted vests and special swimwear, Kozie offers the building blocks of a functional wardrobe. And the removable tags, elastic bands and multi-use pockets are a bonus.
Extra credit: If their weighted and compression clothes are a hit, check out the weighted blanket, too.
Braille Code Brands, Inc.
It was Gracie’s son, Wani, who inspired her to create her brilliant braille patches. When Wani was younger, he wanted to be able to get dressed on his own but struggled with things like lining up buttons and getting his socks on the right way. Designed for kids who are blind or are visually impaired, these raised braille patches are easily sewn on or ironed onto socks, shoes and shirts. And they let kids figure out left from right (for shoes) or back from the front (for socks) by simply reading. Kids can also use them to line up buttons on their Sunday best dress shirts.
Extra credit: Check out Gracie’s book, What’s Cool About Braille Code School?
Whether your kiddo needs mobility or motor skill support, putting on socks can be a challenge. But the reinforced loops on EZ socks make it … well, e-z-er. This simple redesign is helping lots of kids gain independence over every aspect of getting ready for school in the morning. And the sock patterns? All we can say is "super cute!"
Extra credit: Tweens and teens can get in on this simple sock design too.
Tommy Hilfiger Adaptive
If your kiddo loves a patriotic red, white and blue pattern or a snappy plaid, then Tommy Hilfiger’s adaptive line was made for her. Featuring seated wear, clothes that fit prosthetics, easy closures and more, Tommy’s been designing adaptive clothing since 2016. We love the colorful choices you’ll find here and the shop-by solution option that helps narrow choices for kids and parents.
Extra credit: The adaptive clothing line looks the same as the rest of the TH collection. Universal design at its best!
—Allison Sutcliffe with Gabby Cullen