Selecting clothing for elderly women requires attention to comfort, movement and easy care. The key to selecting the right fashions is to understand the special needs of the woman who will be wearing them.
Online Shopping Resources
Shopping online for comfortable and easy to put on clothing for older women may offer you a wider choice of styles, fabrics, sizes and other options than other resources. The following vendors cater to the needs of senior women:
The Tog Shop
Since the 40s, The Tog Shop has maintained a reputation for providing comfortable classic and casual styles for the fashionable mature lady. Sizes range from misses to petites to womens, and in addition to fashionable yet functional garments, the product line includes shoes and accessories such as hats, gloves, scarves and other hard-to-find items.
If you are looking for a source for fashionable adaptive clothing for individuals with special dressing needs, Care Apparel probably has just what you are looking for. The product line includes a full range of adaptive and senior clothing items that are easy to get on and off to help both the individual and the caregiver. Shawls, jackets, capes, wraps and ponchos are just a few of the many items that can be purchased here.
Buck & Buck
In addition to being an excellent source of adaptive clothing for home health care and nursing home residents, Buck & Buck offers many value-added services to their customers. Free hemming and labeling are two of their premier services, and if purchasing American made goods is important to you, you'll be glad to know that their items are made in the USA. This is a full product line including tops, bottoms, outwear, sleepwear, swimwear and accessory items.
Elderly women's apparel, bras, shoes and adaptive clothing are just a few of the many special needs items provided by Silvert's. The online store is organized by categories to make it easy to shop by the specific need of an individual such as arthritis clothing or geriatric clothing. With over 80 years of proven service to an elderly clientele, Silvert's is well positioned to help with senior shopping needs.
Just because shoes are designed for sensitive feet or therapeutic purposes doesn't mean that they can't be fashionable as well. Foot Smart stocks a wide range of footwear for every aspect of the elderly woman's lifestyle and special needs.
Special Fashion Needs
Senior and retirement living often means a change in fashion needs. As a woman continues to age, several factors may affect her fashion decisions or cause revisions in her wardrobe:
Changes in energy levels and reactions to medications can make it difficult to dress and perform personal care activities. In addition, older women often find it harder to stay warm and they look for warmer clothes.
Arthritis, muscle weakness, or medical issues can make it complicated, if not impossible, to get dressed and to operate bra closures and buttons. Women may need clothes that are easy to get on and get off from a seated position. They may find that they need to make wardrobe changes to accommodate increased involvement in casual activities such as travel, classes and exercise such as chair exercising, strength training or Tai Chi.
Environmental and Social Concerns
Activities in an active adult or golf retirement community require a wider range of fashions than if a woman has health or mobility issues that require her to be in an assisted living facility or nursing home. On another note, there can also be a change in peer group fashions. Often a woman wants to make changes in her wardrobe to more closely follow the styles worn by a new social group. Finally, because of downsizing to a new living situation, challenges such as less closet and storage space might cause an individual to want to reduce her wardrobe.
Selecting Fashions for Elderly Women
It is important for a woman to feel she is maintaining her independence and that her personal needs are being met with her attire, even if she is not personally selecting the fashion items. If selecting clothing for someone else, continue to seek her input and pay special attention to her comments about what she enjoys wearing. Observe the fashions worn by other women with whom she has contact. Consider factors such as these:
Style and Comfort
Match her personal style as she will probably want to wear the same styles and colors she has worn for many years. If she liked classic styles when she was 50, she will probably still want to wear classic styles. If she was proud of her avant-garde style when she was younger, she will probably not be comfortable in soft colors with teddy bear appliqués.
As women get older, their overall physical stature often shrinks, and they may need smaller sizes and shorter garments. Oversized clothes may be comfortable, but the extra fabric might cause the wearer to stumble and fall. Measure clothing that fits her well to determine what size to purchase if you are unsure of her size and the size tags are no longer readable in her clothing. In addition, avoid closures and seams at the back of the top or on the back of the legs that would become uncomfortable during prolonged sitting.
Ease of Wear and Care
Tiny buttons or snaps and small zippers are all difficult for some elderly women to maneuver. Look for pull-on and wrap-around styles of tops and pants. Front-closure bras may be significantly easier for a woman than having to twist her arms in order to reach around her back.
Look for fabrics that can be machine-washed and -dried in either a home or care situation. Avoid fragile fabrics that cannot stand up to the potentially rough handling of an industrial washer in a care environment or require special care such as hand-washing, hang-drying or ironing. Fabrics should feel soft against sensitive skin.
Look for wraps and shrugs that can be worn over tops and dresses to ward off a chill. Layering is particularly important when an individual is in a group environment where she cannot change the thermostat to meet her particular needs. Wraps and shrugs are particularly good gifts for a nursing home resident.
Shoes should have non-slip soles to minimize the risk of falling. Look for easy-on, easy-off styles that help a woman change or remove her shoes. Athletic styles with Velcro closures can provide a steady, firm base for the feet and are easy to put on and remove.
Several manufacturers have designed special clothing to make dressing and personal care easier. The clothing lets the wearer be comfortable and it makes it easier for a caregiver to assist a person into her clothes or to help with her personal care:
- Side-zip pants with long, wide-tabbed zippers down both side seams
- Open back dresses and tops with large snaps or Velcro-type closures
- Pleats in the front of dresses and skirts to allow fabric to spread over the knees while seated
- Slip-on style shoes
- Shoes with Velcro-type closures
Staying Fashionable Through the Ages
Looking and feeling good is important at any age. Fashion is more than a style, a particular designer label, or even a size; rather, it is an attitude. With some careful planning and the right wardrobe, seniors can continue to enjoy life to the fullest no matter what their circumstance or environment.