Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Clothes shopping for your child with disabilities just got easier: thanks, Zappos


This post is sponsored by Zappos Adaptive; opinions and excitement are my own.

Mom fact of life: I spend more time clothes shopping for my children than I do for me, typically online at about 11:30 p.m. Buying stuff for Max can be particularly challenging. Because his fingers are stiff from the cerebral palsy, he needs pants that he can easily pull up and down (even the elastic waistband on sweatpants can be too tight for him to manipulate) and shoes that he can fasten himself.

You can imagine how gleeful I was to hear that Zappos just debuted a collection devoted to adaptive clothing for kids, teens, men and women: Zappos Adaptive: Functional and Fashionable Products to Make Life Easier. As in, easier for your child and you.

The curated selection of tops, pants, dresses, shorts and underwear includes ones that are reversible and have tear-away tags (they come off with barely a tug). The fabrics are really soft, the pants have elastic waistbands and there are no buttons. The shoes are easy-access and slip on or use bungees and cords; there are ones that can be worn with orthotics, too. Basically, there are options for children and adults with cerebral palsy, autism, Down syndrome, sensory issues and any condition that can impair fine-motor skills or mobility.

Columbia Kids Silver Ridge Pull-On Pants in British Tan and 4Ward Clothing Four-Way Reversible Long Sleeve Jersey Top in Black/Sky. The name 4Ward, Zappos' own line, represents enabling people with challenges to move forward, being fashion forward and clothes that are four-way reversible—front, back, inside and out.

The waistband is on the loose side, so pants are easier to handle.

You can browse by need in categories such as "Sensory Friendly" and "Orthotic Friendly (Includes AFO)." Brands include Columbia, Adidas, Under Armour and Vans, along with 4Ward and Independence Day, an exclusive Zappos adaptive clothing line created by a former CNN news anchor who's mom to a child with autism.

Mr. Handsome in an Adidas Kids UFB Reversible Jersey in Gray/Solar Yellow and 4Ward Clothing Four-Way Reversible Pants in Navy/Oatmeal.

The waistband on these pants is especially thick and stretchy. 

The idea for the collection started with a call from a concerned grandmother. A Zappos staffer in customer service listened to a granny who needed to exchange her grandson's shoes. She noted that he had autism, and trouble tying laces. As he got older, finding shoes was becoming a challenge. Bingo!


It is all sorts of awesome that a major mainstream website is offering clothing and shoe options for people with disabilities. The clothes look stylish and Max, who increasingly cares about what he wears, thinks they are cool. He can now browse the same site where his sister and I shop. This is just the start; selections will expand, and you can share thoughts about clothing you'd like to see by clicking "Give feedback." I'm hoping for tops with magnetic button closures.

It is also amazing, of course, to see your child with special needs enabled.

Let's talk about those brilliant sneakers. Sabrina has been a fan of Converse for years. Max hasn't been into them, a good thing because getting standards high-tops on would be difficult since his feet are pretty tight.

As Max and I were browsing the collection he spotted a pair of Converse Kids Chuck Taylor All Star Easy Slip in red (fireman red, he noted) and fell in love. They were just what we needed; the laces are elasticized, and two flaps at the back close with hook-and-loop fasteners.



Max couldn't wait to wear the sneakers. I helped slip his feet into them. Then he closed them on his own, and that made both of us really happy.

11 comments:

  1. Fabulous. Now, someone has to work on Amazon providing similar curation. I particularly like purposeful selection of items from a "regular" line that might fit particular needs + the addition of adaptive by design products.

    What did Max think of the 4Ward clothes? Does it work to be able to reverse front and back, in terms of comfort and fit?

    And, those Converse shoes are great. I myself decided when I was pregnant that I was never going to tie my shoes again, and have pretty much succeeded in finding shoes that work under that constraint (don't play sports, so haven't had to worry about those specific shoes). I'm going to check out the Converse for myself. I've never been willing to deal with the lacing of the high tops, though, I thinkt he shoes are cute.

    zb

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    1. Zb, Zappos is actually owned by Amazon! But yes, the more, the merrier. And yes, it's great to have a curated grouping from mainstream products that work for our children. Max was able to work the waistband of the 4Ward pants. Although that didn't make him particularly excited, I was! The fabric is also soft. He seemed really comfy in them. Since he is not yet putting his own pants on and off, the front/back fit wasn't a benefit for him. And yes, those Chucks are GREAT.

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  2. And, as usual for special needs ANYTHING, the prices are ridiculously high. I'm happy to see the Zappo line. I'm unhappy with, yet again, prices too high for my wallet.

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    Replies
    1. While they certainly weren't a bargain, I thought the prices were reasonable for adaptive clothing. To me, this is promising. The more companies like Zappos offer adaptive clothing, the less it will be a specialty item—and hopefully, the lower the price.

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    2. Seems like the curated version of clothing that would be suitable for adapted use could be done by others -- I mentioned Amazon, but Target, Kohl's, others could do it too. Seems like it could be a public service collaboration to coordinate a group of people with adaptive needs and a store to produce the list. It does require some management, since the clothes change so regularly. But I see a market, since there are a fair number of parents looking for clothes that fit these characteristics.

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  3. They actually have cute shoes in my size!!! (6W)

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    Replies
    1. That's great, Anna! Sending you lots of good shoe shopping vibes.

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  4. Oh I totally need to browse through this and see if they have small sizes for my daughter!


    Paige
    http://thehappyflammily.com

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  5. Oh my gosh. Amending my comment. I just saw Orthodic friendly children's shoes and gasped "shut up!" at my computer! I love you for sharing this.

    Paige
    http://thehappyflammily.com

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    Replies
    1. I literally just LOL'd at the thought of you saying "shut up" to your computer. I know, it is amazingly helpful to have a dedicated grouping of orthotic-friendly shoes.

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  6. This post makes me so happy! My kiddo with CP is only 3.5 and I'm not focusing a lot yet on teaching him to dress/undress himself independently (because there are lots of other things for us to work on!), but it's great knowing there will likely be adaptive clothing options available for him when he's older. Those clothes from Zappos look nice. I especially like the orthotic-friendly sneakers!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for sharing!



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