Clothes are an essential part of our daily routine. They keep us warm, protect us from the sun, and express our personalities. However, for people who are neurodivergent, wearing clothes can be a challenge. It can be difficult to find the right clothes, keep them in good condition, and feel good in them. Here are some of the struggles that neurodivergent individuals may face when it comes to wearing clothes:


Finding the Right Clothes for Neurodivergents

One of the most significant challenges for people who are autistic or neurodivergent is finding clothes that feel comfortable and fit well. Sensory processing difficulties can make it challenging to tolerate certain fabrics or clothing tags. Individuals who are autistic or have sensory processing disorder may also struggle with the texture or weight of certain fabrics, making it difficult to find clothes that they feel comfortable in.

In addition to sensory challenges, people who are neurodivergent may have difficulty with fine motor skills, making it challenging to manage buttons, zippers, or shoelaces. This can limit their clothing options and make it difficult to dress independently.


Keeping Clothes in Good Condition

Another struggle for people who are neurodivergent is keeping their clothes in good condition. Some individuals may have difficulty with organizational skills, making it challenging to keep track of their clothes or remember where they put them. This can lead to lost or misplaced clothing items.

Individuals with executive functioning difficulties may also struggle with tasks like laundry or taking care of clothes. This can result in clothes not being washed or dried correctly, leading to shrinkage, discoloration, or damage.


Feeling Good in Clothes

Finally, it's essential to feel good in the clothes you wear. For people who are neurodivergent, this can be a challenge. Clothing that is uncomfortable, ill-fitting, or doesn't meet sensory needs can lead to discomfort and anxiety. Additionally, clothing that doesn't fit personal style or express personality can lead to feeling uncomfortable or not like oneself.

Tips for Overcoming Clothing Challenges

If you're neurodivergent and struggling with clothing challenges, there are some strategies you can try to make the process easier:

  • Look for clothes made from soft, breathable fabrics that don't have tags or seams that may irritate skin such as our range at Rare Birds. 
  • Try clothes with different textures, weights, or fabrics to find what feels most comfortable.
  • Consider shopping in places where clothes are inexpensive (such as second-hand shops) or places where returns are free and easy, to be able to try a large variety
  • Vintage and second-hand clothes are often softer because the fibers have been worn and washed multiple times, which can break down the fibers and create a softer texture. The repeated wear and washing of the fabric can also remove any excess starch or sizing that may have been added during the manufacturing process, which can also contribute to a softer feel.
  • Look for clothes with elastic waistbands, Velcro closures, or snap buttons to make dressing and undressing easier.
  • Consider working with an occupational therapist to develop fine motor skills or organizational strategies.
  • Label clothes with color-coded tags or hangers to make it easier to keep track of items.
  • Set reminders or schedules for laundry and clothing care tasks.
  • Shop for clothes that fit your personal style and make you feel confident and comfortable.

In conclusion, wearing clothes can be a challenge for people who are neurodivergent. Sensory processing difficulties, fine motor skill challenges, and executive functioning difficulties can make it difficult to find the right clothes, keep them in good condition, and feel good in them. However, by trying different strategies and working with professionals, it's possible to overcome these challenges and feel comfortable and confident in the clothes you wear.
April 08, 2023 — Clementine Schouteden