Sensory-Friendly Clothing Tips

Cloud City in Rainbow copyThe following are my personal tips for finding clothing I can wear. I present it here in case it helps you to locate clothes that are easier for you to wear when you have autism and/or sensory-processing disorder. Enjoy!

Get to know your sensitivities. What kind of textures irritate your skin? What kind of textures must be avoided at all costs? It sounds unpleasant, but it’s important to have a clear idea of what you can cross off your list immediately. Consider a trip to a fabric store to learn what textures and sorts of fabric are not tolerable for you.

Get to know your preferences. What kind of textures feel good to you? What kind of textures can you tolerate? Again, a trip to the fabric store can help you differentiate between the wide variety of fabric types.

Look for the fabrics that appeal to you when you are looking for clothes. Always be wary though. Try it on first. I’ve looked at things, even touched them with my hands and thought, “okay, I can wear this”. Then I get it home, wear it once, and never wear it again because I can’t handle how it feels to wear it.

Look for soft clothing, but make sure it is a kind of soft that you can tolerate having on your body for an extended period of time. There are many different kinds of soft, and they are different types of fabric, different cloth compositions, etc.!

Look for loose-fitting garments. I personally cannot handle things that cling to my skin, and I think that’s a common sensory issue. In particular, watch out for garments that cling around the waist, or under the armpits, or along the wrists. They might look okay, until you wear them and find them intolerable.

Watch out for clothes that have seams in places where your skin is sensitive. For me, this means that I can’t handle seams that are too close to my skin, especially when they are touching my armpits. It makes my skin get irritated and I start to sweat and it gets gross and ruins the clothes too!

Be aware of the chemicals and dyes in clothing. Make sure you can tolerate the chemicals, fragrances, and dyes from the laundry detergents, fabric softeners, and dryer sheets you use. Always wash your clothes after you get them from the store before you wear them, because they tend to have lots of chemicals on them, which can very easily irritate the skin, adding to any sensory problems that may already exist for you.

Oversize and drapey is usually best. I find I can’t really wear anything that hugs me too tightly or I’m extremely uncomfortable. As a result, I buy drapey-fitting clothes and I usually buy everything a size up.

Personally, my default “outfit” when I’m home is a pair of loose-fitting boxers and a loose-fitting, soft, light cotton t-shirt. My default outfit when I’m in public is a pair of well-worn, soft, loose pants and a loose-fitting, soft t-shirt. If it’s cold, I wear a soft hoodie or a light flannel shirt over top.

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2 thoughts on “Sensory-Friendly Clothing Tips

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