Getting dressed when you have arthritis: tips on how to make it easier

25 October 2021

Clothes can make us feel good, boost our confidence and improve our mood.

We know it can be tricky to find clothes that you love to wear and clothes that are easy to put on and take off without hassle. Even small changes can make a difference by giving back confidence and helping to maintain independence.

It takes just a few simple adaptations to wardrobe essentials to make them more accessible. Find what’s right for you and what’s comfortable. These might include:

  • Hanging clothes to dry to minimise the amount of ironing you do
  • Cheering yourself up by wearing your favourite outfit or accessories
  • Using a gadget to help, such as a long handle shoehorn to help get shoes on.

Here’s more top tips on ways to help make getting dressed easier when you have arthritis.

Go for loose clothing which is easy to get on and off

Choose loose and stretchy clothing as they can be easier to put on and take off and are less restrictive.

Leggings are more manageable than tights and give much-needed warmth when paired with long tops or jumpers. If jeans are uncomfortable for you, then jeggings or elasticated trousers are great options.

Wear layers if you know temperature regulation is important for you and choose clothes without buttons, if these are challenging for you.

Use gadgets to help you

Learn how you can make your life easier and do a quick Google search to see what’s available. Here’s a couple of ideas from Arthr.

You can lace Zubits magnets onto your own shoelaces. When separated, you can easily slip into a wide-open shoe. You can close the magnets with a simple magnetic click and then you are good to go.

The McAnallen sock-aid allows you to put on your socks in a seated position without needing to bend down and, it can be used with one hand.

Sock aid demo

The McAnallen sock-aid allows you to put on your socks in a seated position without needing to bend down and, it can also be used with one hand

Make simple 'getting dressed' plans

Sit down and get dressed, as this improves your balance when you are putting clothes or shoes on.

Organise your clothes for next day and lay items out before getting dressed. For example, lay a coat open in a chair, sit down in the chair and dress into it. The chair will help to keep the coat open.

Look out for bras with easy fastenings

Bras are one of the trickiest items to deal with. Front-opening styles are easier and are sold by many high street retailers. Adaptawear stocks bras with popper fastenings or large flat hooks, while The Able Label also offers a version with Velcro closures.

Read more about the functional bras developed by Elba.

Find the right shoes

If you have a problem finding shoes... Read these tips and advice from our community.

  • Try to avoid laces and look out for wide-fittings or slip on shoes
  • Choose comfortable shoes (or slippers) with sturdy soles
  • Get advice from a podiatrist. Everyone’s feet and needs are different.

Learn more about finding the right footwear.

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