Social Skills to Choose Appropriate Clothing

A young boy is held by his parents as they look at clothing on a rack of hangers.

Making appropriate clothing choices can be a challenge, particularly for individuals with autism, as they may struggle with social implications, or have clothing sensitivities. Keep reading for 8 social skills tips to make choosing appropriate clothing easier for your child or student! 

  1. Organize your closet & drawers to group like items together (i.e. pants with pants, a drawer for undergarments, hanging shirts together). Keeping your items organized will help you plan your outfits more easily. 
  2. Think about where you’re going. Are you going to a formal event or something more casual? Are you attending a funeral, or a fun community gathering? Thinking about the event you’re dressing for will help you determine appropriate attire. 
  3. Check the weather! Before you head out, be sure to check the weather outside. Is it snowing? Be sure to grab your coat! If the sun is out and it feels hot, you may want to wear lightweight or layer your clothing to stay cool. 
  4. Check the fit. Make sure your clothing fits appropriately and isn’t too tight or too long. You want to be sure you feel comfortable and wearing clothing that fits helps with that! 
  5. Plan ahead. Mornings can get really busy! Help yourself by planning your outfit the night before. This will give you more time to check the fit and the weather, and to make sure you have the appropriate attire selected. 
  6. Choose comfort. Some fabrics can feel itchy or stiff. Selecting clothing that feels comfortable, both in the fit and the fabric can help you feel good in what you’re wearing! You can also check for any tags that may be stiff or itchy and remove them.
  7. Pick the right shoes. Will you be doing a lot of walking throughout the day? If so, be sure to pick comfortable walking shoes. Is it cold or rainy outside? Pick warm, waterproof shoes that will keep your feet dry! Picking the right footwear is an important part of appropriate attire. 
  8. Ask family and friends. If you’re unsure what attire is appropriate for a particular situation, ask your family or friends! Getting the opinion or guidance from others can help you avoid potential discomfort and ensure that you’re always dressed appropriately! 

Bonus tip: Don’t forget to keep it fun and choose clothing that lets your personality shine through! Your clothes can reflect who you are and your individuality. 

The special education resources on this page were authored by Watson Institute’s special education consultant, Andee Morris, M.Ed.

PowerPoint Presentations:

I Can Choose the Right Clothes PowerPoint Presentation

I Can Choose the Right Clothes Facilitator’s Guide

Resource Materials

I Can Choose the Right Clothes Magnet Cards

I Can Choose the Right Clothes Mini Schedule

I Can Choose the Right Clothes Outline

I Can Choose the Right Clothes Parent Note

I Can Choose the Right Clothes Teacher Note

I Can Choose the Right Clothes Activity

I Can Choose the Right Clothes Homework

If you have questions or concerns about the Watson Institute’s use of this information, please contact us.