This study explored dressing and grooming habits and preferences of older adults. Fifty-eight community-dwelling older persons (mean age = 80 years) in suburban Maryland responded to the Self- maintenance Habits and Preferences in Elderly (SHAPE) questionnaire. There was a large variability in preferences, and all items were very important for at least some of the participants. Women attributed higher levels of importance to dressing and grooming than did men. Importance ratings increased with level of education and were higher for unmarried persons, but were not related to age or need for assistance with instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs). On an individual basis, this information can be used to suggest items for interventions or to structure a personal care environment. Alternately, it can be used in the aggregate as a guideline for designing programs of care to reflect the preferences of a majority of older persons.