Personally, I love fashion & clothes and always have done even before my surgery.
Before I had my surgery, I was always worried that it would restrict what I wear but I have not really had to change anything to accommodate having a stoma. I’ve found that the only thing I have had to change is to not wear really tight fitting things like skintight bodycon dresses as it doesn’t leave my stoma enough room to work and increases the chances of leaks greatly. I find that I can still wear close fitting things though, and wear a stoma waistband or a stoma vest underneath tighter fitting garments to help minimise my bag being recognisable through the garment.
Some clothing tips I find work for me having an ostomy are:
- Wearing ‘stomawear’ such as a stoma waistband or a stoma vest. I wear the Comfizz waistband most days as a lot of the things I wear are quite close fit, such as skinny jeans/jeggings and tighter tops. (Just type ‘Comfizz’ into google for these). Vanilla Blush also do great stoma underwear (I love the pretty high-waisted knickers!). Also, a lot of ostomates in the UK should be able to claim a certain number of ‘stomawear’ garments free a year on prescription (please check the websites of the stomawear companies for more details).
- Choosing tops with heavier patterns to wear give me a bit more confidence that attention won’t be drawn towards any outlines of my bag, especially if they are tighter fit tops. Floral designs and striped designs are my personal favourites! (See below).
- If I wear a tighter, plain vest and want a bit more confidence, choosing a patterned or lighter colour shirt to wear loosely over the top to add to the outfit and keep attention away from the stomach area (as seen below).
- Picking leggings that aren’t too tight but are a snug fit (usually higher waisted) mean that sometimes I feel I’m confident enough to not wear a waistband underneath them too, unless the top of my leggings are on show (e.g. if wearing a crop top with high-waisted leggings). (See below).
- Wearing high-waisted garments such as shorts or skater skirts; personally I love both of these and skater skirts are a favourite of mine. (See below).
- Choosing Peplum designs! I have a few pretty peplum tops which I wear with a waistband underneath. I find that the waistband stops the bag at the top becoming visible if it protrudes a little under the top. (Pictured above, second on the left).
- Floaty tops/dresses that are more gathered just under the bust; this way you still get a bit of the top that hugs your figure but the floaty bottom gives you a bit more leeway if, for example, you have an ostomy bag with high output. (See below).
- Also, baseball design t-shirts as they are baggy and comfortable. (See below).
Those are just a few ideas that I find work best for me.
If I go on nights out or occasions, I can take Loperamide (Immodium) capsules to slow the rate of my output rate down also, which helps to keep my ostomy bag more minimal and flat under my outfit, with a stoma waistband, especially if I have tighter fit dresses on such as these below:
Most importantly, having an ostomy does not stop me wearing the things I love and having my own style. For most things I have found there is always a way to wear the things that I like without having to worry about my bag being noticeable through my clothes and the centre of attention. Those close to me always reassure me if I ever overthink things that from the outside you cannot tell I have a bag and that when they think of me, they don’t think of ‘Amy with a bag’, they just think of me as Amy, my own person in my own right. My Mum has been fab when my bag has been noticeable or got tucked under my waistband wrong and been a bit lumpy and has always told me to avoid me feeling uncomfortable or embarrassed at a later time. I find that this is great as that support makes me feel more comfortable as well.
Finally, I run an ‘Osto-MY Fashion’ Facebook group with three other lovely lady ostomates as well if any ladies would like to join. Due to the nature of the photos and concerns spread on the group (underwear garments etc) the group at the moment is restricted to females only, however, we have all agreed that if there becomes a bigger demand for a unisex group for example, we will do our best to arrange this. The link is: https://www.facebook.com/groups/442535202429992/
Hope you enjoyed reading this post & if you want me to do any similar posts or you have any topics you’d like to see me cover about living with an ostomy, please do not hesitate to comment on this or e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, if you would like a one-to-one chat or have any ostomy-related questions to ask or questions about living with IBD, please either comment or e-mail.
Until next time,