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Style tips for women with stomas

Clothing is a silent but very powerful communicator; our clothes tell other people a lot about ourselves.  Use your clothes to project your positive aspects: sparking self assurance and confidence.

When it comes to looking good, it's not your shape or size that matters, but the fit of the clothes. It is important to choose clothes that suit you, accentuate your good features and minimise areas that you might think are less than perfect.

If you have a stoma then your waist is probably the area you worry about most.

There is no reason not to wear tight fitting clothing if you used to before your stoma operation. One useful tip is to wear a thin vest or top underneath to keep your bag flat, without deterring from the line of your clothing. Most modern stoma pouches are not even noticeable through the majority of materials unless they are particularly thin or see-through: in these cases, layering is an option that some choose.

Stoma clothing tips to suit your body shape

If you are high waisted, to lengthen your profile, try wearing long jackets, tops and skirts. Distract the eye from a high waist with:

  • Clothes with low waistlines
  • Skirts and trousers without waist bands
  • Low slung belts

If you are high waisted and have short legs, lengthen your silhouette if you have short legs by wearing:

  • High heels
  • Long jackets or tops
  • Narrow skirts or trousers

Create the illusion of lowering your waist without shortening your legs with:

  • Clothes with low waistlines
  • Skirts and trousers without waist bands
  • Low slung belts

If you are low waisted and have average-to-short legs, give the impression of a higher waist and longer legs with:

  • Belts
  • Short tops
  • Minimal detail around the stoma site
  • Short jackets with long or short skirts
  • Long jackets with short skirts or narrow trousers
  • Straight waisted or belted dresses
  • High heels
Belts

If you are petite to average-sized, you'll look best in narrow and lightweight belts. Average-sized to tall ladies will suit wide statement belts. Unless you have an obvious waist, it is best to avoid belts.

Footwear

Heel length

The most important thing to remember is to pick a heel height that is comfortable for you. Here are tips on how you can lengthen and shorten how long your legs look with your heels:

  • You can make your legs look longer with high or narrow heels or by wearing a short skirt with a lower heel
  • Low fronted shoes give the illusion of longer legs and narrower ankles
  • Closed shoes shorten the length of the feet and legs

Straps

Shoes that have low T straps work well on most people. Shoes with an ankle strap tend to only suit long legs and slim ankles. When buying boots ensure that the boot stops at the narrow part of the leg. Ballet pumps are good for anyone with average-to-long legs and thin ankles.

Underwear and swimwear

Companies like CUI , Vanilla Blush and Glitter Beach make attractive, modern underwear and swimwear especially for people who have stomas. 

It is entirely up to you whether you prefer wearing your stoma pouch inside or on the outside of your underwear. If you prefer it on the inside, higher elastic underwear is likely to be more practical in order to keep the bag completely tucked away. If you are happy with your bag on the outside, then you should be able to wear all styles of underwear.

Bear in mind that swimsuits with busy patterns can camouflage stoma appliances. Wearing a tight garment under your swimsuit can help to hold your pouch in place. A one piece swimsuit is best for disguising the pouch.

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