Fashion is a huge part of our lives. I mean clothes are pretty important… I think it’s probably a little chilly to be walking around in your birthday suit (especially in England… Even in summer).
What we wear can show our personality before we’ve even opened our mouths! From the pair of jeans you live in, and can’t remember the last time they saw the inside of a washing machine. To the days spent in the baggiest jumper and comfiest track-pants when you don’t have to see the world! The classic ‘I-Have-Nothing-To-Wear’ strop we all do before a night out, and when you spend hours getting glam for that hot date.
I thought my fashion would have to change forever when I gained some extra baggage. I have a tendency to overthink and all sorts of questions raced through my head when I became an ostomate… Am I going to have to throw out my entire wardrobe? Would I have to wear baggy clothes to make sure no one can see the bag? What happens if you can see the bag? What if I can’t ever wear jeans again? What about tight dresses? Will I have to get a size too big to accommodate it all?
I thought that would be it for body-con dresses, out with the skinny jeans, goodbye to anything figure hugging, and hello Bridget Jones undies, maternity jeans and massive jumpers. I love figure-hugging clothes so the prospect of having to wear maternity jeans upset me a little…
But ohhhh was I wrong!
I don’t have to compromise my wardrobe to suit my stoma! I can wear anything from dresses that are so tight you can’t breathe, high waisted skinny jeans, leggings, the tightest running kit and even swimwear! It was such a confidence booster when the only thing I had to throw away was one pair of jeans; that only didn’t fit me because I’d put weight on and not because of my stoma bag.
I didn’t want to buy for my stoma, I wanted Rosie to fit to the clothes I love and she does 100%! The only thing I’ve changed is that all my bottoms are now high-waisted in order to make sure that she isn’t squished!
I thought Id pop together a handful of things that I think are helpful for anyone trying to dress with a stoma:
- Take your time. This is super important because when I got home from surgery I had the body of Mr Blobby with all the swelling and just cried every time I opened my wardrobe – overthinking (as per) and assuming Id have to throw everything out. But your body needs time to get back to normal. Allow for the surgical swelling to reduce and for your body/mind to get used to sh*tting into a bag! Its a huge life change and you have to let your body relax in pjs for a bit before squeezing into a body-con dress or skinny jeans.
- High waisted is your friend. Thank god for high waisted coming back into fashion because high waisted or even high rise clothes will be your best friend as an ostomate. All my jeans, skirts, undies, swimwear and leggings are now high waisted because its just so much more secure and comfortable.
- If you want that dress that is so tight you wont be able to breathe, BUY IT. I thought I wouldn’t be able to wear tight clothing but of course I can! If you’ve got the confidence to flaunt it, then go for it!
- Undies… I have a slight underwear buying obsession and my mum once described my underwear collection pre-op as ‘’more likely to floss with than actually wear.’’ But a thong doesn’t exactly support anything so this was an area I had to rethink. However, in amongst the 70s-beige-Bridget-Jones-granny-pants there is a whole host of fabulous underwear for both men and women that isn’t so… Medical. The ostomy orientated undies can be a little unattractive, but there are people such as Jasmine Stacey who saw how ugly it can be and decided to change that! Her line of lingerie is sexy and so confidence boosting!
So apart from the shift from thongs to Bridget Jones my wardrobe hasn’t changed one little bit! My advice is, take your time when it comes to finding the right clothes and it’s all about being confident and comfortable.
Your identity is totally up to you and no one should tell you what you can or cannot wear! If you want to squeeze into a dress so tight you can’t breathe, but makes you feel sexy as hell, then DO IT! If you want to splurge on a stupidly expensive pair of shoes (that will probably hurt like hell but look great) then why not! If you want to live in the same pair of jeans and same jumper for months on end without washing them, then go for it?!
The way we dress is down to us! Its the best form of expression without saying anything!
So here’s to screaming who you are, by not saying a word!