Tag Archives: ileostomy fashion

Once Again, With More Cowbell

Yes, I’m thinking of that Saturday Night Live skit from way back when! Why? Well, I was thinking of embellishments on clothing and somehow ended up thinking about the embellishments with the cowbell. At any rate, I was musing over how some of my favorite clothing items are actually classic-leaning trends. These trends often include embellishments on shirts and dresses — ruffles, layers, embroidery, ruching, wild prints or other fun elements that can be our friends.

Now of course there are a ton of trends that are foes as opposed to friends. We don’t need to review all of those since the list would be too extensive. But at least it is a double-edged sword. Along with the bad can come the good!

So, what trends are we seeing now in the stores that could be friends to those of us in the ostomy chic party?

  • Peplums — Peplums often have a higher waist and are loose around the midsection. Huzzah!
  • Fit and Flare — I love that things are being labeled as “Fit and Flare.” Stores don’t want to call it an A-line? No idea why, but “Fit and Flare” is descriptive. Again, another option that is figure flattering and then usually not tight around the midriff.
  • Structured Lace — Lace adds dimension and layers to an outfit. The pattern in lace can help distract the eye. Plus it lends a softer edge when coupled with stiffer, more structured material.

That’s just a few. I’ll let you know if I think of more (and feel free to do the same). In the meantime, more cowbell!

The Rules

It seems like the only way I am able to get any clothes is via mail order, usually placed at 11:00 in the evening.  With that said, I can often glance at something and tell if there is a good chance that it could work well for me or not. I have a number of rules in my mind, and 9 times out of 10, they really are a help. Of course those rules apply to me and my above-the-waist ileostomy, so mileage may vary!

Here are my rules:

  1. Fabric — Structured fabrics are usually best! Clingy fabrics will usually reveal more of an outline of my ilesotomy than I would be comfortable with. But, it is possible for me to find something in a jersey knit or other clingy fabric if it appears that it will be looser around my waist, or the fabric is criss-crossed, wrapped or behaves in a way that gives some structure and weight. Patterns are a plus, particularly on any thing closer cut; they provide a visual distraction and make any outline of my ileostomy less obvious.  Flowy materials are great with a-line skirts or dresses, as long as they aren’t see through and don’t cling too much.
  2. Fit — For pants, I prefer a fit that sits just below or at my natural waistline.  As I’ve mentioned before, ultra-low rise usually do not work well on me. You know how stores come up with cute names for the different cuts of their pants? Anything with “modern” in the name, and I need to run the opposite direction since they are inevitably tight and oh so low! In addition, I find that pants with belt-loops work better on me, and ones that are shaped with an almost half-moon shape (I think they are called contour waistline) are not my friend.
  3. Flair — With dresses, A-line or non-body hugging sheaths are my go-to options. I do a love a high-waisted pencil skirt. Was I born in the wrong decade (or century)?
  4. Color — I find dark colors or vibrant patterns seem to work well. As much as I would like to get over my fear of wearing white pants, I doubt that will happen any time soon! I love color though, so often find that I add a pop of color through scarves, jewelry or a top layer (shrugs, sweaters, jackets).
  5. Layers — I tend to layer a tank top  under whatever I am wearing since it helps compress everything and makes me feel more confident that I will not flash the world if my shirt rides up when I am picking up one of my children. I often think about layers, and would consider wearing something tight if it could be balanced out with a bulkier layer. For example, I would wear leggings with a cute, clingy tunic/short dress as long as I could also wear a sweater on top.

That’s my list for now! What do you look for when shopping for clothes?

Update

So, hello! Despite writing many blog posts in my mind over this embarrassingly long absence, I never actually wrote those posts. Yeah…lame, I know! At any rate, here I am. Lots has happened since my last post which was, golly, almost exactly a year ago. Being a working mommy to three is challenging! It is great, but challenging. Also, I received a promotion at work that is very exciting, but it really has me jumping.

On top of all of that, I’ve been dealing with some health issues. Although my Crohn’s has been very calm for quite a long time, like over 15+ year, I’ve had some serious respiratory problems for the last five years. After bouncing from doctor to doctor, I am finally seeing some doctors who are trying to get to the bottom of it. Guess what they have found? It looks like Crohn’s disease in my lungs. Yes, you heard me right. I had no idea that was possible.

So, those are my excuses for not staying in touch with this blog. But, I’m back and hope to be better about it. I really like Ostomy Chic and appreciate knowing that there are some people out there interested in the same things as me!

One thing I have done over the past year was pin items I think are “ostomy friendly” on Pinterest. I should say that these are items that I think would work on me. I’m not trying to be prescriptive or anything! Just thought it would be fun to track items in this way. Feel free to visit my Pinterest boards if you are interested.

Ok, bye for now, my fellow friends in the blogosphere! See you soon, I hope.

One step forward, two steps back…

This weekend I attended a friend’s wedding, and got the chance to wear the dress I previously posted about.  You might recall that I wrote about how the persuasive sales lady encouraged me to wear a dress in a smaller size than I am used to. I mused how I probably wear clothes that are too big, and how I need to be aware of my body size and not be afraid to wear the ‘right’ size.

Well, the dress did indeed make me feel like a princess. However, it was very tight across my abdomen. It didn’t pull, but I found myself incredibly self-conscious of if anyone could see the outline of my ileostomy. I kept dashing to the ladies room to empty my appliance. Admittedly, this could have been caused by any number of things. Do you ever feel like your body changes from day to day? Maybe the day I bought this was one of those “skinny” days where everything looks good, and the day of the wedding was one of those “bloated” days where everything feels a bit off.

Even so, I think I learned a few lessons from this. Yes, it is important to not be afraid of wearing properly fitting clothes! But, it is also important to feel comfortable in the outfit. And in my case, that means not worrying that people can or cannot see the appliance. I just cannot relax if I am worried about it. Is it too much to ask to look good AND feel good (physically and mentally that is)? All part of the continuing clothing hunt…

Downsizing

So, I just got back from a trip to the beach. Yay! Although in reality there are limited opportunities for rest and relaxation when on vacation with a 3.5 year old, it was a great trip and wonderful for us to get away.

One evening as we were walking back from dinner, I was able to take a detour for some ice cream while my husband and son headed to the hotel. Although I was on a mission for butter pecan ice cream (yes, I know people either love or hate that flavor–I love it!) a shirt on a sale rack outside a store caught my eye. I was looking for something to wear to the dinner in lieu of a ropes-course-extravaganza, but realized I had little to wear. I thought a nice blouse with some black slacks would do the trick, but don’t really have many “going out” clothes so was on the hunt. Plus I’m attending a wedding in a few months and needed an appropriate dress. So, I meandered into the store and started picking up items to try on.

The store I went to was White House Black Market. This is not a store I’ve had much luck with previously, and I do find their prices a bit high. But I was really drawn to the clothes they were showing. Normally I would walk into a store like this, try on one or two things, shrug my shoulders thinking nothing fit, and leave feeling dejected. Something unusual happened though. A salesperson actually helped me!

Of course I realize she was fueled by the power of commission, but she pulled in all sorts of different clothes to try on, shoes to try on with the outfits, jewelry, the works… Usually this kind of attention, when not done with your best interest at heart, is annoying. Yet she was really good at what she was doing, seemed to be having fun, and appeared to be truly trying to help me. Amazing!

This is where it gets interesting. I tried on many things in my usual size. The cut of their dresses was flattering, but there were still parts that didn’t feel quite right. I fell in love with a particular dress in my usual size, but the salesperson insisted that I  try on a size smaller. I did just that and could see how it hugged my body better. I felt more “aware” of it in the smaller size, but it actually fit me instead of just sitting on top of me. When I questioned the fit, she said “that is how it is supposed to fit.” I realized she was right.

I am still prone to wear clothing that is too big. Self-conscious about my cleavage in high school and college, I practically lived in baggy t-shirts.  And then, with the ileostomy, my desire to hide behind clothes multiplied. It was only about five years ago that I really started to wear my correct size (or so I thought). But, as this experience showed me, I still veer towards wanting things to feel ‘loose.’ I really don’t want to be one of those women you look at and wonder how long the seams on an outfit will last! And I have the fear that my ileostomy will show. Yet, I clearly need to wear clothing that fits my body and is flattering.

I bought the dress, in the smaller size, and also bought the cute cranberry shrug to go with it. The awesome a-line skirt really works well and the belt on the dress hits just the top part of my ileostomy. I also bought this blouse for my “what-do-I-wear-to-dinner” mission. It looks great with the sleeves worn up on the shoulders, by the way, and I didn’t even realize it was supposed to be worn off the shoulders until I found this picture of it online.

A sidenote….at one point I wanted to show the salesperson that a particular skirt was too big. I must have been so comfortable with her that I totally forgot what would happen was I lifted the blouse up a bit to show her my waistline. Sure enough, I flashed her my ileostomy. Just the top part that was peaking above my waistband, but that is enough! I sort of froze for a moment, lowered my shirt, and then just continued on with what I was saying. She gave me a quizzical look, but that was that. It jolted me out of the feeling of playing dress up. Oh well.

At any rate, I ended up staying way too much time in that store and I never got that butter pecan ice cream that night. It was a great experience since it reminded me that I shouldn’t be shy about making sure the clothes fit my body. I guess sometimes it is good to get our your comfort zone to try to find what really works. It really helped to have an outside opinion to give me the proverbial wake-up slap on my cheek. Now I need to revisit my closet and see if I can identify the way-to-big clothes that I know are lurking in there.

Oh yeah…I got that butter pecan ice cream the next day. Yum!

Water Water Everywhere, But What’s a Gal to Wear?

Yes, it’s summertime, and the living is……hot. I’ve always found it challenging to find a bathing suit that I feel confident and comfortable in, and that doesn’t look totally frumpilicious. I’ve heard stories of people with ileostomies wearing bikinis, but that is just not an option for me. As I’ve mentioned before, my ileostomy is placed fairly high up. My scar runs from below my breast bone all the way down. So, I’m absolutely a one-piece bathing suit gal. But, as you know, that is not so easy.

I’ve tried the cute little skirts, which work really well until you actually try to swim and then if you are standing in the pool they float up and look like they are doing underwater ballet. I’ve also tried to wear a plain old one-piece bathing suit, and have success with that until I feel self-conscious when my appliance begins to fill up. So, when I wear that I seem to want to use the restroom every ten minutes!

Perhaps my greatest success was discovering some swim shorts from Lands End. I found this worked well when worn over the one-piece, or combined with a long tankini top. At least, I felt comfortable in it and wasn’t as worried about my appliance.

I am thinking about ordering this high-waisted bottom from Land’s End. Looks like it has some potential!! We’ll see. And I’m also eyeing some suits at ModCloth. They have a fun, retro feel. Haven’t dived in (no pun intended). My goal is eventually to find something I feel comfortable enough in that I can happily take my preschooler to swim lessons!

And the results are…..

So, my hosiery experiment was not exactly a success. Here are the results….

 

  • Hanes Silk Reflections Non-Control Top in Little Color. Ok…..umm…soo…the color was not ‘little’ enough. They had that horrible orange, suntan look. My husband, who never offers fashion advice unless it is an extreme situation, suggested that I swap them for a different pair. They were that bad.
  • Hue So Silky Sheer in Natural. The color was great, and these seemed sturdy enough to hold up to some decent wear. The only problem, and it was pretty significant, was that the crotch seemed  to fall unusually low. Even though the waistband was pretty high on my abdomen, the crotch was saggy. All day at work I felt like I needed to do odd contortions to make sure it did not fall down! Maybe I had a defective pair or something. I will have to give them another try. But, based on my saggy crotch experience, this brand isn’t for me.
  • Calvin Klein Chiffon Sheer – sheer to waist. Gorgeous color. Perfect fit, though the waistband felt a bit low but still was workable. The only problem was that in one day I managed to run two pairs of these! I mean, come on. Both times it happened when I gave the waistband a tug to try to pull it above my ileostomy. I wasn’t pulling it *that* hard. Honest. But these things seemed to run if you look at them the wrong way.

So, bottom line is that I’m still searching. Perfect pair of pantyhose, where-for-art-thou? In a pinch, I would go with the Calvin Klein’s, though I would be terrified of the plague of a million runs.

Hosiery, Part Deux

Ok…I have an important event coming up this week and pantyhose will certainly be a part of it. However, which type? This weekend I loaded up on some different types of non-control top sheer pantyhose. They are:

1) Hanes Silk Reflections Non-Control Top in Little Color

2) Hue So Silky Sheer in Natural

3) Calvin Klein Chiffon Sheer – sheer to waist

I’m hoping to test out which is the most comfortable (particularly with my ileostomy) AND which actually looks the best. I have pretty pale skin, so it’s tricky to find a ‘natural’ looking shade that isn’t too yellow, too tan, or too white. By the way, a 6 year old cousin once said “you are the whitest person I’ve ever seen”….umm…er…ok. She is from California and all so I guess I’m not like the bronzed beach babes she is so used to.

I’ll let you know what the verdict is!

A Teenage Waist-land

So, is anyone else thankful that we seem to be over the hump of the ultra low-rise pants? I mean, the type that are so low that you see butt cleavage and that you wonder how the pants are actually staying up at all. It is incredibly annoying that the most fashionable pants options are relegated to low-rise. I don’t think we are out of the woods yet, but at least it is now possible to get pants that are ‘mid-rise’ or sit at the ‘natural waist.’ What would really work best for me is true ‘high-waisted’ pants. My ileostomy is placed fairly high, and for comfort as well as a slim look, I love a high-waisted pant. Since this is usually not possible, I am content if I can find a mid-rise pant that is still not super tight at the waist, so as to give me a bit of breathing room with the ileostomy.

Anyways, I haven’t found the magical pair of pants. I usually need something mid-rise or higher, with belt loops. The contoured waist doesn’t work well on me. Jones of New York dress pants have a fairly high waist, and seem to work well on me. But my ongoing struggle is to find pants for work that aren’t frumpilicious and that fit well. I welcome any and all suggestions!