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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)?
- 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).
- 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?
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…
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.
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!
Ok, so admittedly it took me a long time to find a pair of jeans that would work well with my ilesotomy. The unfortunate low-rise trend caused me all sorts of issues, since my ileostomy is placed fairly high on my abdomen. I know some people don’t have issues with their pouches appearing well above the waist line, but I seem to be rather…um…prolific in my output and really don’t care for the pouch expanding above tight pants, making my belly look lopsidedly pregnant.
I basically wrote of jeans for the longest time. And those I wore were either uncomfortable or so baggy to give me a high waist line that they did nothing to flatter my figure. And then one day the clouds parted and I heard angels sing and I found the right jeans for me. The ones that work for me are Ralph Lauren jeans. Just the plain old Lauren jeans they have at Macy’s, not the uber expensive type.
And now, thanks to some backlash over the low rise phenomenon, and the realization that women above the age of 15 have more success avoiding the ‘muffin top’ by having pants with a higher waistline that holds them in, there are many more options available! Another angel-singing moment for me was finding Levi’s 512 Perfectly Slimming Jeans. These jeans are awesome! I live in them when I’m not at work. They are firm enough that they hold my appliance in, and yet have enough stretch that they are very comfortable. They also look really sharp. I realize it is still a bit high for a waistband, but I usually don’t tuck on my outer top (I always wear a tank underneath and tuck that in though…it helps compress everything AND helps me avoid flashing my appliance to the world when I pick up my son).
Seriously, if you are looking for jeans, I highly recommend the 512’s.