Ostomy Fashion: Dressing Post-Surgery Dilemma

Sep 14, 2021 12:09 pm

Hello all,

I am new to the ostomy life. My concern is how to dress going forward. I have always worn low-rise pants and shorts. So I'm wondering if anyone has had issues with clothes after the surgery as far as going back to work and just being in public.


Sep 14, 2021 12:39 pm

Are you open to overalls? Walmart has them and they look good on the models.

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Sep 14, 2021 2:20 pm

Hello Deanna.
What clothes we wear has always been a matter of personal choice, both before and after surgery.
I like to think that I have never been in 'fashion' and appreciate others who feel the same way. Thus, I go for functionality and comfort and do not take a lot of notice of what other people ‘might’ think.
I am with Xnine in wearing overalls for work and leisure, as these are comfortable and functional in that, the ones with full-zip fronts give access to the stoma without having to disrobe. When I first turned up for work in overalls instead of a suit, it was probably a bit of a shock to people who had known me for a long time. One person was quite upfront and asked ‘”Why the overalls?” I replied that I had a stoma to ‘nurse’ and this was the easiest garb to achieve that end. I also followed through with the comment that I did not see them as much different from my ‘normal’ suits as their alternative name is a ‘boiler-suit’. Nobody has ever questioned it since and, I presume the word got around as to the reasons.
I also had the idea of converting a ‘suit’ with a waistcoat, so that the waistcoat attached to the trousers and acted in the same capacity as braces. This has not materialised yet as I have not had the necessity to wear a formal suit in years.
My wife wore overalls for years before her retirement and now, I have the opportunity of commandeering these for my own use. Fortunately, we are not that different in sizes and hers always seem more comfortable than the ones I buy.

Like Xnine says: they look good on the models – so why should they not look good on us?
I view clothes as a bit like the food we eat, and the activities we engage in; Whatever you feel is right for you ---is right for you! Don’t let other people (or things like stomas) dictate the way you live your life.

NB: 'Onesies' were all the rage over here in the UK for a while and I could not really see any difference between them and the overalls. (except of course, the outrageous price difference!) 
Best wishes

Past Member
Sep 14, 2021 2:34 pm

Is there any reason why you can't wear what you did before having a stoma? Does the waistband come right over your stoma, or is it that you feel everyone can tell you have an ostomy?

My stoma is high up, same height as the belly button, so I can wear anything.

Sep 14, 2021 3:02 pm
Reply to Bill

Thank you Bill, I do appreciate your reply. I have never worried about what people thought of what I wear and won't going forward. I am just looking to be comfortable and not put pressure on the stoma area.


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Sep 14, 2021 3:10 pm
Reply to Anonymous

My stoma is a little lower than my belly button. Since I'm home still, I have just been wearing a day shirt and or jammie shorts.
I did have an appointment the other day and I wore an elastic waistband that was below my stoma. That was comfortable.

Earth Angel
Sep 14, 2021 6:52 pm
Reply to xnine

Oh God, no Xnine! No overalls, lol.

Sep 14, 2021 7:30 pm

Isn't she cute?

Are overalls back in style in 2021?

This summer season, many women tend to wear cool-hipster looks, bohemian clothes, and retro-inspired workwear by implementing overalls into their new looks. That means one thing - they are back in trend. ... My personal favorite is the overall that is ideal for wearing without anything underneath.

Earth Angel
Sep 14, 2021 8:08 pm
Reply to xnine

I do have to say she looks adorable! Most people can't pull that off though lol! Maybe if you're tall, skinny, and wearing heels lol

Sep 14, 2021 8:22 pm

Hi Deanna, you sound like you are about the same as me if your stoma is a little lower than your bellybutton. The only real change I've made since becoming an ostomate is that I don't wear waist-high pants anymore because it feels uncomfortable and puts too much pressure on my stoma. I wear low-rise pants and jeans, so my stoma is not under pressure and then just tuck the end of the pouch into the pants. I don't wear tight-fitting tops very much anymore and look for loose or blowsy tops that are long enough to cover everything. I do occasionally wear something that is tighter fitting, but when I do, I wear underpants that are sort of like Spanks, they come up very high and are elasticized to make your abdomen more flat. This is usually just for special occasions, and I'll change back into my 'comfortable' clothes as soon as I'm home. You will find that patterned fabrics are better than plain colors at hiding the appearance of your pouch. You shouldn't have to make too many changes to your wardrobe. I found that I tried a lot of my old clothes, thinking I wouldn't be able to wear them anymore, but found they were fine. Hope this helps, good luck!


Sep 14, 2021 8:51 pm
Reply to TerryLT

Thank you Terry, I have my 40-year high school reunion this weekend and was wondering what to wear that would be comfortable and undetectable of my bag. I do like the idea of a Spanx, that way I could wear a comfortable dress and not worry about anything around my waist.

Sep 14, 2021 9:01 pm
Reply to Dlynn

Enjoy your reunion!

Sep 14, 2021 9:33 pm
Reply to Dlynn

Flynn, I feel you!

My concern was putting pressure on my stoma. I wondered if it would still be able to function properly. I've since learned that a little pressure doesn't interfere with mine. I'm mindful to keep it emptied.

I'm in the middle of attempting to patent a clothing design just for us.

If I get patent pending status, I will be able to make it known.


Sep 14, 2021 9:50 pm
Reply to Dlynn

Hi again, there are some companies who make clothing for ostomates. One is Ostomy Secrets. You will find their website if you google it. There are others, I'm just trying to think of their names. I will advise if it comes into my head!


Sep 14, 2021 11:01 pm

Hi D.

I wear suit pants every day for work. My stoma is lower than my navel. I use a convex appliance, and my belt goes straight across my stoma. The stoma spends most of the day withdrawn or retracted, and nothing is affected. It just works without any problems.

At first, I hitched my pants up above the stoma for fear of injuring or causing some problem. But eventually, I realized the belt straight across my stoma was not an issue. However, suit pants are a lightweight garment, and the belt isn't crazy tight. On weekends, if I wear jeans, I just use braces under my shirts and T-shirts.

Sep 14, 2021 11:58 pm

My stoma is below my belly button. I never liked pants tight on my stomach so I still just wear pants with elastic waistbands. I wear long shirts on the outside. I wear my pouch between my underwear and my pants and it does not put pressure on my stoma. I also keep a little air in the bag.

Sep 15, 2021 3:29 am

As far as clothes, I wear yoga pants, leggings, and A-line dresses. Yoga pants come in above and below the belly. Since getting my ostomy, I wear them above. It supports the bag, plus the stretchy fabric allows the bag to expand without undue pressure. I've given up wearing pants with a front zipper also, but then again, I had a horrific time healing. Good luck.

Sep 15, 2021 4:33 am
Reply to xnine

I'm still laughing at this one!!!..........Thanks X!!

Sep 15, 2021 2:42 pm

Oh yes, I still do - hard to deal with a large chest and bulging bag! I miss my skinny jeans (wear stretch only now) and the big overshirt makes me look pregnant. So no fashion statement here.

Sep 15, 2021 3:11 pm

Hey xnine, what do you call overalls? If the picture is what you are referring to, we call them dungarees. xx

Sep 15, 2021 4:33 pm
Reply to Caz67

Because they have a bib and straps. They come in other fabrics and colors.

Sep 15, 2021 6:01 pm
Reply to Caz67

Or Bib & Brace

Sep 15, 2021 10:16 pm

Hi, Deanna!

I've been wearing maxi dresses, A-line long, flowy skirts, and palazzo pants with long tunics since my surgery. One World Clothing (sold on SHOPHQ.com) has really nice items - totally LOVE their palazzo pants and long tops. Very comfortable and doesn't put any pressure on my stoma.

I agree with Terry: patterns are a terrific way to camouflage a "stoma bump".

Enjoy your reunion!


Sep 16, 2021 12:36 am
Reply to xnine

Yeah, she is.......but the bibs have nothing to do with that. She could be wearing a whiskey barrel and still be cute. Focus brother......focus!



Earth Angel
Sep 16, 2021 12:55 am

Omg Bob, you are sooooo funny, but you're onto something there!

Sep 16, 2021 5:39 am

The big problem with overalls/coveralls, at least for women, is that you almost have to take the whole thing off to go to the bathroom. And if you are in a public bathroom, the straps can easily drag across the nasty floors. A strapless romper might work better - one unit and no straps.

Sep 16, 2021 9:28 am
Reply to Maried

Good point, Maried! Of course, with the world being what it is these days... some have thought of this and there are solutions. If you search for women's bibs and include words like "pee" or "back flap," you'll find some that incorporate a side zipper that lets you keep the suspenders attached (to hold up everything from falling down and hitting the floor) but allows you to slide the bibs to the side so you can squat and pee. These first appeared in women's ski bibs, but the trend has moved more mainstream and is now featured in some regular women's bibs. Men's bibs can be found with a back flap that unbuttons so you can sit on the toilet. I've got an old pair of them around here somewhere that I was considering adding a front flap to, so I could easily dump my bag without undoing the suspenders. So bibs can work... you just have to like the "Green Acres" look... which some don't.



Sep 16, 2021 1:53 pm
Reply to w30bob

I do like bib overalls. And I am looking for the most easy access and comfortable situation when using the bathroom to go potty or empty my bag. And although I do like them and would like some easy access ones going forward, I don't want to wear them every day. :-)

Sep 17, 2021 1:46 am

Many years ago, the leading hands where I work wore white bib brace overalls.

One day, I drew this on the back of one of them when he wasn't in. It was hilarious...

Sep 17, 2021 5:33 am

Hey X.....see what I mean...........still cute!!!