Fashion Tips for Living with an Ostomy

If you have just had ostomy surgery, you may be worried about what to wear or how your wardrobe may change. However, just because you’ve had ostomy surgery, does not mean you can’t wear the clothes you loved prior to surgery. Your wardrobe can be functional and still reflect your personal style.

Don’t just take our word for it. We asked members of our me+ community for easy fashion tips and tricks for people living with an ostomy. Here’s what they had to say:

  • Try shirts or tops that come to the hip, offering enough length to conceal your pouch as it fills.
  • If you want to wear shorter tops that may reveal your pouch, pair with jackets, sport coats or cardigans that can be used as additional coverage if you start to feel self-conscious after leaving the house.
  • For ladies, longer tunics or dresses pared with leggings or slip shorts, may be more comfortable following surgery.
  • For men, untucked shirts with softer material pants may be more comfortable in the weeks following surgery.
  • Look for jeans made with 1 or 2 % spandex. A little bit of stretch helps accommodate your pouch as it fills without restriction.
  • Patterned bottoms (pants, skirts or dresses) can trick the eye and camouflage any potential visible pouch outlines.
  • Don’t be afraid to wear something more form fitting. More frequent pouch emptying can help to keep a flatter pouch profile giving you more confidence.
  • Make sure your clothes are not too tight around the bag. Your stoma needs to be able to drain easily, and you should allow for your pouch to expand as it fills. You may need to be careful that waistbands do not rest below the stoma restricting ability to drain into your pouch.
  • Depending on stoma placement, you may feel more comfortable with high- or low-rise waistband items, like underwear, jeans, or activewear. Don’t be afraid to try different waist heights to find the rise that works best for your body.
  • Check out the products from Ostomysecrets®. Undergarments and wraps with a built-in pocket to hold your pouch secure, that also helps with concealing your pouch under your clothing. You can also try slip shorts or other traditional shapewear that may provide an additional feeling of security. Be sure to select items that are loose enough to not obstruct drainage, but still allow for a visually smooth pouch profile.
  • Comfort + Security = Confidence. If you are comfortable in what you are wearing and your pouch feels secure, you are more likely to feel confident in your wardrobe choices. Confidence is the best thing you can wear following ostomy surgery! Wear items that make you feel good and reflect your personality.


Sarah feels comfortable in a longer tunic so that she doesn't feel rushed to go empty her pouch.

“My go to look is jeans or leggings, and a longer top. One that hits at my hip is just enough to conceal my pouch as it fills, that way I am not feeling any rush to get to the bathroom and empty. If my pouch is a little full, it’s okay. My shirt will cover the bulge from my filling pouch. I find myself much happier, when I am not worried about my pouch, but enjoying lingering over long meals and ddep conversations with my friends and family.”
- Sarah Biggart

Lee shows how her slip shorts help to give her a smooth profile.

“Ostomysecrets® or other vendors with customize covers for specific ostomy pouches are great to give a little extra feeling of coverage, noise reduction, and (frankly) just not seeing your ostomy pouch. This has also helped save clothing several times when I did have leaks, since they acted as a barrier at first signs.”
- Lee Thrash
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