How to Dress with Scoliosis
Approximately 4% of the population have scoliosis. Scoliosis can cause visible symptoms; uneven shoulders, head not centered, ribs different heights, a shoulder blade that sticks out more than the other, uneven hips, one leg appearing shorter than the other, the body leaning to one side. More severe cases will present with more severe outward appearance of these symptoms. Because scoliosis causes this asymmetry in the body, ill-fitting clothing can become an everyday problem. The waist on pants or skirts may appear uneven or shirts and dresses may not fit or hang on the body properly. Dressing in a way that makes the individual feel best and secure with their scoliosis can become a challenge.
One of the easiest ways to mask scoliosis is avoid tightly fitting clothing. Individuals with scoliosis tend to be small framed, and long waisted, so their bones are very pronounced. Tight shirts can reveal the asymmetry more obviously, hence why your scoliosis doctor takes pictures of your posture in such clothing. Not only can clothing like tight t-shirts and blouses emphasize your scoliosis more, but because there is an asymmetry one side might feel much tighter than the other making these types of clothing uncomfortable. This can even lead to aches by the end of the day! So, if masking these asymmetries in the hips or shoulders is your goal then looser clothing such as shawls, cardigans, hoodies, blazers, or jackets can be worn over tighter tanks and shirts, masking the visible symptoms of scoliosis. Luckily, the current fashion is to wear over-sized billowy t-shirts over tanks! Also, cardigans and sweaters are very much in style and so is layering.
If you feel too insecure to wear an A-shirt, strappy sundress, tanks or tube top, then a light denim jacket or sweater thrown over looks nice and can allow you the freedom to wear those items without feeling too exposed. There are many lightweight material options available. Even a pashmina can be a quick and versatile option.
If its a high hip that concerns you then a nice wide bag can balance the difference. These do not have to be large or heavy (which will only cause pain over time!) As you can see below there are many options made of lightweight materials.
Smock and babydoll dresses are in fashion now and compared to more fitted styles they offer more coverage without being unflattering or boring.
For discrepancies in pant leg lengths, the best option is to buy pants that fit best on the shorter side and bring the hem up on the side that’s too long. This is an inexpensive alteration that most tailors can do or one you can do yourself. Sewing is a valuable and cost effective option for anyone and it can also be an enjoyable pastime. Learning basic sewing so that you can take up a hem or slightly alter a dress will prevent frequent trips to a tailor and save you money in the long-run.
For dresses or skirts with hems that appear uneven, while wearing the dress, pin up the hem so that it looks even (or have this done by a seamstress or tailor) and then sew along the pins. This will produce an uneven hem when the dress is hanging on the hanger but that’s okay because once it is on you it will give the illusion of a straight hem.
The most important thing is to be confident in who you are and how you feel. Many people have scoliosis including famous models, athletes, and actresses. You are probably more aware of these features than other people are and if you truly want others not to notice then you must carry yourself as if there is no difference. People notice and respond well to confidence. If you carry yourself with confidence that is what people with attend to--not your scoliosis!