Living with a chronic condition such as osteoporosis can be
challenging on a lot of levels. Much has been researched and
published about the causes, treatment options, and lifestyle
effects of this condition. One aspect, however, oftentimes goes
unaddressed: how the changing appearance brought about through
osteoporosis affects what clothes one can wear.
Appearance is important to many people, especially women, and
how we feel about our bodies can affect aspects of our daily lives.
For many, clothes are a key component to feeling good and conveying
confidence. However, as the
body is impacted by the effects of osteoporosis, an increased sense
of self-consciousness may occur.
Osteoporosis causes a slow breakdown of bones, and its effects
may include loss of height, curved spine, and protruding abdomen.
Clothes may no longer fit properly-the hem may hike up or the back
of a blouse may stick out. Ultimately, the clothes may not even be
comfortable to wear. Here are some tips people with osteoporosis
may want to consider.
While shopping for new clothes (or having existing garments
altered), think about …
- Test out looser fitting garments; these adjust to the body's
shape. These don't have to be shapeless garments but rather items
they are not too closely-cut that can make a fashionable statement
and still be comfortable for the wearer.
- Neckline and sleeves
- Experiment with soft
necklines. The neckline and its shape affect how the rest of a
garment drapes on the body. Looser necklines, such as a soft cowl,
are visually pleasing on all body shapes.
- Go for sleeves that adapt easily to any shape. For instance, a
top with dolman sleeves will allow for great comfort.
- Choose items with an elastic or adjustable waist. Don't
hesitate to try on maternity slacks or skirts, as they are
expandable and take on the shape of the body. The styles are modern
and nobody will guess what you are wearing.
If your budget is limited, you can still make considerable
- Go through your jewelry box. You probably already own jewelry
that can easily be added to existing clothes. Or, pick up several
new pieces on sale to give a lift to your outfits.
- Learn a few tricks for
tying and twisting scarves. They draw attention to the face and
provide a lovely drape on the back.
- Shoulder pads
So, go to your closet and take a look at the garments and
accessories you already have. Although osteoporosis may have
altered the shape of your body, your comfort and confidence do not
have to suffer. Updating your closet may be a nice opportunity to
reconsider your style and to ultimately boost your self-esteem.
Ultimately, we shouldn't be afraid to talk about how
osteoporosis makes many women feel differently about their bodies,
and that includes how they feel about how osteoporosis makes them
look. Taking a few minutes to help a woman find clothing that fits
her changing body can help boost her confidence and help her to see
that she is beautiful both inside and out. It's not traditional
health communication, but it's communication at its core.