What to wear with scoliosis?
Check out our guide about what to wear with scoliosis in order to help hide a scoliosis brace or the curves of scoliosis! Also, on Pinterest: Dressing for scoliosis and brace.
Shirts to wear under the scoliosis brace: It is best to wear a tight-fitting, seamless shirt or tank underneath the brace. This will eliminate chaffing and is also more sanitary for the brace and your skin. Look for shirts in breathable materials as the brace can often be warm. If you are wearing a Cheneau brace or a brace that comes up high underneath the armpit, it is recommended to wear a t-shirt or a tank with an axillary flap to protect the skin under the arm pit and for increased comfort. Seamless shirts can be difficult to find, so when you do find them buy a few! You should have several shirts to rotate through. Some people have had luck at Tilly’s for seamless camisoles, Under Armour for seamless t-shirts, or the Gap’s Modern Crew Tee which is light and comfortable and while it’s not seamless – it can be turned inside out to achieve the same effect. For more ideas on the best shirt to wear under a scoliosis brace check out this blog!
Leggings/ Pants: Pants can be worn over the brace (typically wearers of the Boston brace, as it often comes over both hips) or under the brace (wearers of the Cheneau as there is typically less brace material over both hips). Many of our patients have told us that leggings are the most comfortable to wear under braces, as they are soft and do not have any buttons or snaps that can press into the skin under the brace. They are also stretchy enough to fit over the brace. They also pair nicely with long, flowy tops which are great for concealing the brace. Leggings are very much in-fashion now and come in a variety of fun colors and patterns so that you can incorporate your own individual style! “Jeggings” (jean leggings) are also popular and give you the same look as jeans, but with the comfort of an elastic waist. If you do choose pants or shorts with a closure, you may need to accommodate for the brace by going up a size, if you are wearing the pants over the brace. Be sure to do the “sit down test” in the dressing room to make sure that the pants are not digging into the abdomen.
Long tops/ tunics: Also a popular fashion trend, tunics and long shirts or tops conceal the brace nicely. Long button down shirts, sweaters, loose tank tops, and long hoodies all conceal not only the bottom of the brace, but the shape of the shirt can conceal the boxiness of a symmetrical brace or the over correction of our Chêneau brace: the Chêneau Gensingen®. These also nicely conceal any type of rib or hip prominence that is typical in a scoliotic body. Tops with cowl necks also conceal the axillary piece of a Cheneau brace, as well as any shoulder unleveling.
Asymmetrical shirts and dresses: Look for shirts or dresses that are off the shoulder. These cover the axillary piece of the Cheneau brace. Also, an asymmetrical line at the bottom of the shirt (longer on one hip) will cover the brace if it extends over the hip and/or cover the overcorrected hip shift that the Cheneau brace covers. They can also detract from a natural hip prominence.
Infinity scarves: These scarves serve many purposes! If you have a Cheneau brace, these nicely conceal the axillary piece that can sometimes be seen through certain shirts. The scarves can also hide shoulder unleveling. They will draw the eye upward towards the neck and face and away from the brace. Infinity scarves are often paired with leggings outfits as a way to balance out the narrow legging and boot/ shoe combo on the bottom. They now come in a variety of fabrics from heavy knit to thin or shear cotton and can be used in a variety of seasons!
Statement necklaces/ accessories: As mentioned above with the Infinity scarves, statement accessories also do a great job of drawing the eye away from the brace or rib/ hip prominence. The same goes for a great handbag, fun pair of boots, or chunky earrings.
Layering: Again, a very popular current fashion trend! Layering is a nice way to hide the outline of a brace (particularly the over-corrected appearance of a Cheneau brace), any type of rib or hip prominence, and shoulder unleveling. Think of blazers/jackets (short or long), cardigan sweaters, button down shirts, light weight long sleeves, jean jackets, and vests. These can all be worn over and paired with tank tops, short sleeves, dresses, and more! Often a pad can be added to the shoulder of a jacket, blazer, or sweater to level off the shoulders. Patients sometimes feel like wearing only a tank top in the summer shows too much of the brace. A lightweight vest can be worn over a tank top but not add another layer of warmth.
Dresses and skirts: Maxi dresses and skirts are often stretchy material or elastic waisted and pair well with jackets or sweaters for use in a variety of seasons. Full skirts with layers or pleats typically accommodate braces that cover the pelvis. Shift dresses conceal the brace or rib/hip prominences and can be combined with statement jewelry to add some pizazz. A dress with an elastic waist built in or with black paneling on the side add the illusion of a waistline.
For guys with scoliosis: Some male patients prefer to wear elastic waisted pants (gym shorts, sweat pants, or warm up pants) with their brace. The elastic waist is able to be stretched to fit over the brace, which is often how wearers of a Boston brace prefer to wear their pants, and if worn under the brace, is softer against the skin. We also have plenty of male patients who wear jeans under their pants without any complaints, typically those in a Cheneau-Gensingen brace, as there is less brace material around the hips. Most will wear t-shirts, long sleeve shirts, hooded sweatshirts, etc. over their brace without difficulty.
Shopping for scoliosis: When shopping for clothes to wear with your brace it is important to remember to shop with your brace on. Sometimes going up a size is necessary but not always. When shopping be sure that your brace is at its tightest, as clothes will fit differently if it is too loose. Although longer and flowy tops work well to hide scoliosis or a brace, you do not need to strictly avoid fitted clothing. Keep in mind that the brace can be warm so breathable materials are key. As always, comfort is most important for brace-wearing compliance, this means physical comfort as well as being comfortable with your appearance. If it helps, bring along a parent, trusted friend, and/or sibling that will be supportive and give a constructive opinion.
Getting a scoliosis brace or being diagnosed with scoliosis does not mean you have to completely change your wardrobe. Sometimes you just have to look in your closet with a different set of eyes. All of the suggestions we listed above are popular trends that are currently in fashion and can be helpful when deciding what to wear with scoliosis. Layering your clothes differently or trying out different combinations may help you use clothes you already have. Of course, if shopping is your thing then go for it!
If you have other suggestions or ideas about what to wear with scoliosis that may help others please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will amend or add to our suggestions! Happy shopping!