clothes for kyphosis….: I absolutely hate... - Bone Health

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clothes for kyphosis….

mollysuki profile image
23 Replies

I absolutely hate shopping for clothes. After several spinal fractures and a loss of 4 inches in height I have kyphosis and the dreaded osteo tummy.

Finding clothes that fit well is so frustrating. I’m not an ‘old’ lady so want to look fashionable. Please don’t direct me to the woman at ROS who gives tips as I’ve not found them useful. We’re not all glamorous ex models but I still want to look my best. Able clothing is so old fashioned and extremely expensive.

So my question is can any of you share what you’ve found useful. Thanks

23 Replies
Denizt profile image

dear Molly

I’m sorry to read your message this morning and just to say if you’d like help with shopping ( if you let me know the type of dress you’re looking for I’m retired now and could help a little looking around here in Bournemouth ! ) with best wishes Denise

fraid profile image
fraid in reply to Denizt

Yes it’s difficult not to look like a bent frump, I have 6# lost 6” height and am quite fed up about not being tall anymore, able to reach things etc. What I’ve been wearing, even before the bend, were tops that are longer at the back anyway to cover my now less than perfect bum! Long sweaters over black thermal leggins which show off my skinny legs and my tum bulge doesn’t show so much, is my regular attire. 😊

But for my bday this week and Xmas I’m going to wear a sparkly clingy frock with an open waistcoat to cover the sticky out bits! Why not, it’ll make me feel good, I’m housebound anyway so only my friend and ex will see me, maybe I’ll flash the naybors briefly.😁

Things that break up the lines help, I do wear a lot of dark colours, esp. black which is elegant, and things that match. Don’t forget the bling which should take the attention off unwanted bits! Have fun whatever you wear. 🥳X

Fruitandnutcase profile image

Hello mollysuki,

I’ve had a bit of a Google for you and found these sites and this article by someone else.

We have a lady in our Pilates class who has lost a lot of height and whose body has gone out of shape and I notice she wears separates with loose tops - which look good on her

I think the advice on both websites overlaps but hopefully you will get something out of it. I know it is something that bothers an awful lot of ladies (and probably men too although you never hear from them)

I hope it’s not to similar to the ROS advice you can find something here that helps.

This is a reply to someone posting a question like yours.

‘ I had the following information saved just in case. I hope it will be of some help.Here are some practical suggestions and Kyphosis tips:

• Wear two piece outfits. This means that your hem line will not 'hike up' in the back or droop in the front to compensate for extra material being used by your shoulders. 

• Use an over blouse rather than a top that tucks into your waist. This allows your top to move as needed without popping out of your waistband or bunching and hanging over it. 

• Tops that have gathers or pleats at the neck line will hang better 

• A loose jacket over your outfit - an 'over jacket' is helpful. Broad cloth, denim, or other material thatwill retain its shape/body is a good choice.

• Simple woven prints or solid prints will work well. Use a contrasting scarf and pin to center attention on your face. 

• Avoid any tendency to choose 'dowdy' colors. Let your colors show that you are a remarkable woman . You may have a back hump but you have lots of spirit too. You can be a positive presence in any group! 

• If you are using a cane or walking stick for balance, make it a fashion statement. There are many elegant carved walking sticks available on the internet or in outdoor/hiking type stores. What is nice about a walking stick is that you are not pressing down on the handle and so there is much less pressure on your wrist and elbow. If you are using a cane, why not buy a colorful one. If you have it, flaunt it. Your cane or walking stick can attract the eye of the onlooker so as to deflect it from your back hump.Hats can be part of Fashion Kyphosis tips ... and they are often a necessity in colder climates. In recent years there have been a number of companies making snug, pull on hats in bright fashion colors. You do not want an overlarge hat; especially if your head balances forward of your body. People will find it hard to see your face under a wide brim.

• Be careful of any tendency to over accessories. If you have a cane or walking stick, let that be your main accessory. If you do not use a cane or walking stick, then chose one piece - a pin for a scarf, a beautiful bracelet. You want to avoid long rope necklaces that will sway as you walk.’

Stayloose profile image

Good bullet points that are doable with limited finances..

agingfeminist profile image

Body changes here too but different from yours but I made a decision to wear the brightest colors possible. It brightens my mood and ,hopefully, dazzles anyone looking at me. I have difficulty putting on tops so have very bright shirts...I took the colour test at Kettlewell Colours and bought the shirts and the gilets and wraps etc, in bright contrasting colors...also bright scarves (I have lost most of my hair so twirl them scarves round my head...and add some dangly earrings). Larger sizes can help...but not too large.

I have never been interested in clothes but now I make a real effort to dazzle...and most days it is only me who sees my peacock display (I work online and don't use my camera for zoom)

Bright colors on top, dark colors below...maybe.

I do hope you find something that makes YOU feel good.

We can really step outside our normal comfort zone at this point in our lives.

sending you lot of good wishes

ROSAdmin2 profile image

Hi Mollysuki,

We have a booklet on how to adapt your wardrobe etc.


Mbaloo profile image
Mbaloo in reply to ROSAdmin2

I also wanted to say I looked at the booklet. Yes, it has some great points but the bottom line is that you need more length at center back and less length at the side back at the armhole. You also need less length in the front and accommodations for a full tummy. There is a way to do this when drafting your own patterns or what a dressmaker can do. You will never get this in RTW clothing. So before buying something then paying someone to alter it you would be better served to just have a custom dress made. Alterations are expensive too and there is only so much they can do. Plus once you have a custom dress made and fitted then the cost should go down as they will have your basic pattern to work from. This is just my opinion! You will have research the topic more and make your own decision.

mollysuki profile image
mollysuki in reply to ROSAdmin2

Having looked at these fact sheets I was disappointed to see the same image used in the old booklet! I can also see that most of what is said is a rehash from the person who has done several talks on clothing. Unfortunately the majority of men and women do not have her confidence to add a colourful scarf or a bit of statement jewellery. I mean Chums, JD Williams really? I am a young 62 year old woman not an old woman of 90!! As for some of the sites you recommend they are so expensive. Maternity trousers are awful and a big no to the tights. I find Snag much better for good fitting tights and lovely colours. Sorry ROS could do better!

Mbaloo profile image

Wow you hit a nerve with me on clothing for us "osteo" women. Forgive me if I ramble on but I am so passionate about this topic. I too am in the same situation. Since my vertebral fracture that happened in 2020 I have not only been rehabbing but I also found that none of my clothes fit any longer. I tried shopping even the finest stores and the clothing is just crap here in the midwest United States. I am so tired of people saying just wear a big top and leggings. This is not style in my opinion. I think it makes you look like a can with a stick in it. I want clothes that fit my body and make me look feminine. Commercial clothing is made from a standard body form and graded out to larger sizes. So unless you are a perfect posture and grow out proportionally ready to wear (RTW) will not fit you. Fortunately I know how to sew but with back pain I wasn't able to do that until 6 months ago. I found it incredibly challenging since none of my friends sew and I had to measure and fit my own body. I have finally came up with a bodice sloper that fits (sloper is a basic pattern which you can design clothes from). To help with fit I am planning to use princess seams, center back seams, and yokes in my blouses and dresses. These elements provide huge opportunities to fit our "bodies". My advice to you is find a qualified dressmaker. Hopefully someone is available where you live. Yes it can be a higher cost than RTW but if clothes fit well you don't need that many. I believe that most people buy a LOT of cheap clothing and then only wear them once or twice because they are so uncomfortable. I would rather have a few carefully chosen coordinated pieces (2 blouses, 2 jackets, 2 pants, and and 2 skirts) and mix and match them. If they fit you will be in heaven! Now let's discuss the "osteo" belly or what I call the POP belly. I have that too but I started doing a daily exercise that has actually reshaped my belly and it looks much better. Please note that I am at a stage where I can do this exercise. You must check with your doctor to see if the exercise is SAFE for you. I am currently taking FORTEO and have been for a year and have done considerable physical therapy. So far I have worked myself up to 25 reps of this exercise a day. I do them more slowly and carefully that what the video shows. I use my carpeted steps to do this exercise. I adjusted the height of my hands based on what works for me. Here is a link to it,

I am slowly working up to a higher count. I have found it incredibly helpful. I think it has also helped my posture a bit too. I hope this give you some encouragement.

Mbaloo profile image

me again. I follow many sewing websites and one that I follow is SureFitDesigns. They have an international presence in UK. They will fit a sloper to you. I don't know if you sew but getting a sloper to fit you will help you understand your fit challenges in a new light. SureFitDesigns also has many many videos on how to sew a basic dress from your sloper. Yes it is not inexpensive but again you have to realize what you are getting. Read over this link and see if this UK person is anywhere near you. Just a thought, again you make your own decisions.

Fruitandnutcase profile image
Fruitandnutcase in reply to Mbaloo

Can you tell me please what a ‘sloper’ is and what does RTW stand for?

Mbaloo profile image
Mbaloo in reply to Fruitandnutcase

RTW is "ready to wear" clothing that you buy in the stores. For those of us that sew, commercial pattern producers use slopers that fit the “average” body shape, which explains why there’s always work needed to make a store-bought pattern fit just right.

In the RTW clothing industry the "average" body shape is a form that is symmetrical, perfect posture, and a B cup size. There in lies the problem of why real women have a hard time finding clothes that truly fit them in a way that is comfortable and attractive.

Like all patterns, a sloper is a 2D version of a 3D form. It is like a blueprint of your body. It represents the basic measurements of your body, almost like a second skin. A bodice sloper, for example, shows the length, width and shape of your torso, as well as the bust points and length of darts. It’s not meant to be a garment, so movement or seams aren’t factored in.You can use a bodice sloper as the basis for creating a pattern for a top or jacket, or you can combine it with a skirt sloper (a fabric form of your waist, hips and thighs) to make a dress. A pants sloper is — you guessed it — the basis for any kind of pants pattern. Search the web for slopers and pattern fittings and you will get tons of information. You will quickly see how complex it is to fit real bodies!

mollysuki profile image
mollysuki in reply to Mbaloo

Thank you for the link. She’s not that far from where I live.

Mbaloo profile image
Mbaloo in reply to mollysuki

You are fortunate to have someone close to you. I have followed that company for many years and they do great work. You could at least speak to the instructor to see what help she can provide. She may require you to know how to sew, don't know. There is a cost to everything but I know from experience there is nothing better than to have clothes that FIT. No more pulling the shoulders forward because back doesn't fit or constantly adjusting your neckline to keep from being choked or looking in the mirror only to see the back of your shirt 2" shorter than the front and sticking out! I don't care what size a woman is, if her clothes fit well she looks great. And when you look great you feel great.

Here is a link to another company I use. I took their "fitting" vacation workshop years ago in Oregon. I have all of their books and videos. I still use their techniques today when fitting. Check out their youtube channel.

Mbaloo profile image

me again, note that all RTW clothing is based on a B cup size. If you are larger than a B cup RTW will never fit you in a flattering way. It is easy to adjust cup size when drafting a pattern and very difficult, actually impossible, in a RTW garment. They can let out seams but they can't put in the depth a larger bust requires. So another reason to avoid RTW. I am telling you these things to help you see your fitting issues in a new light.

strongmouse profile image
strongmouse in reply to Mbaloo

I don't agree with you that all RTW are cup size B. It may be true for popular High Street Shops but there are other companies around that cater for different people. I am 5ft lost an inch in height, but definitely changed shape (used to be quite petite) and am no longer a B cup - more like a D! But I have bought clothes online which look good. I agree that wearing two pieces rather than a dress works better, although I was surprised this summer to find a dress from Monsoon for my 70th birthday which I wore with one of their jackets (ordered online).

No more hour glass dresses though.

MyStar86 profile image

I just wondered what you meant by osteo tummy? I have had osteopenia since 2015 and I haven’t noticed any changes in my tummy so I just wondered what you meant as there are no bones in my tummy……or am I just being stupid please let me know xx

Mbaloo profile image
Mbaloo in reply to MyStar86

The "pooch" seen in people with osteoporosis is not due to abdominal fat or poor muscle tone. It is a physical displacement of the intestines caused by the loss of vertebral column height from compression fractures and the "dowagers hump" In severe cases, the rib cage, which is normally at least a hand span higher than the top of the pelvis can begin to press down on it and cause "rib rub" which is very painful. Squishing the abdomen into a smaller space means the contents have to go somewhere, and the spine and pelvic girdle leaves it only one place to go...outward.

MyStar86 profile image
MyStar86 in reply to Mbaloo

thank you for explaining! That might explain why I have chronic diaphragmatic pain where it feels like my stomach and bowels are being crushed……since I broke all my ribs on both sides in multiple places. I’m only just 36 so I haven’t lost height or have a pounch and I’ve had osteoporosis for nearly 8 years. What do you take for pain relief? Do you feel your osteoporosis is well managed? Are you on medication?xx

mollysuki profile image
mollysuki in reply to MyStar86

After several spinal fractures I lost 4 inches in height leaving me with kyphosis. This loss in height meant that my internal organs now have a smaller space to fit into thereby pushing the tummy outwards. Not a good look! My ribcage now rubs on top of iliac crest-bone rubbing on bone-I have no gap between the two.

MyStar86 profile image
MyStar86 in reply to mollysuki

You poor thing I’m so sorry to hear that!! do you take any pain medication? If so what do you take? Is your osteoporosis managed? I have the Zoledronic acid infusions yearly xx

strongmouse profile image

I buy online from Witt / Kaleidoscope. It works like a catologue and you can choose the items you want and then return for free if they don't fit or don't like them.

I have ME and I'm quite petite but now somewhat older and it is so tiring going into different shops trying things on. Being able to try them at home is so much easier and I find the range of clothes tends to be a similar fit (within the different ranges they offer). Used to use M and S but there sizing varies enormously these days.

You can look smart with different jackets or waistcoats and using scarves and jewellery to brighten an outfit up.

I have resorted to elasticated trousers and skirts, but cover them up, so no-one knows!

MollyStark profile image

I find short dresses/long tunics from Seasalt, FatFace and Mantaray are good for disguising the bulging stomach and kyphosis. I choose smock styles with gathering at the bust, artist style tunics and tiered dresses which don't have a tier at the waist area. I wear them either above the knee or just below, in fashionable patterns and materials (cord or viscose are good) and I team them with cord leggings and colourful boots. In this cold weather, I add an extra layer underneath with cotton polo tops. Similar in the summer, only I choose cotton and thin leggings withpatterned shoes. Adding a waistcoat (undone) also helps disguise lumps! Long, chunky scarves are great for this time of year. I like to added handmade corsage broochestoo. Finally, hooded tops can help to hid a hump. I find they need to be of a good size hood. I used to be very tall and have long legs so the leggings help to emphasise them and make me look taller. Avoid long dresses and clingy, jersey type fabrics. I was 60 last week and have no desire to look like an old frump!

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