Every Girl's Gotta Have A Little Black Dress - Uncover Ostomy
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Every Girl’s Gotta Have A Little Black Dress

You know the saying that every girl’s gotta have a little black dress? Yeah I have like 4. Luckily though, in university there are always reasons to get dressed up. Like, 2 weeks ago I went to the university’s annual charity ball and just yesterday my sorority had our biannual crush event.

I love picking out a dress, shoes, doing your hair and makeup… ok yes, sometimes I am a girl.

But before university, I had never really had to figure out how to wear a dress or anything with my ostomy. Where did I have to go? I was in high school. From some lucky coincidence, my prom dress had ruffles at the front and covered my ostomy and it really wasn’t a big deal.

As soon as I came to university, though, I realized prom dresses weren’t going to cut it at events, and I had to really search for some nice dresses.

The  ones I’ve bought and worn recently have been pretty risky. [Not style wise… though yes they are kind of risqué] I’m talking about actually wearing tight and short dresses that require minimal underwear. Minimal. As in- a piece of floss… if you know what I mean.

Normally, I like to wear normal underwear or whatever with a pair of boyshorts on top. It keeps everything in place and I feel secure during the day to go about my business. But with the tight dresses I wear, there is no way in hell I could wear those boy shorts.

I get asked a lot how I’m able to wear what I wear and still hide my bag. I answer with 2 things; 1. I have to make sure that it’s not so skin tight that you can see every ripple in my body and that it has some kind of fold or crease or something to hide the one area on my right side where my ostomy is [a ripple or fold goes a long way in hiding it]. 2. I say you have to take risks; and when I say risk I mean, you have to be able to flow freely and hope your bag stays where it’s supposed to. I know it’s not a risk you want to take when you’re going out and having fun but eventually, I got used to it.

Finding dresses has got to be one of the most difficult shopping trips a female ostomate can make. It takes time, and finding the right dress, the right size, and the right bag distraction can be tough- but it is possible.

I know formal season and prom season are coming up so I wanted to write this blog to offer a little bit of help. If anyone has any questions about dress shopping or anything, just comment below or on the facebook page :]


Jessica Grossman
  • Heather
    Posted at 15:33h, 08 February

    Great article, Jess, it’s so true about the ripple or the drape. I’m 49 so past the age of the LBD’s that YOU wear 🙂
    However – I still have to watch the same thing and agree with you on the strategic folds. My BF came over for a fashion show awhile back so I could try on all my dresses for a bag-check. There were only two dresses pre-ostomy that we decided no to. So another hint is fabric… one of the dresses was a jersey knit wrap dress. Thin knits that drape against the belly are a no – as my friend said "there’s something funny going on there".

  • Amber
    Posted at 00:28h, 10 February

    Great topic to discuss! It can be very challenging and frustrating to find the right dressy outfit when you have an ostomy. Around New Years Eve, I wanted to wear a dress to the party we were going to. The dress I fell in love with, of course, was pretty tight. I told myself to keep shopping incase there was a chance I found a looser, ruffly dress that I liked just as much. But, after a few hours of dragging my poor boyfriend through the mall, I realized that I wasn’t going to find a dress that I loved more than the satin white and black dress that I tried on right away. So, my solution was to buy a stretchy spandexy type corset to go under my dress. It wraps around the belly only (no bra/underwear extras to worry about). You slip it on like a skirt, pull it up to right below your boobs and BAM. It keeps your bag pressed down and helps to hide the lines around the ostomy and wafer. You find those anywhere! I believe I got mine at WalMart. It worked great and you couldnt even tell I was wearing a bag!
    I couldnt insert a photo of me in the dress, so here’s a link to a picture of me wearing it on my Facebook page.


  • Leslie
    Posted at 04:30h, 11 February

    I am 37 and have had my ostomy for almost 8 years. I was scared and very self- conscience of wearing anything tight or form fitting. Of course, it helps to now have someone very supportive in my life, but that is another story! I have found that dresses with rouching work well for me, and anything with some stretchiness! I too purchased a stretchy slip called Spanx. I wish i knew Walmart had a version. It works well. I work out really hard (like a guy I have been told), and I love to show off my hard work. It can be difficult at times, but I am used to my frequent trips to the ladies room and always scoping out the ladies room when i go to new place! I only have my small bowel, no rectum and I have an ileostomy due to Crohn’s. But I have learned to love my ostomy because it saved my life and allowed me to have my daughter!!! Love this site, JESSICA!! Great Job!

  • Katie
    Posted at 09:10h, 28 February

    This is really helpful. Thank you! I’m getting a colectamy with an illiostomy in 2 weeks and long ago bought my wedding dress for my June wedding. The dress hasn’t come in yet, but I’ve been having fears of it not looking right. Fortunately it is a ballgown style with a flower on the right side. Thanks to the post and comments, I’m not worried about fit anymore. I do however have nightmares about it leaking down my beautiful ivory lace… Any suggestions on minimizing that risk, or is it really just a bad dream? Thank you so much. I can’t wait to fully embrace this new life I’m about to get!!