Ostomy Hacks: Dressing with an Ostomy

OstomyLife Co-Moderator
05/31/18  2:35 PM PST
Dressing with an Ostomy

Dressing with an ostomy is something every ostomate needs to learn. It’s personal and takes some time after surgery. You’ll need to make some adjustments, but you can make it work – without spending a fortune.

At first it is best to wear loose, comfortable clothing until you have fully recovered from your ostomy surgery. After my surgery, I tried several different products and clothes, and over the years I have adapted my closet to fit my ostomy. Here are a few of my favorite things:

Shape-wear shorts:

Shape wear: T.J. Maxx. CHEAP!

About a year ago I bought a pair of shape-wear shorts that come up to my ribs at T.J. Maxx, and they work great for me. Not only do they help conceal my ostomy but they have the added bonus of also being quite slimming. I like to wear them under dresses and rompers.

High-waisted shorts:

High shorts: SUMMER MUST!



I like to wear high-waisted shorts with tight shirts tucked into them or short tops. The shorts are great for concealing my bag because they are textured, have seams, and are made of thick material.





Thick-band leggings: My life line / Go to

Leggings are one of my favorites, but not just any leggings; I like leggings with a thick band at the top, preferably a band that encompasses the wafer. If the band itself sits right on top of the wafer if makes it almost impossible to see. I wear these under dresses and skirts or just with a shirt.


< – Leggings and dress


Leggings and tight dress – >
(YES! We can make the tight dresses work, too)




Mid-rise jeans

I like to wear mid-rise instead of high-rise pants. While high-rise shorts work for me, high-rise pants don’t seem to fit my body or style and they sit too high above my bag so it is able to bulge out under the band at the top of the pants. The tops of mid-rise pants sit right on top of my wafer, pulling it into me. You want to make sure that the pants are not too tight on your wafer if you choose to wear pants that sit on it. You also want to make sure that the stoma is not too compressed by these because it can cause harm to or cut off the blood supply to the stoma.

How I fold it down

High-waisted skirts:

Tight skirt with stretch and texture

Tight high-waisted shirts made of thick material are perfect. If worn with leggings or tights underneath, there is an added layer of clothing to smooth out your ostomy pouch, but these skirts are also able do the trick on their own. Think thick material and patterns and/or texture.

Cinch-waist dress:

Cinch Dress with Ostomy Secrets Wrap underneath

Dresses (or rompers) that cinch at the smallest part of my natural waist are perfect. I usually wear a wrap, leggings, or tights under these to keep my pouch against my body.

Ostomysecrets wrap:

While there a lot of great apparel and accessories options developed specifically for ostomates, I have found many clothing items that work for me, as you can see above. But sometimes I do wear a wrap from Ostomysecrets. There are several wraps created by Ostomysecrets, including the Classic Wrap and the Classic Wrap Lite. My favorite is the Classic Wrap Lite, which I sometimes wear under dresses. These are great for when you aren’t wearing leggings or tights or for coupling with leggings or tights if you are wearing a tight dress.


At the end of the day, it is all about finding what works for you and what makes you comfortable.  While I have found that these clothing “hacks” work best of me, you may find that something else works better for you. If you have yet to discover what works best, try some of my tricks! Maybe you’ll find just what you needed.

For more information, see related articles and resources here:

Serving Medicare Ostomates Nationwide
I had emergency ostomy surgery last march. I have a peristomal hernia the size of a breast. Is that normal?
Unfortunately, hernias can often occur following ostomy surgery.
We definitely recommend speaking to your surgeon about the issue, but additionally ...

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  1. I’ve been a ileostomy patient since 1977, due to ulcerative colitis.
    I’m looking for someone who makes pouch covers.
    Thank you!

  2. I love Ostomy Expressions. She has a Facebook page that you can she what she offered and order through. I currently have 6 covers I ordered from her.

  3. One thing that amazes me everybody shows help and things they can do with a flat empty bag I myself have an ileostomy which is been the worst thing that has ever happened to me is the last disgusting and torturous part add it to my terminal cancer, I just don’t understand how you can wear what is shown in pictures with a bag that actually has something in it, and absolutely makes no sense to me just like when the ride to me in church and showed me initiate everything with people that have an empty bag on sure he can work anything with an empty bag on that one about one that works on it constantly has stuff in it reminds a nail yesterday so it never stops just like the reason I’m awake right now is because I woke up once again covered in feces because my bag blew out overnight, any suggestions on showering August 5 meeting here again but I had mine and being a Florida girl in a waterbug the worst thing about it is and I can’t do any type of swimming anymore due to my terminal cancer and taking a chance on infections and I can’t even take a shower like a normal person. Any tips on waterproofing, that actually work? Because I can’t get a straight answer from anybody on something that won’t work yeah I tried to clean rap stuff which doesn’t work for me , I got a really rod deal with this I was discharged from the hospital given a book and said here you go pick out what you like and order it and I’ve been on my own ever cents I had an appointment a few months back with an ostomy nurse at the hospital and she wasn’t helpful at all actually I’ll she did was pissed me off and everything every problem I told her I had she told me wow I’ve never heard of that before!?! Wow really it’s been a year and a month now and I still can’t get a straight answer from anybody on any help

    1. Hi Jai. Thanks for your comment. We’re sorry to hear you’ve had such a rough time of it. To answer some of your questions, Laura, our Ostomy Lifestyle Specialist, talks about how often she empties her bag in this video so that it doesn’t draw attention to itself. She also has an article about showering. As for needing to keep your stoma totally dry because of infection worries, we would recommend looking in to the DryPro. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask them here, or join us over on the OstomyLife Facebook page to find answers from that robust community. Best of luck, and we hope things are getting better. -Aimee, Shield HealthCare

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