Scoliosis Therapy Centers


Fashionable Bracing – Dressing Your Scoliosis Child

ByVivian McNeil


Preteens and teens of today are the best and most resilient ever. Yes, I know that some may say they are spoiled, brazen, and needy. However, their very brazenness is what is bringing out their amazing creativity in embracing their scoliosis braces. We have learned from history and personal experience that the very character traits that we admire in people can also be misused negatively. For example, A quiet, soft person may find it hard to find a job because he or she cannot communicate openly. On the other hand, a teenager who is rambunctious in school grows up to become a leader in his or her community. After detailing the different aspects both emotionally and physically of fitting your Idiopathic Scoliosis child with clothing, we will discover the very creativity of certain youngsters who are fighting the tide and wearing their braces with pride.

A teenager’s life is daunting enough, without having to deal with wearing a scoliosis brace every day to school. Let’s divide the different stress points that your scoliosis wearing teen or preteen-er must contend with in school. Besides peer acceptance of the brace, the child is forced to deal with the discomfort of the brace, whether it is the sweating and itching in the summer or the mobility issues during sports and gym. The advantage of wearing the brace for the full day in school, will result in curtailing the progression of the curve  and thus avoiding a worse case scenario of possible surgery as a last resort.

Must a child with idiopathic scoliosis be forced to wear only baggy sweatshirts and sweatpants all the time? 

Here are some of the visible indications to look for on your child’s body when shopping for the correct scoliosis fit: uneven shoulders and rib cage, one leg shorter than the other, leaning to one side, head off center and one shoulder blade protruding more than the other. There are several aspects to consider when searching for appropriate clothing for your scoliosis child.

1) The undergarments, such as a medical tank top, to be worn underneath the brace to make it more comfortable

2) The clothing to be worn on top of the brace as part of your child’s wardrobe for everyday and special events

3) The children who attend schools that mandate uniforms

4) The general aspects of the brace itself; such as its rigidity and clumsiness under garments

Undergarments to Wear Under The Scoliosis Brace

To eliminate chafing, look for shirts that are seamless like tight fitting tank tops made of absorbent and breathable materials. The type of brace your child wears, will determine which cuts the shirts should have. For example, with the Rigo-Chêneau brace, you would need to buy a shirt that has an extra flap to protect the skin under the armpit, since the brace comes up high underneath the armpit. Certain companies trend toward seamless shirts which are more comfortable than those that have seams. Some of the companies are Tilly’s, Gap Modern Crew Tee and Under Armour.

Comfortable Pants for Scoliosis 

As far as pants go, although they can be worn with a brace,your child may be more comfortable with jeggings (jean leggings) which have a more comfortable elastic waist band. They have no snaps or buttons that tend to squeeze into the skin under the brace. To wear regular pants over the brace, you may have to purchase a larger size to accommodate the brace. For example, the Boston brace which comes over both hips, allows for regular pants to be worn. Bring your child with you to the store and make sure he or she sits down on a chair in the dressing room to check that the pants are not digging into the stomach. These last two points go for boys as well as girls, although girls are eight times as likely as boys to have scoliosis.

An amazing invention are high waisted jeans. One girl with scoliosis boasted that her discovery of high waisted jeans eliminated her fear of wearing jeans that made her curve show. She says these types of jeans actually flatter her posture.

Proper Tops to Wear For Scoliosis

Long button down shirts, tunics, loose sweaters, hoodies and loose tank tops, will not only cover the brace, but the shape of these garments will conceal the boxy shape of the Cheneau Gensingen brace. If there is any rib protrusion, it won’t show. Also a top with a cowl neck will hide the axillary piece of the Rigo-Chêneau brace. Layering of clothes will hide the outline of this type of brace.

Peplum tops are another way to go, especially for those children suffering with lumbar spinal curves. These tops will conceal your child’s spinal curve and add a fashionable dimension to them. (Peplums are short, gathered, and slightly flared with a strip of fabric attached at the waist of a blouse, jacket, skirt or dress.)

Although shoulder pads may be old fashioned, they have always been used to smooth out uneven shoulders. One shoulder pad on one side may do the trick just right. It is important to remember that comfort is just as important as appearance. Remind your child to bring their brace with them when shopping, and adjust it to the right settings for the clothes to fit properly.

School Uniforms for Scoliosis 

Certain religious schools have a compulsory regulation of school uniforms. Even with uniforms, you can tell who is the fashion conscious student and who is not. What shall a scoliosis wearer do? The child has two choices, one is to wear a uniform a size larger. This adjustment will help the child hide her brace from other classmates. The second choice, is to admit and exalt the brace. I know a girl who was so matter of fact about her brace that she went so far as to tell her friends, “Go ahead and stand on my back, it will not even hurt a bit nor will I even feel it!” Hopefully, her friends did not take her up on her offer, and if they did, I hope the brace was able to take their weight. The brace became a lucky charm that her friends admired.This observation shows the confidence that this girl had in herself; that she was able to make the best of her situation and eventually her classmates became tired of giving her all that free attention.

Creative Outlets for Kids With Scoliosis

1)The Nordstrom Fashion Show – Several years ago, ten year old Sophie Pidgeon, and her Mom, Meghan, traveled nearly four hours from their home, in Charlotte, Vermont, to Natick for a spring fashion show at Nordstrom. This was no ordinary fashion show, since all of the fifty models were scoliosis brace wearers.

All the girls shared one common goal, to be able to express their unique personalities and fashion flair while at the same time not divulging the braces under their clothing. Medical regulations call for privacy between patients, so this was Sophie’s first opportunity to mingle with other scoliosis brace wearers, since she received her brace. She will have to wear her brace for eighteen hours a day until she is sixteen years old. At Nordstrom, a stylist helped Sophie pick out clothes that she liked and that complimented her brace.

2) Curvy Girls – Although scoliosis centers must keep the confidentiality of their patients, Leah hit upon an idea and told the people at her scoliosis center of her plan. Leah’s initiative was forming a group with other girls suffering in isolation with Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis. The people at her scoliosis center offered to hand out flyers to patients similar to her. She began getting calls from scoliosis girls and her first meeting consisted of just four members. They each brought down some shirts to show each other and explain to each other how to disguise their individual braces. These innovative girls talked about how to tell other kids about their condition, as well as how to express their frustrations to their physical therapists and doctors.The group, Curvy Girls, grew by leaps and bounds over time. Leah calls, Curvy Girls, “our emotional brace”. “We need to help our girls feel better about themselves from the inside out”.

Leah first began wearing her scoliosis brace when she was in her first year of middle school. She attended an adult group meeting for scoliosis sufferers but did not feel comfortable there. That is when she came up with the idea to have a group for kids like her. The most important aspect of the group is to support each other so they do not feel alone with their issue.

3) Hope’s Closet – Dahlia Ronen’s, and her daughter, Hope Schneider could not find any comfortable undershirts on the market that were easy enough for Hope to wear under her scoliosis brace. Hope could not be comfortable because she would get sores under her armpits, since the undershirts were not cut in the right way for her brace. After numerous attempts at buying the right shirts and hundreds of dollars spent, Hope turned to her mother and asked why no one has yet designed a cute and comfortable undershirt for Scoliosis brace wearers like herself. Hope’s Closet, was born in 2012, as a unique brand specifically geared to Scoliosis brace wearers. Both fashion and function are the trademark advantages of Hope’s Closet brand of products. Kids who wear the Hope’s Embrace undershirts are meeting their brace compliance hours more readily. Curvy Girls has given their full hearted endorsement to the trademark, Hope Embrace tank tops, in addition to also receiving endorsements from well known doctors, orthodists, physical therapists and even research groups.

Look how amazing Scoliosis kids are. Look how they have inspired countless teens and preteens from all over. Other kids in addition to Leah and Hope are doing their utmost to include isolated children who would otherwise be lonely and alone in their school and their communities to gain confidence and ultimately give back to those in need of support in their physical and emotional battles to win their fight against Idiopathic Scoliosis.

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