How to Dress Stylishly With a Back Brace

If you have a condition, like scoliosis, that requires you to wear a back brace, you may be worried about how to dress in a way that accommodates the brace – and your sense of fashion. While some of the pieces in your closet won’t work with the brace, you still have plenty of options for dressing stylishly. Here are some tips to help you adjust your existing wardrobe to the brace and to add some new items to your closet.
Clothing cuts and styles
First, you’ll want to make sure you select the correct styles and cuts, no matter what the item is. Even though skinny jeans are in fashion, you’ll want to avoid wearing tight clothing to help cover your brace. For example, choose full, swishing skirts and fluid pants (not baggy). A-line dresses also skim past the area where your brace fits, so this shape is helpful as well. Tops should have an unconstructed look that flows out from your body around the waist. Empire waists are another good option for camouflaging the bulk of a back brace.
Empire Waist
Empire Waist
On the bottom
Specifically, cuts that work well on the bottom include tiered skirts and cargo pants. The tiers in this style of skirt do an excellent job of hiding the areas where a back brace presses into the body. However, any type of skirt that adds some extra “flounce” will have the same effect. Cargo pants also add some extra fabric to mask a brace, as compared to more fitted, straight-leg pants. If you do want to wear tighter pants, however, consider pairing them with a long or tunic-style shirt or peasant blouse. These flowing tops will cascade right past your brace, and you can still enjoy the tighter pant styles on the bottom.

On the top

Besides the styles and waist cuts mentioned above (empire waist, tunics, peasant blouses, etc.), you can create more options by adding jackets to your wardrobe. Jackets can be used to add coverage, and they can be easily dressed up or down. Consider wearing a seersucker, or other light fabric, jacket in the warmer months. In the fall and winter, you can opt for well-constructed sweater cardigans and classic blazers. You can also try vests, which provide back coverage without having to wear a full jacket.
Stylish Jacket
Stylish Jacket
No matter what you’re wearing on the outside, you’ll want to be sure you are comfortable underneath your brace, too. Some people opt to wear a seamless, ribbed tank-top under their brace to keep it from rubbing against the skin or itching. However, spaghetti-strapped tanks made with a soft, yoga-pant material are even more comfortable and are usually thinner and cooler under your brace.
Do you have any fashion advice for others who wear back braces? Wearing a brace doesn’t have to be a fashion downgrade – adjusting your style to accommodate your brace can make a huge difference!
Image credits: Garann and Maegan Tintari