Clothing Advice for a Swollen Abdomen

Clothing shop
Q: I recently had a medication pump surgically implanted in my abdomen. In addition to this pump I am taking a large dose of steroids for a chronic illness. Therefore, my mid-section is very swollen and I have gained a large amount of fluid weight from the medication.
I am 5 foot tall and have become very thick through the abdomen and waist area. I have been in the hospital 4 months and will be forced to replace my wardrobe soon. Will you please advise me on what style of clothing would flatter my figure?
I guess something for very short and very plump? I have always loved to shop and had excellent taste, but I'm not sure where to start this time. Thanks for the help. I found this website after being up all night in desperation.

A: First, let me say that I am sorry to hear of your medical condition. I can sympathize with you, and I am happy to offer all the advice I can to help you cope with a change that you have no control over.
As a petite woman, many of the factors about the way you would dress are unchanged. The length of your skirts and the necklines you should wear are basically unchanged. As before, you want to avoid very short or very long skirts as they will only emphasize your height.
The key to dealing with your swollen abdomen is going to be selecting clothing that will not draw attention to the area, but rather skim over it. A lightly layered look will always be effective. Smooth fronted skirts (no pleating or gathers) worn with tops that skim across the abdomen (loosely draping, but not baggy) and a light jacket that is slightly longer than the top creates a vertical line that de-emphasizes the wider mid-section without making you appear too short.
You will also want to look at mono-chromatic tones in many of your clothing choices. Choose pant and skirt, jacket and blouse separates in subtly varying shades of the same color for a smart, slimming look. For more casual looks, you can always look to blouse and skirt combinations with designs and trim at the neckline of the blouses or along the hem of skirts. These will draw the eye away from the waist, and when coupled with a loosely skimming blouse, create a slimming, and flattering silhouette.
You may also want to look at many of the new styles of foundation garments available, which offer comfortable support and shaping of your body. Just be sure to have them sized correctly. Foundation garments arenít meant to make you smaller, but to gently reshape and refine your silhouette into a more flattering one.
I wish you all the best in your recovery and coping with your illness.
Photo: Veja/Shutterstock
See also:
What to wear
Apparel and your body type