Do you have a hunch at the top of your back? It’s known also as a dowager’s hump, hunchback and the medical term is kyphosis. It can come from poor posture over time (staring too much at your phone and slumped at your desk) and also as a spinal condition such as Scheuermann’s kyphosis. Whatever the reason if this is something you’d like to make less noticeable using clothing and accessories here are some tips to help you make the hump less apparent.
1. Avoid tight fitting tops
Any tight fitting tops or dresses that cling to the hump will show it off more, so opt for clothing that is a little looser and more forgiving.
2. Collars Are Great
Collars on shirts and jackets are a great way of making a hump less obvious. A collar because it stands up and away from the hump and covers the top of your back and shoulders are one of your greatest styles to wear.
3. Add Shoulder Pads
Adding in some shoulder pads (they don’t have to be big ones) can help to create more fullness through the shoulders and the hump less apparent.
4. Scarves Are Your Go-To
If you’re wearing a lower neckline or a tighter top, use a scarf to cover the back of your neck, it can work like a collar to disguise your hunch.
5. Larger shawl collars on cardigans
Just like a collar on a shirt or jacket, knits with shawl collars that fold over help to create more volume in the upper back and will downplay any hump.
6. Keep Your Hair Longer hair
Keeping your hair past your neck onto your shoulders also acts to smooth out the area and create the illusion of a straighter line. Avoid short cuts that show off or expose the back of your neck and top of your back.
7. Accessorise to create the focal point you want
Use accessories to draw attention to where you want people to notice, we call these focal points. Maybe statement earrings won’t work for you, but a necklace may, as will scarves as mentioned before. If you’re providing a distraction most people’s attention is not drawn to what you want to camouflage or deflect from. This is part of the art of becoming a style magician.
8. Tops in Busy prints and patterns
Wear tops with busy and dense prints and patterns. The print will make it harder for the eye to stop and notice any particular feature. This is another tool of the style magician that is so often overlooked.
If you have one shoulder higher than the other, think about using asymmetry to draw attention away and to fool the brain into thinking the asymmetry is in the garment, rather than your body.
10. Avoid waisted dresses
If you have a prominent hump, avoid waisted dresses as they will not sit right (the curve of your back will pull the waistline up at the back). Uneven hems with short at the back and longer at the front will indicate that something is amiss. Instead opt for two piece outfits if you need waist definition for your shape. This means the hemline won’t hike up at the back and fall longr at the front.
11. Necklines with gathers or pleats
Having a bit more fabric through the neckline can also help to disguise a hump, avoid a gathered neckline if you have a large bust, as this will make it look larger.
Brilliant Tricks of the Clothing Magician – How to Highlight and Camouflage for Figure Flattery
I found this article interesting. You might want to check out Ester Gokhale’s book and website. The hump is generally from improper posture of modern man (and woman) that results in a forward neck, curved spine, and tucked pelvis. It can be prevented and fixed. My chiropractor helped too because he put my neck in the proper position and I do exercises that strengthen the muscles that keep my body aligned with the proper posture. No curved neck, forward head and tucked pelvis for me! 🙂
Bad posture and Scheuermann’s disease are two different things. You can fix bad posture. You can’t fix Scheuermann’s because the vertebrae are wedged and therefore only surgery can actually fix it.
Thank you for your reply. I have had a curved back all my life and no amount of exercise could correct it. My thoracic vertebrae are wedge-shaped and it’s too late to correct that since I’m now 73. If I could change one thing about my body, it would be to straighten my spine.
I found great help from Ester Gokhale’s method (Gohkalemethod.com) and an awesome chiropractor who also gave me exercises so that my body would naturally retain good posture. It is modern mankind’s posture that usually causes this condition and it can be prevented and improved if corrected. I used to have a forward head, curved spine, and tucked pelvis, but not anymore! 🙂
I find this interesting. My grandmother was very bent over in her late years and many on that side of the family
are showing signs of this condition, including myself. Thanks for these styling tips.
Kyphosis is usually caused by wedging and compression of the vertebrae because of osteoporosis. No amount of exercise will correct this. Sometimes the bone is so fragile that sitting down hard on a chair or even stepping off a curb can cause a vertebral fracture. This wedges the bone even more. To combat osteoporosis, see your doctor, Get started on calcium supplements. You may need medications such as Prolia to prevent further deterioration of the bones. As to Scheuermann’s kyphosis, it is a rare condition, mainly of adolescence.
Rhema Sayers, M.D.
I wonder if you had ideas for fashionable or at least harmonious choices or methods of say, needing a huge bag for one’s medical supplies, making one’s aides like canes/chairs or braces at least not eat one alive, and possibly thoughts on not-horrible adaptable/medically needed/accessible clothing? Because oh boy, there’s not much for that and… hospital robes are always sacks in the colors of you’re sick, but one isn’t living in them even if one does end up there often. I know you did one on shoes, and while sadly I need both ankle and arch support (the choices are tall sneakers, boots, boots, and more boots, all light weight and laced… lol) that was great, same as this one (I def have kyphosis too, and it’s not mild tech neck…). I sadly suspect no one can make 3 ace bandages, accomadative items, and portable pharmacy look anything other than hospital-esque.
I also wonder; have you done a discussion on what to do with wildly conflicting coloring or sickly clashing tones due to illness? There are a number of temporary or permanent reasons why one might not want to look ill but you know… might be. Basically, I wonder if you’ve considered covering how would someone who’s over/under tone and then… a second, non-blending undertone work with that? Translucency? A community elder of the after 70+ and bone-china skinned variety? Similar issues would apply to say, preemie babies and similar temporary states too; I feel like that would make parents/patients feel better if their kid didn’t look sicker than they were.
For instance; I have palest peachy beiged ivory and pinky red brown/cinnamoned skin, medium dark red-brown hair with caramel/khaki tones, and warm blue eyes with Aztec suns; in ye ole color seasons I’m a soft autumn. Ha, only sort of, and of course that system even further expanded is hit or miss. I am a medium-high contrast, neither truly bright nor muted, slightly color dominant, slightly warm hued human; as a child I was a strawberry blond, peaches and cream type. No actual yellow tones because I have none obvious; all medium slightly warm reds and pinks and khakis and browns with dusty plums and olive/sage greens and grayed/toasted blues. Easy enough…
But, I also have paper thin skin (think almost powdery/looking through warmed milk glass…) frosty blue sclera (eye whites), prominent pearly purple under-eyes, constantly dealing with a rash/hives coming and going (pinky-red) and you can see just about every vein and even some capillaries (purple, green, red-violet, even some grey and marine blues). If you did a color sampling of my face you could get most of the color wheel, and a slightly warmer variant off the rest of me. I clash with myself already, just skin clashing with skin and eyes with eyes! I have been asked if I’m on chemo/have cancer, if that gives you an idea. And I’m a bluntly boned and broad shouldered 8/SN body type (not delicate or sharp) that bends in ways bodies shouldn’t which really underscores the clashing/off-ness. Now, I do have a debilitating genetic tissue disorder, EDS, which is why I in particular look like this now that I’m firmly not a youth, and as I get older while I’ll likely get even more translucent I may grey enough to be more harmonious (I’m starting to go grey hair-wise and it’s a neutral greige grey, so at least the hair won’t scream autumn…). But that doesn’t help early 30 me who knows some tricks but still looks like an undead (and not because I’m wearing black, that’s a strong nope, lol), and it certainly didn’t help mid 20 me, who was still navigating primary diagnoses and felt… pretty bad about what people said about her visibly sick but trying her best body.
So, getting back to cloths and humps. I have suffered with Scoliosis all my life but only found out what the problem was when I was in my early 30s, I am now 73 and have developed a kyphosis (hump). I’ve always had a love of cloths and prefer my own style rather than being a follower of fashion. I have no idea what my body type is, because of the scoliosis it is bit hard to relate, I look different from the front than I do from the back. When you see me coming I look quite normal but from behind I’m mis-shapen, my buttocks are large, possibly due to broad hips and my kyphosis is very apparent. I no longer feel comfortable wearing a dress / skirt and therefore I live in jeans or pull on pants, but don’t think I look like a slouch. I like to dress my outfits up and it’s nice to get comments from people. My biggest problem is finding where to source items of clothing, as I live in rural Victoria (Gippy Lakes) which offers very little in choice and I guess I’m just out of touch with clothing stores in general. Yes, I do need need cloths with collars but from what I see, there is nothing I particularly like, other than big shirts and linen shirts. of which I have enough. I’m looking for an outlet that has cloths with a bit more flow and of course, collars. I’m a size 14 (L) – (16) and a follower of Advanced Style.
This is why many have turned to sewing, as we just can’t find what we want in retail!