Katherine Messider – Style & Scoliosis

Katherine’s relationship with fashion and clothing is and has always been a very positive one.

My scoliosis was first noticed by my nan on a shopping trip when I tried on a spaghetti strapped top and she noticed my uneven shoulders. After my spinal fusion at Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore in 2012 I grew in confidence thanks to my new favourite accessory, my scar. I love to show it off and even began to wear more backless tops and dresses to really accentuate it. I truly love my scar as I think it’s beautiful and shows how far I’ve come in the last decade.

I have such a love for fashion that I even have a BA hons degree in fashion design (which I completed in 2020 during the pandemic). Even during my degree I found ways to incorporate scoliosis and created two dresses which showed the fragility and control which scoliosis can have over someone. Since having my graduation ceremony in 2021 (where my low backed dress allowed my scar to peek out of the top of my graduation gown) I then started what has to be the dream job for me, working as a junior cutter and studio assistant for bridal company Suzanne Neville. At Suzanne Neville everything is made to order so garments can be made to measure, meaning that there are no shapes or sizes that they can’t create. When it comes to brides with scoliosis Suzanne and the team of pattern cutters know exactly what to do and so they create a bodice that is asymmetric but when worn by the person with scoliosis it looks symmetrical, I like to think of it as their own unique from of symmetry as every scoliosis or kyphosis dress is different, as no two curvatures are the same.

My tips and tricks to navigating outfits with scoliosis; first off, try not to limit yourself, I know it’s not always easy for everyone, but clothing and fashion is an amazing way to express your style and explore your own identity. Sometimes though, there are things that just don’t fit right, so there are a few things I look for on certain garments such as adjustable shoulder straps, so you can then have them at different lengths. Frills are also great at distracting the focus point or even in the case of peplum tops, they can even out the overall appearance of the spine. I also highly recommend finding independent fashion/ clothing brands who hand make clothes made to order because some can make them to your specific measurements, on request. Always remember that fashion and clothing can be fun, so be brave!

If you would like to talk further about any aspect of scoliosis, SAUK is here to help; please call our helpline or contact us via post or using our e-mail address info@sauk.org.uk.