EmBraced in Comfort Offers Comfortable Undergarments for People with Scoliocis

For 14 years, a Michigan woman has created comfortable undergarments uniquely designed for people of all ages who wear back braces to treat scoliosis.
Tina Beauvais, founder and CEO of EmBraced in Comfort, poses at her company’s facility in Fairgrove. All products are made in-house by Beauvais and a few part-time employees. // Photograph by Jenifer Veloso

I received two things for my 10th birthday: a Nintendo Wii gaming system and a scoliosis diagnosis.

It was, of all people, my allergist who first noticed something was wrong. As I sat on the exam table just a few days before my birthday that year, he noticed that my right shoulder was slightly higher than the left. He told my mom I should have X-rays done to determine if scoliosis was the root of my uneven shoulders.

He was right, and I was fitted for a brace that August — a month before starting fifth grade — with instructions to wear it for 20 hours a day, year-round. That was my life for the next three years.

That period of time is a blur now, but I’ll never forget the dreaded T-shirts I had to wear under my brace to prevent chafing and irritation on my skin. Ever the fashionista, I found the bulky cotton T-shirts unflattering under nearly every outfit. I did my best to hide them by rolling the sleeves under my tops and tucking any excess fabric into my pants or skirts, often creating a weird, bunchy layer. No matter what I did, those T-shirts were still too visible for my liking, and that extra layer could get unbearable when the weather was warmer.

How I wish I’d known of Tina Beauvais, who around that time was quietly creating an online business from her home in Fairgrove (northeast of Saginaw), designing clothing specifically for folks with scoliosis — clothing that, for the past 14 years, has helped individuals all around the world. Helping people everywhere so they don’t have to deal with the same struggles and insecurities that I did.

Founded in 2009 by Beauvais, EmBraced in Comfort offers garments for children and adults to wear under their back brace, including T-shirts, tank tops, camis, tube tops, shorts, and bodysuits. All products are made in-house at the EmBraced in Comfort facility in Fairgrove. While Beauvais and her part-time employees follow a standard size chart when creating the products, customers can submit their measurements for a custom fit.

Beauvais is the only person in her household without scoliosis. Both of her children, Cynthia and Vaughn, were diagnosed at 5 years old and wore braces for years. Her husband, Andrew, was diagnosed with the condition as a teenager.

When it was time for Cynthia, Beauvais’ oldest, to start first grade, Cynthia’s doctors questioned how she’d use the restroom independently, as the brace she wore at the time had several elastic bands that wrapped around her torso and legs. Beauvais used her then-beginner sewing skills to create a bodysuit that snapped at the crotch, allowing Cynthia to use the restroom without taking her brace off.

“That worked for her for that brace,” Beauvais says of the bodysuit (she got a utility patent on the garment in 2010). Amazed, Cynthia’s medical providers asked Beauvais where she got the bodysuit. When she said she created it herself, they told her a lot of people could benefit from it. From there, EmBraced in Comfort was born. To sharpen her design skills, Beauvais — whose background is in engineering with a focus on manufacturing practices — took a few apparel design courses at Central Michigan University.

“It can be really overwhelming in the beginning,” Beauvais says, reflecting on her children’s scoliosis journeys. “That’s why I started my blog [Scoliosis Family Adventures] in the first place — that was before I had a business — because I had a hard enough time figuring out what we were going to do. If I can save another family from having to go through that, I will.”

The fabric used is what makes EmBraced in Comfort’s products a step above a cotton T-shirt or pair of shorts at a department store. Beauvais works with a textile company in California to procure fabrics in various colors made with rayon from bamboo, organic cotton, and spandex.

“It has a nice four-way stretch and recovery,” Beauvais says of the material. “It’s a little lighter-weight, which is good because it’s cooler and softer.”

The brand’s most popular item is the Scoliosis Brace T-Shirt, followed by the Scoliosis Brace Tube, a newer product that Beauvais says is long enough to wrap over the brace from both the bottom up and top down to enclose it, made possible by its elasticized hems.

Over Zoom, I told Beauvais how much EmBraced in Comfort could have helped me when I wore my back brace — the camis, tank tops, and tube tops would’ve been an amazing alternative to the T-shirts I wore. Nonetheless, it’s remarkable to see the business’s impact; to date, around 11,000 EmBraced in Comfort products have been sold in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and the U.K.

“My hopes are just that more people can become aware of their options when it comes to treating the scoliosis of their loved ones,” Beauvais says. “We can be part of that team.”

Move With Ease

EmBraced in Comfort’s products are made with soft and stretchy fabric, optimal for folks needing a cozy garment to wear under their back brace. Here are some of those items.

Learn more about EmBraced in Comfort, and purchase any of the items listed above, at embracedincomfort.com.

This story is part of the 2023 Health Guide. Read more in our Digital Edition.