Today I want to share with you some guidance I received from Susan, who has lost a breast due to cancer and has shared her tips on how to disguise it (and other scarring which can happen with surgery). I’ve created some pictures to illustrate her advice.
I am a great fan of your website and have been following it for some time now. Thank you for all your insights.
Reading the post on horizontal stripes reminded me of a challenging time in my life when I could have used a little sartorial advice. When I was only 40 I lost a breast to cancer. Not surprisingly, I was extremely self-conscious about my irregularities, from the time I was stuffing a sock in my bra, to post-reconstruction when I am still lumpy and lopsided (but glad to be here!). Those initial months I learned a few tricks to disguise my asymmetry without hiding in oversized sacks. I thought I would like to share.
What to Wear When You’ve Had a Mastectomy
1. Obviously, avoid stripes like the plague. In fact, avoid all geometric patterns. All-over, asymmetric patterns are much better.
2. If you prefer solid colours, cowl necklines and ruching are good disguisers. Looser, button-up shirts are also easier to wear.
2. Loose layers hide a multitude of sins, even over a close fitting top like a T-shirt or turtleneck.
3. Scarves and shawls are great to drape over the chest, and to fill in a scarred neckline. But don’t overdo if you’re also wearing a scarf on your head.
4. Keep attention high with interesting earrings and shorter necklaces. Don’t wear long necklaces that dangle over the bustline.
Unfortunately, where I have been unable to find much of a solution is in eveningwear. It seems almost impossible to look “sexy” in our society without showing a lot of decolletage. Anything I could find to hide my scars and my prosthesis-supporting bra only made me look matronly. Highlighting your back (if you can) or legs might be an alternative if you can find the right outfit. Imogen, any suggestions you can offer would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks so much for sharing your tips Susan! Here are my tips for evening wear:
Choosing Evening Wear When You’ve Had a Mastectomy
My evening wear suggestions keep going along the same guidelines as you’ve already provided:
1. non-repeating all over pattern
2. Asymmetrical details and design (any sort of asymmetric plays tricks on the brain, stopping it from noticing what else about you is asymmetrical)
3. Texture (such as lace) and dark colours (which recede)
4. Big shiny earrings and necklaces above the bust to draw attention upwards
5. A large shawl in a gorgeous fabric to drape over your shoulders
Don’t forget that you can use silicone breast forms rather than socks. And if you need a special bra fitted, there are bespoke bra makers and fitters like Linda you can go to for help.
If you’re in this situation, what have you found really works for you?