So how do you dress to look good after a mastectomy? For any woman, undergoing surgery for breast cancer is a devastating experience. Not only are you confronted with the possibility of losing your breast but also a sudden and distressing change in appearance.
The sudden and enforced change to your body shape can lead to a loss of self esteem and confidence, which in turn affects your body image.
Many women, respond by covering up more, hiding themselves beneath dark, baggy shapes and layers. Clothes shopping for your new body shape can be a distressing experience. As for undressing in public, the very prospect of communal changing rooms is enough to deter some women from shopping altogether.
The key to regaining your confidence and feeling good about yourself is to stop focusing on your ‘problem’ area. Many women develop a distorted body image, believing that their breast loss is far more visible to others than it really is.
What you wear underneath your clothes is just as important as the clothes themselves. A good breast form and the right bra are a great start. You shouldn’t feel forced to choose from dull ranges of hefty mastectomy ‘pocket’ bras with thick straps. You can select any normal bra style, as long as it offers good separation between the cups, encases your breast form and offers adequate support.
Fight the urge to shy away from revealing necklines and eye-catching accessories. If you’re concerned about high scarring or lack of breast tissue on your chest, then get a friend who you trust to take a long hard look at you in your clothes and give you an honest opinion. You may be surprised just how much of your décolletage you can reveal before anything untowards becomes apparent.
If you’ve fallen in love with a dress or top but feel the neckline is too revealing, don’t reject it, make it less plunging with a by wearing it with a vest top underneath or a brooch.
Look for dresses or tops with gentle draping, soft ruffles, asymmetrical designs or patterns. Embrace accessories. These can help camouflage, distract or just make an outfit pop.
Consider cutting your hair short before you start chemo, this will make any hair loss less obvious.
AND remember, The key to confidence is not to focus on your problem area but to show off your positives. Your breasts are way more obvious to you than to anyone else.