8 ideas for (re)discovering your private fashion following mastectomy — That’s Not My Age


Liz sporting Rixo


Common readers (and listeners) would possibly bear in mind Dr Liz O’Riordan. The guide breast surgeon’s world turned upside-down in 2015 when, aged 40, she was recognized with breast most cancers. She joined me on the podcast final 12 months to speak about her expertise; from analysis, to remedy and restoration. While chatting we spoke briefly concerning the affect that having a mastectomy has had on how she feels about her physique (Liz doesn’t have a left breast and doesn’t put on a prosthetic) and the way she’s needed to adapt her private fashion to offset the lack of a breast. On the time I made a notice to come back again to this as there appears to be little or no private and sensible recommendation on the market regarding the challenges of dressing post-mastectomy.

‘It may be very onerous coming to phrases with a brand new physique form and picture after a mastectomy,’ she tells me.  ‘It’s not simply the the lacking breast(s) that may have an effect on what you put on. For some ladies, breasts conceal a tummy beneath, their absence could make it appear a bigger. Except you’re very slim, there may also be a noticeable bulge on the aspect the place the breast used to merge into the tender tissue beneath your armpit. These can create odd shapes below garments if a prosthesis isn’t worn. To start with I might cry as I walked round shops with my shoulders hunched over, desperately searching for one thing which may disguise my uni-boob. I needed to cover in big saggy jumpers that always exacerbated the asymmetry. Finally, I realised that no-one is de facto taking a look at me. I needed to study to like my physique once more and to put on what made really feel good as an alternative of worrying what different individuals thought. Time is a superb healer. Now, I put on what I need.’


Credit score: Liz Twitter @Liz_ORiordan


Right here Liz O’Riordan shares eight ideas and concepts for post-mastectomy dressing:

On the subject of mastectomy bras, they should be full cupped to carry a prosthesis flat in opposition to the chest wall. Which means that plunging necklines and something low-cut will present the bra beneath (I struggled with this as loads of my pre-cancer attire had V-necks). An alternate is to put on a modesty panel or cleavage cowl that clips on to a bra.

I discovered hot-weather dressing actually onerous. Many mastectomy bras have huge straps – flimsy, lacy issues received’t maintain the load of a prosthesis – which implies that the bra will present below strappy attire. As an alternative I put on gentle vest tops beneath – in black, navy or white. Ones that comprise loads of Lycra don’t trip up and create wrinkles as I’m going about my day. Additionally helpful are these old-fashioned dress slips (like granny used to put on) that I discovered at good ol’ M&S.

Sporting a scarf, scarf or bolero over a strappy gown will conceal the bra, but this provides one other layer of clothes that is probably not ideally suited when the recent flushes come (attributable to hormonal adjustments) – or if the climate is especially sizzling and humid. Experiment with what works for you since layers are good for each (physique)kind and performance.

When you select to go with no bra or a prosthesis, this presents totally different challenges. As a small-breasted lady, I’m fortunate that I can go bra-less, however I might suggest nipple covers (cloth and silicone). There are not any one-sided bras that I do know of to assist single breasts sans prosthesis. Though it may be expensive, firms like Buttress & Snatch could make a customized bra for you.

Re-addressing the (dis)proportion difficulty… Tops with a fussy neckline can distract the attention: straps that tie in a bow or grasp down, ruching, gathering or piping alongside a centre row of buttons. My dream high for hiding asymmetry has ruffles or flounces (sadly, each time I’ve discovered one I favored, the ruffle was on the improper aspect – designers take notice!). When you don’t put on a prosthesis, keep away from wrap necklines as they gape terribly on the flat aspect. I’ve moved in the direction of floaty, breathable materials (sizzling flushes once more) and experimented with bolder colors and patterns for extra smoke’n’mirrors distraction. Unfastened and drapey layers are additionally good.

There are days when I’ve cleavage envy, particularly at events when everybody glams up and I battle to really feel attractive. It’s a lot tougher to seek out event put on now. Tailor-made clothes like fitted attire and jackets – or something with an apparent dart – might be tough to put on as a result of what can’t be crammed out is extra apparent. Sporting waistcoats or open shirts and blouses works nicely. Typically, I keep away from strapless, stretchy attire as they have a tendency to fall down with out two breasts. When you actually love a flowery gown, a corset-style high – if it’s tight sufficient and has some boning or shaping – can disguise a mastectomy so long as the fabric sits near the chest on the high. As an alternative, I like a jumpsuit. There’s no faffing about discovering a high that goes with a pair of trousers or a skirt, and no worrying about tights. Jumpsuits are a cool different to each day or event dressing and there are some very good, dressier variations in velvet or sequin materials out now.

An enormous necklace turns into a speaking level as an alternative of the garments I’m sporting. I search for closer-to-the-neck fashion statements, slightly than as soon as beloved longer pendants. I gave mine away as a result of with out two breasts to maintain a pendant within the center, they simply turn out to be a nuisance. Whereas I’m not a shawl particular person, these might be nice in diverting the attention from a flat chest and including a splash of color to your outfit.

I additionally deal with earrings and lipstick – or daring glasses and hairstyles – to attract the eye to my face, not my chest. When my hair grew again gray, some colors simply didn’t go well with my skin-tone anymore. Like Alyson, I needed to change loads of my wardrobe and make-up. I like contrasts so [clothing-wise] I follow black, white, and navy with a pop of yellow or orange or inexperienced.


 Yow will discover Liz over on her web site HERE and instagram HERE. You may pre-order a duplicate of her new e book HERE.



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