Editor’s note: I’m battling my email inbox after attending Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia and blogging for Maybelline NY last week. Helping me have been some of my blogging friends. Because I commission these posts and these bloggers are helping me to keep my blog running while I’m away from regular duties, I’ll also be paying them for their contributions. Today, say hello to the stylish Rachel from Redcliffe Style.
Heather Mercer is a woman with a fighting attitude. Her life has been turned upside this year after being diagnosed with breast cancer and undergoing a mastectomy. She wrote to us because dressing after a mastectomy has been challenging for her and she thought others might either be facing the same challenge or know someone who is.
I am a 46 year old mum to two boys and I discovered your blog during the Xmas holidays and have been enjoying your posts ever since. The best tip I have found so far was the coloured jeans – bought myself three pairs and loving them!
Unfortunately, about two weeks after I found your blog I was diagnosed with breast cancer. In the space of a few short weeks my life was totally turned upside down INCLUDING going from being a petite but big breasted girl to, well, a petite flat chested girl (which has many positives let me tell you!). Considering that you asked for ideas about wardrobe dilemas, I thought it worth suggesting fashion options or advice for women who have gone through mastectomies and/or who are receiving chemo treatment (one of the common chemo drugs for breast cancer causes hair loss).
I am finding that shopping for clothes that suit me and looking good (even if I do say so myself!) throughout the whole situation helps me to stay positive and happy, which is so important! I have learnt is that breast cancer is, scarily, quite common, so although it’s perhaps a depressing topic it may well be one with which a number of your readers will relate.
At the moment, because its still soon after surgery I can wear a soft bra with padding if I want to. This is usually worn from about 7 weeks after surgery. Then later you can get prosthesis like weighted stick-on type breasts which actually stick to your chest or another alternative is bras with weighted prostheses in them. Right now I’m preferring going flat chested when it works with the clothes.
- Thank you Heather for sharing and asking. It would be an hard and emotional journey and sometimes it would be nice to push it to the back of your mind and focus on something a little lighter, like your wardrobe. It is possible to look gorgeous, feminine and fashionable post surgery.
- As you have mentioned, you can start wearing a soft bra after about 7 weeks post surgery. It is important to find comfortable and well fitting bras. If you are up for it, get correctly fitted but if you aren’t, there are some great Australian websites that specialise in mastectomy bras.
- If you have decided to wear a prostheses, find the right one for you. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes and it’s important to select the one that suits your lifestyle and, if you have had a single mastectomy, matches your existing breast.
- Everyone’s scar and breasts are different. Before you rule out certain necklines because you are concerned they will show scaring, try them on and have a good look at yourself. You may be surprised just how much of your décolletage you can reveal before anything is revealed.
- When looking for dresses or tops, look for gentle draping, soft ruffles, asymmetrical designs or patterns.
- If you’ve fallen in love with a dress or top but the neckline is too revealing, don’t automatically reject it. You can make it less plunging with a brooch, or by wearing a cami underneath.
- Embrace accessories. These can help camouflage, distract or just make an outfit pop.
You might also be experiencing hair loss if you have gone through or are going through chemotherapy and this can be a very traumatic experience for women.
- There are many options to cover your hair loss – scarves, turbans and hats. These can be beautiful and fun but look for fabrics that can breathe.
- There are also some amazing wigs. Human hair ones might look fantastic but are very expensive. Remember, your hair loss is only temporary. Synthetic wigs are cheaper. These can look nice too and are easy to look after.
- Consider cutting your hair short before you start chemo, this will make any hair loss less obvious. There are some hair products to help control and make the most of the remaining hair.
AND remember, The key to confidence is not to focus in your problem area but to show off your positives. Your breasts are way more obvious to you than to anyone else.
Here are some great Australia websites to help you shop or gather information:
1. Veronika Maine soft georgette shirt $129.95 | 2. Chikara ‘Olivia’ 3 tiered ruffled top $125US | 3. Katies floral print top On Sale $19.95 | 4. Chikara ‘Bati’ Japanese dress $145US | 5. Chikara ‘Jillian’ Ruffled bikini $120US | 6. Chikara ‘Jennifer’ Ruffled shirt dress $150US | 7. Veronika Maine Ruffled top On Sale $77 | 8. Veronika Maine Ruffled front top On Sale $54.50 | 8. Veronika Maine Wallpaper floral print knot top $159
Rachel Wernicke is a 40 year-old married mum of two girls. After working as a paralegal in Brisbane for 14 years, she left life in the big city to focus on family. Once the kids were both in school, it was time get back to work and seriously, why would she choose to go back into law? In a four-person house with five computers, two iPads, two iPhones, two iPod touches and half a dozen cameras there seemed only one direction to go. She decided to learn more about the world of blogging and indulge her passions for style and life. Redcliffe Style is a light-hearted blog about lifestyle, fashion, beauty and blogging. Follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.