How Do I Dress After a Mastectomy?



First, I am sorry for your diagnosis and admire your strength in framing the experience as an opportunity to experiment with a different sense of self; that what is happening to you is not simply about a loss. It is true that there is a certain kind of liberty in a flat chest, and clothes can help make that real.

As the author of the blog Flatter Fashion, a British site run by a woman who also opted to forgo reconstruction after a double mastectomy, wrote in her original post a few years ago: “Your chest does not define your identity. Loss of your breast form does not mean you have to lose your personal style.” It just may mean you redefine it — and try looks that previously were not accessible to you.

This is also the conclusion of Leave Me Breastless, a site started by an Australian woman named Genevieve Esgate. (Both blogs are great places to go for inspiration.) Ms. Esgate suggests avoiding tight stretchy fabrics as they can chaff against scars, as well as shirts with gaping sides that can expose scars and make you feel self-conscious. She recommends looking for off-the-shoulder necklines and ruffles — styles that may have been too fussy when you had to deal with complicated undergarments but that now you can enjoy with impunity.

A good friend in Paris who is one of the most stylish women I know and who also had a curvy figure and underwent a mastectomy a few years ago, said: “The good thing about having less or no breast is that clothes fall well on your body and it looks more elegant. The idea is to enjoy wearing everything you couldn’t wear when you had breasts.”



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