Self-Care

5 Tips for Redefining Your Style and Feeling Beautiful After Breast Cancer

Call me ridiculous, but one of the first things I mourned when I came to the realization I needed a double mastectomy, was my wardrobe. In hindsight, it was probably a coping mechanism, rather than dealing with the larger implications of what a mastectomy meant, but hey, I love my clothes! Breast cancer treatment undoubtedly does a number on your body, your psyche, and your self-confidence. Depending on your course of treatment, your body can change drastically in an overwhelmingly short period of time. After my reconstruction surgery, I discovered that suddenly, some of my favorite tops didn’t fit right. And finding new clothes that made me feel beautiful was a daunting task.

Redefining Your Style, African American woman happy dancing getting dressed in the mirror, 5 Tips for Redefining Your Style and Feeling Beautiful After Breast Cancer

Redefining Style After Breast Cancer

Whether you have a double mastectomy, single mastectomy, reconstruction surgery or not—the aftermath of survival leaves you with a body you don’t entirely recognize. One of Erin’s subscriber’s, Veronica, offered us some insight into her challenges with a concave chest and scars from lymph node removal. Veronica—I feel you. The struggle is real.

Tips For Adapting Style

The most important thing to remember during the entire transformative process (and it is transformative) is to be open to adapt. As my body continued to change after reconstruction, my love for fashion was key. It became a way for me to reclaim my body by redefining my personal style. While there were challenges, I learned many lessons I’d like to share with you in hopes of helping you feel good about dressing your new body. Here are 5 tips for redefining your style and feeling beautiful after breast cancer. Be patient with yourself as you rebuild both your self-esteem and sense of style. I promise you, one day you’ll wake up with the entire experience in your rear-view mirror. While cancer will be a distant memory, your wardrobe will be an exciting new adventure!

Have you found some must-have additions to your wardrobe after treatment? Please share in the comments below.

I also shared about 12 products to shop that support Breast Cancer Awareness month here. Sign up for the newsletter and take advantage of some exclusive style resources here.
Thanks for reading!

Try A High Neck Top

Some women, if they have not had reconstructive surgery, can no longer wear a regular camisole. Erin’s subscriber, Veronica, suggests the Valletta top by Amoena with molded cups and prosthesis pockets on both sides, as a solution. In general, finding camisoles with a higher neckline is ideal to cover a lack of cleavage. In my case, with reconstruction, I have cleavage, but I have dimples above each breast from the surgery, so I also need a higher neckline. Sleeveless tops are a little easier, especially if they have ruffled edges. TIP: a more fitted armhole will cover scars.
Amoena Valletta Top
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Susana Monaco Ruffle Mock Neck
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Vince Camuto Printed Blouse
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Spanx Perfect Length Tank
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Remy Mock Neck
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Try A Top That Layers Well

Button-down tops or layering a fitted top with a blazer are always sure-fire winners. I find that loose-fitting tops are more comfortable, but not too oversized where you risk looking frumpy. Low v-necks are also out, but scoop and boat necks are great. Depending on your specific chest situation, a tastefully patterned top helps disguise imperfections or asymmetry.
1.STATE Puff Sleeve T-Shirt
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Free People Natasha Top
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Blaise Top
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Granger Fitted Tee
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Printed Dolman Sleeve
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You Can Still Be Sexy!

Veronica laments that wrap dresses, beloved by so many women, do not work. Sadly, I agree. Since the style highlights the bust area, it’s best to avoid them. There are many beautiful dress styles that I’ve found, however, that don’t emphasize the bust but are still quite sexy.
Bardot Midi Dress
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Printed Mini Dress
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Turtleneck Ruffle Skirt Dress
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Joss Knit Midi Dress
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Sandrinne Mini Dress
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Find Flattering Swimwear

I’ve found that I do best with either a tankini, a one-shoulder one piece that sits higher on the chest, or a cute rash guard top and bikini bottoms. Rash guards are the only option that hide the dimples and scars, but I’m at the point where I’m no longer self-conscious. Veronica suggests mastectomy bikinis if you’re hollow or have noticeable breast scarring. A twisted design or ruching disguises any unevenness. Adjustable straps can help compensate for the different size of each breast.
Lands End Mastectomy Suit
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Tommy Bahama Rash Guard
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La Blanca Ruched Swimsuit
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Trina Turk Sevilla Swim Tee
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Becca Crochet Overlay Tankini
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Accessorize!

Since necklaces are designed to draw the eye, whether or not you have cleavage will determine how long a necklace you feel comfortable wearing. I personally love either a choker or one that falls right by the collar bone. Scarves are not only great for covering your head in the early stages of treatment, but long term, it’s a clever and stylish way to cover the chest area.
Double Star Necklace
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Diamond Heart Pendant
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Pave Butterfly Choker
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Kate Spade Colorblock Scarf
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Burberry Giant Check Scarf
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Amit Bloom, lifestyle writer Busbee Style
Amit Bloom
Amit is a loyal subscriber turned contributor from Miami, where she founded and edited an award-winning lifestyle magazine for over 20 years. The loves of her life are her husband and their two fiercely independent and creative kids. She has been known, however, to proclaim that her favorite child is their Shiba Inu, Zac.
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