I’ve always had a massive bust, but I am going to undergo a bilateral mastectomy. I don’t mean to experience any reconstruction. I want to attempt to make the best of the transition and embrace the fashion options with a flat chest offers girl that were not available to me. I am searching for casual ideas that will make me feel good about my new silhouette. What do you suggest? — Laurie, Cape Cod, Mass..
First, I’m sorry for your investigation and admire your strength in framing the experience as an opportunity to experiment with a different sense of self; what is happening to you is not merely about a loss. It’s true that there’s a certain type of liberty at a flat chest, and garments can help make that real.
As the author of the site Flatter Fashion, a British website run by a lady who opted to forgo reconstruction following a double mastectomy, wrote in her original post a couple of years back : “Your chest does not define your identity. Loss of your breast form doesn’t mean you have to lose your own personal style. ” It just may mean you redefine it — and attempt looks that previously were not accessible to you.
This is also the conclusion of Leave Me Breastless, a website started by an Australian girl 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, in addition to shirts with gaping sides which may expose scars and make you feel self-conscious. She recommends looking for off-the-shoulder necklines and ruffles — fashions that may have been overly fussy when you had to take care of complicated undergarments but that now you can enjoy with impunity.
A good friend in Paris, who’s among the most fashionable women I know and that also had a curvy figure and underwent a mastectomy a couple of decades ago, said: “The fantastic thing about having less or no breast is that garments fall nicely on your body and it seems more elegant. The idea is to enjoy wearing everything you couldn’t wear when you had breasts. ”
She said she’d become a proponent of guys ’s wear dressing, if it was a blouson shirt tucked into make a waist or a sheer top over a cotton vest, such as this swiss-dot model from Shein. She also began channeling women like Jane Birkin and Charlotte Rampling, with their throwaway chic.
And my French friend — enjoy a fashion editor that I know who for years wore a uniform of jeans or black trousers with a button-up shirt — started shopping from the boys’ department at classic retailers like Brooks Brothers, placing her own spin of casual insouciance on convention. (Note: Boys’ shirts are less costly than mens and often fit women.)
To that end, she also suggested tossing a cool velvet blazer on top, like this relaxed silvery variation from Garnet Hill or this teal boyfriend fashion from Coldwater Creek. Luxurious fabrics feel great against the skin, and layering creates a feeling of depth regardless of what is happening under your clothes. Add your most comfortable jeans or leggings for an even greater sense of ease.
You could have a new body with a new shape, but sometimes old clothing, like old friends, are only the hug you need.