Since 1997

"From Radical to Reconstruction"

"From Radical to Reconstruction"

Choosing the right post surgery swimsuits can be a big challenge, especially if it is your first summer season after a mastectomy. Many new factors must be considered when it comes to fit and comfort. This includes your measurements as well as features like prosthetic breast forms.At the same time, you will want to know that your swimwear is a flattering choice.

Although your shape may have changed, you can still look for cuts and designs that help you feel at your best. Follow this guide to find the best fit and style for your needs.

Bust measurement

Correct bust measurement is key to a comfortable fit. Many women choose the wrong bust size when buying swimwear, but it can be a particular problem post-mastectomy.

Your bust measurement involves measuring the widest part of your chest, as well as the band size. It can be tricky to make these measurements because you must account for any breast prosthesis, or swim form, you intend to wear.

If in doubt, visit a certified fitter at A Fitting Experience Mastectomy Shoppe. The compassionate and knowledgeable staff can help you determine your correct size for both bras and swimwear, and even demonstrate how to measure yourself correctly.

Not too small

Some women may worry about the possibility of their swimwear slipping out of place, without a natural breast to anchor it. As a result, they may purchase swimwear that is too small, hoping it will stay put.

Small swimwear will not feel comfortable and may even cause pain to those recovering from a mastectomy. Not only that, but a too-small piece may ride up with your movement. This can be awkward with a bikini or tankini top, which may lift up if you raise your arms. To avoid this problem, focus on a snug and accurate fit, rather than a tight one.

Not too large

It is also important not to choose a baggy swimsuit. You may be tempted to do so, hoping it will bring additional comfort, or that extra fabric will hide your shape. However, this will not provide the support you need to be comfortable and confident during recovery.

Loose fabric will hang in an unflattering manner on your figure and will sag in the water. It may end up highlighting the areas you were trying to disguise.


If you do want to cover up, you can use a sarong or cover up while outside the water. You can also choose a swim dress or shorts for extra coverage while swimming.

Natural fit

If you have one natural breast and one prosthetic or reconstruction, it can be difficult to fit for both sides. There are several ways to account for this in terms of style.

When focusing on fit, however, do not neglect your natural breast. It is easy to be distracted by whether the reconstruction or prosthetic fits correctly in the swimsuit. However, any natural breast tissue should have adequate support and comfort.

Dress size

Many swimsuit manufacturers use dress size as a basis for their fit. This may take precedence over bra size. It is important you know your dress size before trying on new swimsuits, as this will help you avoid those that are too large or too small.

Measure your waist and hips, as well as your bust, before going shopping. This can also help you determine your body type and select the most flattering design.

Bust support

Any mastectomy bathing suits you consider should have proper support for your bust. This will make a big difference in the fit and comfort level. With mastectomy swimsuits, bust support is provided to help keep any breast forms in place. Bust support comes from different cup sizes as well as adjustable straps.

The underbust band of any bikini or tankini should be snug, without being too tight. This allows support and security while still providing comfort. One-pieces should also have built in support if you intend to wear a breast form.

Soft cup forms

The soft cup form is an excellent way to improve fit, as well as to enhance your shape. These are available as bikinis, tankinis or one-pieces.

The softness will allow the cups to fit both a natural and reconstructed, or prosthetic, breast. The molded form can also help to add symmetry to your shape.

Some suits may have removable padding, allowing you to adjust for one side being larger than the other. If you only have one nipple, the padding can also disguise this even when the suit gets wet.

Manufacturer’s recommendations

Some mastectomy swimwear manufacturers have their own fitting guidelines. It is always best to check these before trying anything on. The recommendations can help you determine whether they base their fits on dress size, bra size, or other considerations.

Comfortable shoulders

When looking for the perfect fit, it is important to pay attention to your shoulders. If you are still recovering from your mastectomy, avoid any pain or discomfort in your shoulders.

If you are wearing a swim form inserted into a pocket in your swimsuit, there will be additional pressure on your shoulders. This is because the weight of the form is held up by the suit and is not anchored to your chest. During a physical activity like swimming, this could cause additional strain.

Wide and adjustable straps are important for comfort. It is also crucial they are long enough to reach over your shoulders without digging in.

Coverage

For many women recovering from a mastectomy, additional coverage is an important part of their swimsuit fit. This may vary, depending on where your scars sit.

Look for high neck options, with close-cut arm openings. These do not necessarily have to look old fashioned or frumpy for tummy control. Mastectomy swimsuit manufacturers offer many fashion-forward, chic looks with plenty of coverage.

Adjustable options

An adjustable neckline or straps may help you achieve the perfect fit. These allow you to alter the fit to account for a lack of symmetry. You can also raise the neckline of the suit whenever you want to cover up more.


Some swimsuit styles lend themselves to this particularly well, such as halter necks. However, you can also find adjustable two-strap pieces. The Amoena Hawaii wire free bikini top can be worn as a halterneck, cross back or regular strap top.

Different body types

When looking at different body types and shapes, it is important to remember that no single rule will fit all. This is particularly true for those whose shapes have changed post-surgery.
For example, you may have narrow hips, but a curvy behind. Some may have broad shoulders, but a small bust. Some shapes may alter as you lose or gain weight.

Each feature can be considered as you determine your perfect swimsuit style, depending on the look you ultimately want to go for. It can take time to regain your body confidence after undergoing surgery. Try to avoid being overly critical of your shape or size, focusing on celebrating it instead.

Small bust

This shape is sometimes referred to as the A shape. A smaller bust may mean you want to balance your chest against your hips. You can do this by choosing a bikini or tankini, and mixing styles for the top and bottom.

Bright colors and detailing on the top half can emphasize your bust. A one-piece with decorative elements on the top half is also a good choice. Ruffles and ruching can add shape to your bust, drawing attention upward, while also disguising any asymmetry.

Big bust

With a big bust, particularly if you have a swim form insert, you should look for styles that offer plenty of support. Wire-support styles may allow you to create symmetry with maximum comfort. However, you should look for plastic inserts rather than wires, which may hurt your chest.

If you want to de-emphasize your bust, a darker color, and sleek design is preferable. You could balance out a heavier chest with more substantial matching bottoms, perhaps a high-waisted or “boyshort” bikini bottom.

Rounded torso

A rounded torso with slender hips and legs is also known as an apple shape. With this shape, the aim is often to add definition to the waist. A one-piece with ruching or texture can help achieve this. Shaped panels and color blocking can also help.

Some women may wish to draw extra attention to their legs. You can do this by looking for a high-cut bottom half. Swimsuits like the Penbrooke High Neck Maillot Krinkle Mastectomy one piece is a good choice because it combines all these elements.

Straight figure

If you have a straight figure, sometimes called a rectangle figure, you may want to define your waist. This shape generally means your bust and hips are already balanced, so you can look for pieces that add detailing to the midpoint of your torso.

This could be in the form of a belt design or cut out detailing on a one-piece. A bikini with additional shaping could be a good choice. Curves can also be added with ruching, shaped panels, or designs highlighting the midsection. The Jodee Fun in the Sun Mastectomy Tank Swimsuit is a good example.

Broad shoulders

With some swimsuit designs, wide shoulders and strong arms can visually overpower narrow hips or a slender waist. This shape is sometimes referred to as a V shape.

You can de-emphasize your shoulders with a shaped neckline. While you may be wary of a deep cut that could show scars, try out a few different options. There may be one that covers your scars, while also revealing just the right amount.

You can draw attention to your hips with a brighter or more detailed bottom half to your swimsuit. Another way to do this is to focus on cut. Boyshort style bikini bottoms and flared swim skirts can add dimension to your hips. A strong color or pattern choice will help emphasize the area.

Narrow shoulders

If your shoulders are much narrower than your hips, choose a top style to balance them out. A halter neck top can add dimension and strength to your shoulders.

A more bright or detailed tankini or bikini top can also draw more attention to your top half. Try something in a bold or bright pattern, perhaps with ruffles. For example, the T.H.E. Collection tiered ruffle swim top offers added shape and a botanical pattern in tropical colors.

Short torso

A shorter torso with longer legs can feel unbalanced with certain styles. Try elongating your torso with a one piece in a dark or solid color. The more continuous you can make the line from your shoulders to your hips, the better.

A high neck will work very well with this look. Panels on the sides of a swimsuit, or vertical stripes, can help give the appearance of added length. The Amoena Rhodes one piece, for example, has a high neck and side panel detailing in a solid color.

Long torso

Women with very long torsos may feel their legs appear shortened by comparison. You can lengthen the appearance of your legs with a higher bottom cut. A slightly deeper neckline may also help. If you are concerned about coverage, consider a piece with keyhole cut-outs instead.

Alternatively, look for a piece with detailing on the cleavage area, rather than a low neckline. The Amoena Ayon sarong swimsuit defines your neckline and adds shape to your waist without being too revealing.

Fit is particularly important, as those with long torsos may struggle to find one pieces that fit comfortably. Try a bikini or tankini for full coverage.

Hourglass figure

This means your bust and hips are balanced, and that your waist dips inward. When choosing post-mastectomy swimwear, look for pieces that maintain this vertical symmetry. A matching set bikini may be a good option, for example.

If considering a one-piece, look at those that offer balanced detailing at the top and bottom. A swimdress may be a good option for those who want a more modest look. Try the fun, floral swim dresses from the T.H.E. 2019 Collection. A touch of detailing at the waist can help add to the balanced effect of any one piece.

Large hips

Those with large hips may wish to emphasize or de-emphasize their bottom half, depending on the look you prefer. If you want to balance out a smaller bust, you can choose darker, plain bottoms for a two-piece set. This can also allow you to emphasize your bust at the same time.

Some, however, may prefer to draw attention to their lower curves. Many women who have undergone mastectomies may be particularly interested in this. If you still feel self-conscious about your chest, celebrating hips, bottom and thighs can help. In this case, high cut bottoms in fun patterns can give you the look you want.

Final word

Embrace your body type after breast cancer mastectomy. To improve your swimsuit experience, choose a style that fits you and your changing body, but most of all, pick a style you love!

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