Facing breast cancer treatment and surgery can be a lot to process and work through. It can be daunting to experience the unknown. When you’re facing surgery, it’s essential to prepare beforehand to make the transition to post-surgery life smoother and speed up your recovery. By responding to your body’s needs and wearing comfortable, supportive clothing, you’ll make life post-surgery much easier.
Even though life as a breast cancer survivor can be overwhelming, there are simple, practical, common-sense things you can do to build your post-mastectomy wardrobe and ensure you have a safe and successful recovery.
General Post-Mastectomy Fashion Guidelines
You’ll want to have your post-mastectomy clothing to hand so you can use it as soon as you need to after surgery. Allow the doctor and other medical professionals to guide you about what to do and follow their guidance.
After surgery, the area may be tender, sensitive, and even painful. You’ll want to dress in a way that keeps you as comfortable as possible. Opt for clothes which are:
- Made from soft, breathable fabric.
- Are loose-fitting and won’t interfere with scar tissue or any drains.
- Give easy access to drains and wound dressings.
- Are easy to take on and off.
- Will allow you to sleep comfortably.
Ultimately, the goal of your clothing during this time should be comfort and providing post-surgical support. You’ll need to take into consideration your range of motion and how you’ll feel.
Whether you’ve had a single or double mastectomy, you’ll likely have restricted movement. Lifting your arms may be challenging and uncomfortable, so you’ll want to look for clothing that doesn’t require you to raise your arms or reach behind you. Front fastening bras, camisoles with an extra-wide neck to step through, and button-down shirts are ideal.
Although you’ll be looking for functional clothes, that doesn’t mean you can’t wear clothes which make you feel stylish. It’s important to select clothing that can boost your confidence since you won’t only need physical support after your surgery; you’ll also need emotional support. Wearing clothes that help you feel like yourself and make you feel good can help give you an emotional lift.
Post-Mastectomy Wardrobe Must-Haves
Here is an outline of some basic post-mastectomy must-haves, so you’ll know exactly what to look for based upon your body’s needs.
A Compression Bra
Directly after surgery, you’ll need a compression bra. This is specially designed to apply pressure to your chest, back, and underarms to minimize the chance of developing lymphedema. A compression garment supports your recovery process as it’s made to prevent lymph fluid accumulation, support healthy blood flow, and infuse the area with nutrients.
You may need to wear a compression bra for around 6-8 weeks after surgery. This will give enough time for swelling to go down, so you’re closer to your original size.
The ideal compression bra will give you optimal support and minimize unnecessary movement. The ANITA Medical Garments Compression Bra features a front zip and over-the-shoulder Velcro straps for easy dressing. It provides essential support with multidirectional stretch fabric creating pressure and a long-line underbust band. The bra can also be customized for further support by purchasing the post-op belt option.
A Leisure Bra
After your mastectomy, you’ll need different kinds of bras. Your old bras won’t be conducive to your new body, which needs time to heal. For the time being, you’ll need to put your former bras to one side and buy a new set that accommodates your new shape and caters to your post-surgical needs.
The ABC Leisure Mastectomy Bra is designed for comfy, cozy round-the-clock wear. Its relaxed fit and soft cotton/spandex construction allow your skin to breathe while still helping you feel supported. The wide stretch straps won’t dig into your shoulders, creating a smooth silhouette. This bra is ideal for the early days of recovery when comfort is key, and your range of motion may be limited; the front closure ensures you won’t need to overstretch or compromise your healing.
A Seamless Bra
Later in the recovery process, after the doctor has cleared you, you can wear attractive post-mastectomy bras and even sports bras. Both of these feature specially designed seamless cups and bands, which are crucial for your continued recovery, as you don’t want rubbing or irritation on the breast area.
The Jodee Seamless Bra has an attractive, sensuous design that looks stunning yet still prioritizes practicality. Available in a unique midnight blue shade, this bra will give your post-mastectomy wardrobe a pop of color!
The soft microfiber construction reinforces this seamless bra’s gentle nature, feeling good against the skin without scratchy material or aggravating detailing. Even the straps are designed for your comfort as they are wide, soft, and cushioned.
After your doctor has cleared you, you can wear foam or silicone breast forms inside a pocketed mastectomy bra. Lightweight designs are ideal as they won’t place undue pressure on the chest wall.
The Jodee Gel Breast Form is 35% lighter than standard silicone, allowing you to move around without feeling weighed down. It features dual-layer technology that produces a stronger, more resilient breast form that withstands saltwater or chlorine.
This is a versatile piece that can be worn on different body types; it can be worn on the left or right side, and will adjust to your natural body temperature.
A Bra or Camisole with Drain Management
Major surgery changes how you perform the simplest of tasks. Getting dressed will take more time and be harder to accomplish, and you’ll need to work around sore and awkward areas.
Depending on your breast surgery, you may need surgical drains to allow fluid to drain out of the body and aid healing. You may only have one drain, or five or more, and may have them for up to three weeks. Dressing around these drains and incorporating them into your clothing is an essential consideration. Usually, in the hospital, drains are safety-pinned to your surgical bra, but you have much more stylish options available once you’re back home.
You can purchase various stylish loungewear with built-in drain pouches, including camisoles, robes, bras, and tank tops.
For immediately after surgery, the Marena CARESS Pocketed Drain Bulb Management Bra is a fabulous option. This is a patent-pending compression bra made explicitly for drain tubing and bulb support, equipped with one modesty pouch and two rings. It’s made from TriFlex fabric, which is moisture-wicking, has unparalleled stretch, and is antimicrobial.
Alternatively, you can wear a drain belt under your clothing, pairing it with your choice of loose-fitting clothing. The Brobe Post Surgical Drain Belt is the perfect versatile piece. It’s capable of holding four individual drains and is designed for all-day use. It can even be worn in the shower.
Get the Right Home Post-Mastectomy Clothing
At A Fitting Experience Mastectomy Shoppe, our apparel and underwear collection can help you form a post-mastectomy wardrobe that is attractive, affordable, and functional. Whether you need a few pieces or a comprehensive collection of items, we can cater to your needs.
Although October is the month associated with Breast Cancer Awareness, our knowledgeable staff is committed to raising awareness about breast cancer and how you can successfully live life post-mastectomy.
Find the right post-mastectomy clothing to aid your recovery by visiting our store or calling our friendly staff at 954-978-8287 for more information.