No matter how prepared you are for surgery, and how resolved you are to handle this like an absolute boss (we see you 😘) there are things that just don't occur to you. Of course you have practical and important questions for your doctor in the days that lead up to and follow your procedure and you're encouraged to ask them everything you need before ever leaving the hospital ...but things like, 'when do I get to put on a lovely lacy bra and feel like myself again?' may not be at the forefront of your mind.
Once the 6-8 week recovery period is over, the truth is, you can wear most things but your pre-op bras may not be as comfortable to your newly sensitive skin and scars. You may not have had your recon straight after your mastectomy because as we all know, there’s a huge backlog. So perhaps you're waiting for or have a prothesis...in which case, it’s about prettier pocketed bras, buttery soft comfort and the importance of being fitted properly.
A mastectomy bra should look like any other bra you wore before your breast surgery - their innovation and practicality are hidden beneath the seams, but there are a number of clever features that make these bras a worthwhile companion for the next stage of your journey.
The major difference between your old bra and your new bra is a hidden pocket integrated into one or both of the cups. These pockets form a snug, secure place to hold a prosthesis or breast form in a way that matches your natural breast. A relatively new innovation, what a difference such a small feature makes!
In the past, women had to sew a pocket into a standard bra, which depending on your seamstress skills was pretty touch and go, and an ineffective method. Plus your skin tends to be extremely sensitive after surgery, or if you've undergone radiation, the nerve endings in that area are terribly sensitive. A breast form rubbing against the skin won’t be comfortable or breathable; so to sum up...hot, sweaty, sensitive, uncomfortable...miserable.
Thankfully now most mastectomy bras are secure, discreet and bilateral (pocketed on both sides).
Straps on a mastectomy bra tend to be noticeably wider than those of your pre-op bra. Not the most attractive of options - we know, but it's a minor compromise we're happy to make for the sake of happier boobs. Many feature padded, fully adjustable or silky straps for complete comfort.
3. The Underband
As mastectomy bras tend to be wireless, a wider underband is an essential feature. It helps the bra stay in place without the need for wire which can irritate scar tissue, compress and feel too uncomfortable.
More and more brands are realising the importance of natural fabrics and the need for 'softness' on your sensitive skin. Many now feature 100% organic cotton, breathable lace or ultra soft seams with the idea being that your skin has gone through so much! The last thing it needs is further irritation.
The best advice we can give to anyone looking for the perfect mastectomy bra is to get fitted. We offer both Virtual and Face to Face appointments at home or in our central London location (find out more about these options here) Your body inevitably changes during and after treatment, so it’s a really good idea to have your bra size accurately measured before you buy any new bras.
READ ON FOR OUR TRIED & TESTED RECOMMENDATIONS
We Wear Boost | Breast Form
Boost creates innovative products that boost mood and confidence; we have to say, we love the candy colours and pretty design. Both breathable and beautiful, Boost are fearlessly challenging the assumption that a breast form needs to imitate skin tone. Having worked with breast form wearers to fine tune their offerings, they've developed a product that suits our needs and our pocket. Available in a host of fabulous colours on our website here.
Truelife | Silk Ultima Triangle Breast Form
The Harmony Silk Ultima Triangle is soft and natural. The innovative skin is silky-soft and offers unparalleled softness and suppleness. All Truelife Silk breast forms offer a natural drape and are made from the highest quality of silicone for lasting comfort and softness. You can find it on our website here.
Amoena | Balance Natura Light Volume Delta Breast Form
If you've had a fitting with us, chances are you'll have heard us sing this products praises. This lightweight breast form features patented Comfort+ temperature equalising material, which helps keep you cool behind the form. Whilst the new thickness, Volume, fills your bra cup to give you a natural, balanced silhouette. Find out more here.
Wacoal | Embrace Lace Soft Cup Bra
Adorned in luxurious floral lace, the Soft Cup Bra showcases decorative camisole straps and a wide underband for anchorage and great support. Finished with wider straps for comfort, that can also be adjusted to be worn as a racerback. This is the perfect example of a clever bra working hard but very discretely. Looks fabulous, but offers everything you need. Available in 3 colourways, you can find it on our website here.
Megami Allure Soft Cup Bra | Black & Skin
One of the most romantic Megami bras to-date. Classic and timeless French lace with delicate "eyelash" edging. Impeccably cut under luxurious black lace guarantees a fabulous feeling of empowerment and femininity. Is this actually a mastectomy bra even? Yes! Double layer with corset mesh creates a light and graceful look, wider straps for security, and a thin, light and soft bra gloves the bust, providing a comfort in every part of the cut. You can find it on our website here.
AnaOno | Delilah Soft Cup Bra
A sportier option, yet the pretty detailing makes the Delilah Dream Soft Cup Pocketed Bra from AnaOno, ideal for everyday use. This super-soft modal bra offers a supremely comfortable, customisable fit that’s perfect for breast cancer survivors and thrivers! The pocketed design includes lovely feminine touches, including ultra-plush Super Soft® lace trim and a breathable lace back panel.
This pocketed, post surgery bra is a luxury wireless bra giving us full on glamour! Designed with LoveRose's signature recycled lace and mesh and trimmed with silk, it’s bilateral soft bra pockets hold a breast form or enhancer securely in place. The higher centre front is designed to provide modesty to ladies who have had a single or double mastectomy. A timeless piece; an extra layer of confidence. Available in Lotus Pink or Luxe Green here.
Megami Phoenix Bra
Another gorgeous offering from the Megami brand whose 'mastectomy' bras look like most of our 'going out -out' bras! Sultry scarlet embroidery on feminine nude tones for looks; pocketed, supersoft micro fibre, wide straps, wire-free for the most comfort. Megami focus on women and their desire for beautiful and comfortable lingerie - no compromises. You can find this stunner here.
Royce Maisie Smooth Soft T-Shirt Bra
Maisie is a beautiful post-surgery bra. It comes with pockets which can hold a prothesis if required and can be worn after a mastectomy, lumpectomy or other breast or chest surgery. Beautifully comfortable and stylish too, Maisie is a great smooth-cup bra in soft fabric with satin cuff detailing and bow. Available in 5 colourways, you can find it here.
We hope that the collection above proves that style can be a part of your new, slightly-more-functional lingerie collection. We firmly believe that it's not an either or situation, we deserve to have gorgeous uplifting (emotionally! but physically too) bras that support our psychological well being, our sense of self, and hold up our boobs (or boob) in the most soothing, comfortable way.
And please don't forget, women who have had breast surgery (mastectomy or lumpectomy) are eligible not to pay the VAT on mastectomy bras, mastectomy swimwear and mastectomy breast forms. This means we are able to sell you mastectomy products without adding on 20% VAT, don't hesitate to contact us if you'd like more information about this or are unsure if you qualify.
x Kate & Sarah