Ask Luke
Ask Luke

Secrets of the red carpet

You've got questions, and we've got answers! SheKnows' contributing beauty and style expert, Luke Reichle, is taking your submissions and dishing out no-fuss answers! Today, Luke is sharing his insights on how to handle re-creating your image after surviving breast cancer. He's got some great tips!

Dear Luke,

I am a breast cancer survivor. As part of my treatment, I had a single mastectomy. Do you know anyone that might create clothing for women with only one breast? The problem for me is that the blouses, shirts and dresses shift to the side of the one breast.

Thanks in advance,

Linda

Luke responds

Dear Linda,

I don’t think I know anyone whose life has not been touched in some way by breast cancer. For those of you dealing directly with the disease, its treatment and recovery, re-creating your image in the aftermath can be challenging to say the least. Fortunately, there are several options to help you out. Here are a couple to explore.

Woman in 60s shopping for clothesWear clothing engineered for breast asymmetry

Although not readily available at retail stores, there are companies online that offer some pretty fabulous styling for post-surgery silhouettes.

Chikara is a collection of clothing, swimwear, lingerie and activewear that has a fabulous level of design. The pieces are modern with clean, simple lines.

The other company with some great styling is Bobbi Fuller. A cancer survivor herself, Ms. Fuller saw the need for interesting bust balancing options and designed her way to filling it.

Balance your figure with prosthetics

Many women either elect not to have, or are not candidates for, reconstructive surgery. But even for those who do choose to go that route, it’s common that the breasts will come out each a different size. There is a wide range of prosthetic solutions to help you achieve parity with your pair.

Curves

The silicone breast enhancers now in common use in the fitting rooms of Hollywood were originally developed for post-mastectomy prosthesis. The great thing about them is that as they warm to your body temperature, they behave like flesh in that they fall and move more as a unit with your true tissue. They have drawbacks in that women find that they make them sweat and can feel heavy with long-term wear. You may find it best to use them for special occasions, especially when your garments are more clinging or revealing. The brand I find most consistent in quality is Curves, though many more have appeared on the market in recent years. They come in a range of smaller shapes that are very useful in balancing out the results of a lumpectomy.

Comfort-Lite

Comfort-Lite, a brand found at tlcdirect.org, gets its name from being up to 50 percent lighter than Curves, with a fabric backing that cuts down on perspiration. The shape of this product is one of the most realistic.

Jodee Feather-Weight

In the realm of foam, the Jodee Feather-Weight breast form is ideal for travel, sleeping and exercise and is one of the products recommended for use right after surgery. These and other affordable basics can be found at jcpenney-jodee.com.

No matter the solution you land on, wearing a properly weighted breast form can help not only in your emotional recovery, but will also reduce spine curving and shoulder problems caused by weight asymmetry after a mastectomy.

I’ve only scratched the surface here. If you’ve read this article and have something helpful to add, please leave a comment. And share it with your friends. Our greatest resource in any recovery process is each other.

More red carpet secrets

Join me for more of the tips, tricks and star-dressing strategies on Secrets of the Red Carpet: Style from the Inside-Out LIVE Saturdays at 3 p.m. PST, 6 p.m. EST at emPOWERme.tv/live and on demand here.

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Comments

Comments on "Ask Luke Reichle: Survivor fashion"

Marjorie January 30, 2013 | 10:34 AM

I had a bilateral and choose not to wear inserts. I would love to fine causal tops and clothes that are pleated or raunched etc

Meoskop September 02, 2012 | 10:46 AM

I don't have resources to add, but I really appreciate this article. As a 2x cancer survivor I have a real challenge finding good bras that don't irritate my scars, especially the node removals. Always appreciate when this common clothing problem is openly discussed. Thank you!

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