The conversation around clothing during and after breast cancer is a complicated one. Between chest bandages, the location of our scars and intense skin sensitivity following surgery and radiation, no two situations are alike. Deciding which undergarments to wear (or even if we want to wear undergarments at all) can be confusing to say the least. Which is why our founder, a breast cancer thriver herself, created the Everviolet collection – to provide nurturing, soft lingerie that soothes skin and offers discretion, beauty and comfort throughout recovery and in the years beyond.
To Bra or Not To Bra?
One question to consider is whether we even need to wear a bra after surgery? Our doctors and nurses may suggest avoiding lingerie until bandages and drains have been removed and swelling has decreased, while others may recommend soft, wireless bras that provide coverage and light compression. It’s always important to check with our surgical team prior to selecting lingerie, but for sure at this early stage, gentle pieces are key. Loose, soft, wire free and front closure bras are best.
Immediately after surgery, when surgical drains are in place, wearing a camisole with built-in drain pockets can be incredibly beneficial. These garments will hold the drains close to the body, avoiding the potential for painful tugs or pulls, and allowing more freedom in mobility. At Everviolet, we prioritize fabrics that are natural, breathable and anti-microbial, because we feel as though in the pursuit of health, we want to keep all aspects of our body and planet healthy too.
For up to a year or two after surgery, our size and shape may be altered due to weight and treatment-related changes. During this period, the skin and nerves heal, and radiation burns subside. Many women will size up from their normal bra size to avoid irritating and aggravating the skin while these processes take place. Look for soft bras with adjustable straps, fuller cups, higher front and side panels, a wider bottom band and soft seams during this time. Our Astrid Bralettes can also be stepped into if arm mobility is limited, or if underarm and chest areas are still tender.
The Years Beyond
In the years after recovery, many women continue to experience nerve issues, sensitivity around incisions, lymphedema, swelling and many other symptoms. Selecting wireless yet supportive bras can help avoid discomfort. Plunge-style garments provide ample support from the back and shoulders while also covering scars and looking beautiful. Knowing what size bra to select can be challenging, but Everviolet offers complimentary fit consultation for all women, regardless of chest type and need, via email, live chat and Zoom.
Styles for Flat Women
Aesthetic flat closure in an increasingly popular choice amongst women post mastectomy. Whether due to a choice not to reconstruct or the inability to reconstruct due to radiation and other issues, many people assume that flat women don’t need bras. This may be true for some, but for others, coverage and the fashion appeal of lingerie is still desired. In this case, garments with smooth cups that are not molded or formed for breast mounds are best. The same is true for women with one breast – adaptive lingerie that accommodates varying chest types provides comfort and support simultaneously.
Sleepwear & Athleticwear
Many women enjoy soft bras and camisoles at night, providing softness and protection during sleep. These pieces tend to be looser while still offering coverage and coziness while we slumber. There are also many versatile bralettes that provide ease and support for light exercise like Pilates, yoga and barre. Remember that our bodies will fluctuate as we get warmer, though, so make sure not to wear fitness garments that are too tight.
The Heart of the Matter
Regardless of where we are on our cancer journey, finding the right apparel is critical to our physical healing and comfort long term. But our hearts and psyches need to recover too. Oftentimes, the act of adorning our body with something beautiful enables us to reclaim a sense of self and femininity following loss and change. In this way, lingerie with soft lace, matching panties or elegant loungewear are the perfect pieces to show ourselves self-care and love.
"To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance." – Oscar Wilde