I'm not sure anybody I know who has breast cancer (and not just BRCA like Angelina Jolie) who has gotten to do an immediate reconstruction after mastectomy. There are good, logical reasons. You'll hear everything from the oblique "we just don't know what they will find in there, so we have to run pathology first" to the old radiation ruins implants yarn, to my personal favorite - there just wont be enough skin left so we'll need to stretch it first. Surgeons (plastic and otherwise) just won't do an immediate recon on a cancerous breast.

So instead this has become the norm for treatment; Chop off breast. Wait somewhere between 1-3 months if you're lucky, then get a new set of beautiful breasts.

 In the meantime you get these weird things called tissue expanders. Sounds not terrible, right? Well even those bestow a few weeks of lumpy, misshapen purgatory  before they will even begin to consider a start to inflating them. It is not a short process.

Of course there exists a combination of incredibly expensive prosthetics ($150-200) and hideous thing called "mastectomy camisoles" that come with adjustable padding to choose from in the interim. It's basically enough for someone (me) to want to just chop off both breasts for the freaking symmetry... even when every doctor I have ever talked to has been like "NO, Dena, do not cut off the second breast, there is NO BENEFIT there is ONLY RISK". And yet, how does this not suck? Who wants to walk around with one boob and/or slowly inflating boobs for weeks/months. Really tho, nobody.

Now, I could've gone the way of the prosthetic, but those things cost soooo much money and I would rather buy just about anything else. The mastectomy camisoles came free with my insurance, but they fit horribly and the padding included is in no way symmetrical to my other breast. It's like if a nursing bra and $2 camisole (that for some unknown reason flairs out at the bottom in a forceful swoop) got together and had an ugly-ass baby.

Also, I'm sore. So the idea of some expensive/hideous and also painful solution was a no-go.

Instead, I went a different route - I made it a sartorial challenge. Much like the challenge of being cute and also bald I set to the internet in search of stylish things I would want to wear even after I have two perfect symmetrical breasts.

And guess what, I definitely felt a lot less sorry for myself after investing in a few beautifully cut tops that make it impossible to tell I only have one breast. Seriously. Photographic proof below. The last thing you need when you're mourning the loss of a body part is clothes that make you feel even worse about yourself. These clothes make me happy, and will continue to do so when this yucky portion of my cancerventure is long behind me.

If you don't want the exact pieces I linked to below a few tips:

  • look for thick fabrics with a lot of structure (like this denim one below) they hide a multitude of flaws while still looking crisp
  • play with draping and strategic folds (like the black one below)
  • don't be afraid to show a little shoulder or clavicle (they don't cut you there so you wont feel punished into wearing a turtleneck or mumu)
  • play with proportions up top by going for a cropped fit (seen on both) 
  • try something that gives the illusion of a nice round chest (this works for people with two boobs that might want the illusion of more fullness in the area!) 

LOOK 1: Casual Daytime BOPREP

Hint: The one without the pocket is the one that's missing...

BONUS: putting on shoes post mastectomy is a joke - these are awesome for slipping on and off easily and feeling comfy/stylish

LOOK 2: Dressed Up (Because whatever is getting you out of the house is probably a big enough deal to warrant it) 

LAYERED OFF SHOULDER CROP TOP | RIBBED SKATER SKIRT | CHANEL BAG (similar look for less) |BLACK COMFY BLOCK HEELS (similar) photos by Stephieleigh