Hi, I'm Melissa Jansen
I grew up loving fashion and throughout my life have dabbled in it. One of my mother’s favorite stories about me growing up was that I once stripped the skirt from our family’s bathroom sink, snuck it in my backpack, and wore it as a dress to school. Who could blame me? It was the early 80s and our entire house was literally dressed in Laura Ashley fabric!
Throughout my life people have always told me “I would never think to put that outfit together” and “I would never be brave enough to try that.” My two favorite clothing stores are Goodwill and Anthropologie. On any given day I can be found wearing a noteworthy ensemble that cost $23 total from head to toe. I don’t see the point in spending more than $10 on anything unless I really love it (which is where Anthropologie becomes my downfall).
Fast forward to my diagnosis of breast cancer and all I could think about were the possibilities! The adventure of learning something new! I swiftly grabbed all my favorite items out of the closet and said my goodbyes by wearing everything one last time.
I promptly went online and googled “how to dress after mastectomy” and came up with…..almost nothing? How could this be? To make matters worse, I found one website that had a list of items that you would need with pictures to match. One suggestion was “a flowing summer dress” and the picture was so unrealistic I had to do a double take.
It was a picture of a woman twirling in a grassy field, wearing a tight fitting, yellow dress, with two perfect large breasts! Clearly whoever was in charge of this article had no idea what a mastectomy was! It was pretty disheartening to say the least.
However, I did find inspiration with all the women who were “living flat.” I am part of a private Facebook group called “Flatties Unite” and if you are living without breast reconstruction after cancer I highly recommend that you join. You will get so much help, understanding, and information from women around the world. It has been a one of the best resources for me personally and I would love to see you there.
Another great resource can be found with an Australian woman named Genevieve who has a fashion blog called “Leave me Breastless.” It is a young and trendy blog for women who have undergone a double mastectomy without reconstruction.
Women like myself who have undergone a single (unilateral) mastectomy, have more of a hurdle when it comes to choosing clothing. Therefore, my goal is to help you (and me) figure out what works and what doesn’t. I will be going on shopping trips to find clothes that either disguise, divert the eye, or proudly show off my body as it is – a symbol of bravery.
I will finding creative outfits that can make you feel normal, comfortable and empowered with your body as it is. I will be posting these items with the links for you so that you can purchase them as well. Why? Because I want to help you, and all the women who come after us, to get back to feeling happy with the bodies we have.
I’m on a mission. Together, we can let the fashion industry know that we are here, we want clothing that fits our bodies, and we don’t need to be ashamed of how we look. Let’s do this!
I wish you well on your journey and hope you get inspiration from mine!