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The Benefits of Wearing Black After Mastectomy

Updated: Sep 11, 2019

There once was a time, back in my skinny days, when I was sure that I knew what was most flattering for my body. Therefore, almost everything I owned was black.

Back then I didn’t happen to have much in the breast department. Also, I was a size two, sometimes four, and I was pretty happy with that nice number on my clothing labels. But things change. I remember when I started gaining weight and had to go shopping. I cried when I put on a pair of size six jeans…and they fit.

I bet you scoff as much as I do about how naïve that now sounds, my size six days disappeared long ago, to a far away land…a time best forgotten.

The Day I Stopped Wearing Black

Of course, since we’ve all been told how slimming black is, how it hides questionable body lumps and looks elegant overall, I wore it with even more vigor. But there was a day when I stopped buying black. I remember the decision well. Like most of my slap-me-in-the-face moments, it came straight out of the mouth of my daughter…

“Want to see what I got?” I asked her, pulling out my shopping bag to show her my new treasure. “What do you think? Isn’t it cute?”

“It looks like everything you own.” she stated.

“What do you mean?”

“It’s black.” she said, “Everything you own is black.”

I had never noticed before, but she was right. It hit me that I had spent most of my life in black. I had been wearing it everywhere. I wore it out with my girls. I wore it on date nights. I even wore it to work because I was a waitress at the time and was required to wear black.

Black is Back

In the years following my daughter’s blunt statement, I changed careers, changed sizes, and changed my wardrobe. I purged myself of all the black I had previously owned and loved.

Fast forward to now.

When I was shopping to prepare for my mastectomy, I came across a lovely, flowing, black top…and couldn’t resist it. Ever since, I have re-infused my closet with my old, trustworthy friend, Black. I’m happy to say…

Black is back! And it can be for you too. Put black in your closet and you are will reap the rewards.

Here are some simple ways you can add black to your repertoire today:

Black Can Help with “Dog Ears”

I was super swollen after my mastectomy. The swelling went along the under part of my chest where my breast used to be. It was so swollen that I often joked with my husband, saying that my body was trying to grow my boob back.

I also developed something known as “dog ears.” This is when your incision has been made in a certain way so that the skin was either not pulled tight enough or it is still swollen. This creates a little pocket of skin near the armpit that “flaps” over the incision site.

My swelling eventually did go down. However, I developed a slight case of truncal lymphedema. This condition means that if I wear a bralette for too long, it can cause swelling in my chest area (recreating the “dog ear”) that will sometimes last for a few days. If you have this problem, black is a great solution.

Why? Because when you look at someone head on who has a “dog ear” and is wearing black, it actually creates the illusion of having a breast where there is none.

(If you happen to grab a black v-neck, it will help you create the extra disguise of having a breast. This is due to the neckline giving the appearance of breasts and can even produce what looks like shadows of cleavage.)

Black Designs that Cross Over

I have both a dress and jumpsuit that crisscross in the front. This design is great because the crossing over disguises your figure by hiding your non-breasted body. But the impact is heightened even more because of its color. Black adds to the whole effect. It’s like a double disappearing-act.

(Feature photo is a jumpsuit from Anthropologie; Wrap-dress in this photo is from Gap)

Black Slit-Between-the-Breast(s)

This is style really can fool even your total, full-on “boob guy.” (Is that sexist? Probably. Oops!) The point is, this look is one that small-breasted woman have been using for years. The plunging neckline is daring for sure. And for a reason. It oozes confidence and sexuality.

Adding black to this design helps to fill in the void without making it look like there’s an empty space where your breast once was. Thus, it gives the illusion of breasts.

(Jumpsuit by Mary J from a local clothing store)

Black Ruffles

This little black dress says, “Va-Voom!” And every girl needs to have such a little black dress in her closet. For me, all of my pre-cancer ones no longer worked for me after my mastectomy. So a few weeks ago I went shopping with my mum and came across this dress. I put it on and couldn’t believe just how well it fit – not to mention how sexy and curvy I looked! As I encouraged in my article, “Get Ready for Ruffles”, now is the time to go grab yourself a cute little black dress like this. Mine is from Guess.

While we are on the topic of black (and ruffles) I must give a huge shout out to Ana Ono who (literally this weekend!) came out with a new line of swimwear for us (both unilateral and bilateral mastectomy without reconstruction) that has both!

You can buy this black, ruffle, flat-friendly bathing suit here.

I hope you are now convinced to get back in black, because, even though you may not want to go overboard and fill your closet with only this color, black is great for life after mastectomy. See, even old dogs do learn new tricks!

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