BrasBrasBras!

BrasBrasBras!

BrasBrasBras! I am an australian fashion designer and am currently living and working in Paris…in the lingerie industry. Whilst conducting some research on bras i noticed that there is nothing very nice, feminine or fun on the market when it comes to mastectomy bras.

There is a company in France that i have been speaking with that is willing to bring out a range of mastectomy bras using a wider range of colours, styles, sizes and very very nice fabrics! I have been appointed to design this range and i would like some feedback and opinions on personal preferences. What do you like and what bras or brands do you miss? what do you want?! Please let me know as i would really like to improve on the current ‘granny-bra’ situation and make something good :slight_smile:

Hello there

I’m 29 and have had a mastectomy and at the moment I’m still using some cheap bras I used straight after surgery, although this is not good enough now as I have my proper prosthesis and it is bigger than my bra cup.

My problem is I am only 34A, but I cannot see any nice underwear that isnt too expensive and that is trendy enough for a 29 year old!

Because I am quite small I would like a bra with a bit of padding and colour, white black and nude are great for everyday bras, but somethng jazzy or even bright colours would be great! Also the mastectomy bras I have tried on are massive all over, I know there has to be more material due to our scars, but they dont have to cover the whole of my upper body! I also prefer underwired, but it is difficult to get an underwired one that doesnt sit straight onto the scar that goes slightly under my arm.

(Whilst you are designing bras, you dont fancy doing swimwear too do you, there isnt much choice there for us younger ones, ha, ha, ha)

Sorry to ramble on, but hope this helps a little! Good luck!

Lou x

The million dollar question!!
So much has been written about this on these forums so I hope you gets plenty of suggestions.
I’m 35, was 32 when diagnosed. Had mastectomy with an implant inserted and then later a reduction on the other side. So I have one very hard and non squshable breast and one normal breast.
I petitioned for long and hard during my initial treatment to have normal,sexy non-granny like bras for younger women with breast cancer.
So, now that your reading this I would like to say again…
we want sexy,mesh,lace,thin straps,moulded cups to make symetrical looking breasts,wide at the under arm to keep in pads of skin left over from mastectomies,great colours and designs. Sexy,feminine,young,funky,vintage and fun!!!Think Salon Rose at M&S, with all the extra added special requirements.
Your femininity and sexuality is challenged beyond belief post breast cancer. I don’t see why we have to make it harder for ourselves by being stuck wearing crop top bras and bras only our mothers would wear.
If you need anything more I’m more than happy to vent. ;o)

*pearly*

hi,

just thought you would be interested to know that mark and spencer has recently just launched some post-surgery bras for bc patients. some of the designs are quite good…though it also totally covers the upper part of the body…

as i am only 23 and had a mastectomy…having wider options on bra designs would be cool…i prefer…something lacy (though not the whole bra), something sophisticated and sexy and also some comfortable ones with padding…more patterns and colours will be welcomed.

grace

thanks :slight_smile: thank you all very much for your opinions…keep them coming! could you tell me what kind of brands you liked to buy before surgery?

I have been thoroughly researching all the brands that are making post-surgery bras and i did check out the Marks and Spencers range. The bras look quite pretty but i have been hearing alot of reports that they are very uncomfortable and that the pockets are too small to fit the prothesis and very tight too… has anyone tried them out yet?

I agree that there needs to be more options especially for young women as the companies tend to market towards BC women in their 50’s and 60’s. The company i am working for are creating lingerie solely for BC women, so we can spend all our time and energy on creating something that is both comfortable and appealing. (with some colour!) and most importantly…espcially for you!

thanks again for the feedback and any frustrations you would like to vent on me or bra shopping horror stories, feel free! I appreciate all your thoughts on the matter and i would really love to deliver a nice end product to suit all of your wants and needs!

X

At last… I’m 43 and had a mastectomy in March - and you’re right the choice of bra’s is awful - I’m a 34 E on one side and total flat on the other and have so far only found one bra that holds my prosthesis comfortably - its a size 12 one from Trulife and I believe that size is normally worn by ladies with a bigger bust, and consequently more room in their bra but it is none the less the right size for me. However none of the rest of my bra’s are ever comfortable or feel in any way feminine.

I do need to have heftier straps on my bra because of the weight of the prosthesis but do they always have to look so thick and horrible?? And as you said some nice colours and materials wouldn’t go amiss!

I would love to write more but have numb fingertips from the taxotere so I’ll have to come back to this topic later!!!
Sue x

pocket predicament At the moment we are trying to work out the best way to create the pocketing in the cups that are practical for women with a full mastectomy and also for those with a partial mastectomy. We are interested to know if women with a full-mastectomy are more inclined to use a stick on prosthesis? Is this a popular option or do you prefer the bra-pocket technique. Sue, what do you use or prefer?

We are in a predicament as we are under the impression that BC women with full Mastectomies would require a flat pocket, to sit close to the chest and hold the prosthesis in place. and that alternatley, women with partial prosthesises would require a pocket that is pre-shaped (in a heat mould) to provide enough area for the remaining section of the breast. can anyone confirm or dis-prove this assumption for me? we would like to make the pocket as comfortable and practical as possible for you so please feel free to throw any personal suggestions or opinions my way!

X

Sophie,

I think it’s REALLY important that you don’t follow in the same footsteps as others and think that most women who’ve had mastectomies want bras with prosthesis pockets. This is just not the case.

I had a soft prosthesis which I could fit into a normal bra before I had my other breast reduced. It didnt fit into any pockets, it just sort of sat in the then empty space in the bra. I wanted to keep all my lovely old bras which were funky and sexy and meshy etc, etc but just slide the soft prosthesis into the cup space.

But - what I DO remember thinking at the time was that something like a moulded bra with sturdy shaped cups would have allowed me to place my soft prosthesis in AND wold have given me a MUCH more normal and symmetrical shape.Instead of that, I was always worrying about having different shaped breasts.

The style,designs,colours,sexiness and look of bra’s for women who’ve had breast surgery is a completely different topic.

Just wanted to say that, otherwise we’re only ever going to see bras with pockets in them when not everyone needs or wants them.

I ceratinly don’t need pockets as I have an implant on the affected side. ( yet another complication to your project ) Therefore, the “Ceriso” brand from M&S which does young,flirty and fun padded plunge bras very well is really my main choice now. Before breast Ca I would still go mainly for M&S but usually their balcony bras. Now those kinds of bras don’t sit well on me as I can’t fill them properly due to having a firm implant.

Hope this helps. Tyring to give you as much info as possible because I’ve always felt so strongly about this subject particularly in realation to younger women and lack of bra choice for them.

Kind Regards,

*pearly*

BrasBrasBras! I am 67 and agree most mastectomy bras are orientated towards older women. We didn’t ask for that. I still FEEL young. However, women today, whatever their age, want pretty - well fitting bras but above all they must be comfortable.
One of the problems that I have, is finding anything in my size 44D and I am not all that big. I don’t know what anyone any larger does.
If it is true that a large percentage of women are size 16 or over, then why aren’t these ladies catered for?
I have had a reconstruction and so need to patially fill in the bottom half of the cup only. Nothing looks good. I am in dispair.
Pattyann

Pattyann,

Don’t despair. There are bras around that have the bottom half ( at the wired bit up into the underarm part ) padded. I got one in Matalan.
It’s a padded plunge,lacy,padded at those bits and quite flirty.
I’m a 38 C.
Don’t despair, there are bras out there for you if you know where to look. ( and I’m always looking )

*pearly*

thanks for the info! thanks for the information pattyann. Its nice to hear that as i believe that older women are interested in something pretty and feminine too. You have confirmed my suspicions…I know my mum likes to wear cute girly underwear still as we go shopping together in the same shops! I really dont understand how the trend of ugly bras started and if the companies even bothered to ask anyone what they wanted before they produced them! It also doesnt make any sense as to why the larger sizes are so often disregarded considering that the percentage of larger-breasted women make up the majority…

I have also read alot of conflicting opinions on underwires. some women seem to want to continue wearing them whilst others dont. I am looking at an alternate material to create a softer underwire (especially around the underarm) or possibly a removable one?

I was also under the impression that pockets were an essential addition to a mastectomy bra so thanks pearly for that info! That is very helpful to know (especially before i fall into any traps!) This is a new area to me and i admit that 6 months ago i was totally ignorant to the realities of BC. The more i learn about it, the more it frustrates me and the more i want to help. I cant get bras off my mind now! lol So all this information is genuinly appreciated.

So if the pocketing is not so important its the padding that is important right? and good coverage too? and comfort of course!! I am trying to focus on creating something comfortable and functional before i focus on the aesthetics (thats going to be the fun part!)

If there is no pockets and good moulded cups do the prosthesis’ tend to stay in the right place and what about when it comes to sport activities?

x

For myself and many others that I have talked to, wearing an underwired bra is now almost impossible.
After surgery some women have a small, permanently sore patch beneath the lower outer edge of the breast, on the ribs. It really hurts so a softer underwire sounds wonderful.
Good luck I hope it goes well.

Again, the underwire thing is something which varies according to which stage your at in surgery/treatments.
I couldn’t go near an underwired bra while I had a tissue expander insitu. The vessel which was attatched to the expander internally sat on my rib cage and pressed against any bra I wore. I had to stick with elasticated crop tops for a long time. I missed not having the choice which seemed so evident looking at bras which were mostly underwired.
Then, I had the tissue expander removed and a permanent implant inserted and I could at last go back to wearing underwired bras.
I think prostheses would fit into bras without pockets providing the bra was a snug fit on the breast tissue and subsequently contain the softy. Anything which gaped would be a big no-no. But, something which was moulded and shaped should take a prosthesis AND give a better cosmetic shape. I had a better,symmetrical shape doing this than when I had both breast’s!

Patty-ann - the bra I was talking about is by a company called Nina. I checked it this morning and it’s actually a 38D so they may go up to your size.You might not be quite ready to go back to underwired bras just yet but it may not always be that way.

Oooooh, I’m enjoying this thread!Thanks Sophie.I had HUGE ideas about making bras during my own treatment but didn’t have the know-how to go about it. I knew what I wanted. I tried out lots of different non-wired products which would give the feel and shape of a wired bra - without the wire. I even tried plastic bag/luggage ties!! But still they were too flimsy. That part could be quite a breakthrough if you found suitable materials.

*pearly*

Padding or shaping Hi every one. What an interesting thread! I have had a skin saving mastectomy with immediate TRAM reconstruction so I’m quite lucky that I may be don’t need quite so much cup coverage even at 38D than if my mastectomy had been delayed (one of the reasons for doing it this way). I am still lopsided tho so wear a stick on prosthesis and the important thing for me is having either padding or moulding that disguises the outline of the prosthesis. This almost always means an underwire as there are very few padded non under wired bras on the market. Maybe the support under the bust needs to be bigger but flatter so it sits close to the skin but not a thin wire that would dig in. Not sure what material you would need to use for this tho. Light weight flexible plastic perhaps?

Totally agree with everything that has been said about colour and design etc. At 47 I still want to wear pretty feminine matching!!! sets of under wear.

Regards Wendy

BRAS again! Hi there,

I just want to say well done to Sophie on getting another company to listen to what we really want, and to get us away from the dreaded granny WHITE bras, and give us something seductive instead!!

I am still working on my research (over 18 months) with existing companies on giving us DD-J sizes in all back sizes and more feminine colours and styles. To give us the same ranges and styles that are available now.

It has been really difficult for me, trying to find bras to fit around my two self adhesive prosthesis, as the cups never come up high enough to cover the prosthesis, or the bras are too low in the middle and they sit over the top. I have to keep buying a bigger cup size and taking a dart in at the middle to pull the cups higher and the front higher, but this is annoying when you should be able to buy bras like before your operation. !

Sophie if you need trial wearers for these garments I am happy to help out, I am a 32DD/E.

During my research I gathered 58 items that women wanted in a bra, and that was narrowed down from over 200 from the list women sent me.

At 40 I dont want to wear high necks or camisoles all the time I want to wear a nice dress or strappy top in the summer. I want to just put the bra on like you put your knickers on and forget about it. !!

xx

Horses for courses… Hi Sophie,
Looks like everyone has a different need, doesn’t it?!

I’ve just finished chemo and about to start radiotherapy so I’m sure my needs will also change in the next few months. At the moment I wear some pocketed bra’s and some without. I’m not sure that I want to go for the stick on prosthesis as I still feel more comfortable not wearing any bra at all whilst at home (the other boob is sagging well though because of that!) It’ll probably be different when I get back to work. At the mo I’m still a bit numb/tender around the mastectomy area so the kind of bra which hold the prosthesis in place firmly would also be quite uncomfortable to wear all day.

As I said I’m happy waring pocketed or unpocketed but there are swings and roundabouts - in the hot weather, not having a pocket means your chest sweats quite a lot whereas the pocket absorbs the sweat a bit - but you have to wash your bra daily! The pocket keeps my prosthesis in place more (it’s too big for my bra as I said earlier) but isn’t so good when wearing scimpier tops as when you lean forward it moves too…although it has to be said I’m probably not going to be wearing little tops ever again except in the back garden!

Good luck with your designs - it’s a big project!

Sue x

Bras Hi

Thank goodness, i had a mastectomy and reconstruction in 2002, i have been wearing what you call granny bras, im so fed up with not being able to wear something pretty and sexy, i understand that i need to have support, so if there is something out there that gives all of that, let me know.

a big thank u! thank you so much for all your advice. It is very important for me to understand your needs and to comprehend the realities of living with B.C. (as much as it is possible! as i have no first hand experience of this)
Yes, it is a very big project and there is no quick and easy design solutions. I would like you to know that all your comments are helping us to evolve the designs and we are continually adapting our ideas …for the better! I am very enthusiastic about this project and i am determined to deliver something really good… thanks for the support and any insight you can share with me is very helpful to this great quest! I believe that sometimes the smallest things can make the biggest difference…
If you have any opinions on where the other brands have gone wrong in terms of style, fit and comfort…send you complaints this way!

X

Pattyann I sympathise. I’m a 42B and most of the nice Amoena/Nicola Jane styles stop at 40, as does the new M&S range. M&S sell clothes to fit women with bust sizes larger than 40, so why don’t they sell the lingerie to go underneath?