I love my role as a bra fitter and am humbled when customers entrust me to advise them on what to wear.
We’re all shapes and sizes. We’re all unique. And we all have our own, individual story and experience.
I also feel a bit of a fraud!
Having not had breast surgery, who am I to give advice?
The fact is, it’s my job and I want to do the right thing by my customers. I’ve researched and have an understanding of what type of bra should be worn when. But I’d love to hear about your individual experience.
Were you given any information on what type of bra to wear from your doctor or nurse?
Did you have a bra fitting before and/or after your surgery? If so, was it at the hospital or did you go to a store?
How did you feel before your bra fitting? And how did you feel during and after it?
These questions are just ideas to kick off the topic. Any feelings or information you’d like to share will be so welcome.
Thanks for your time in reading (and maybe responding to) this. I realise it’s precious to us all xxxx
I was given no advice whatsoever from my medical team for a bra. Personally I can only speak from a DIEP reconstruction but the challenges I have faced is I don’t have as much flexibility in my breasts as I used to. I don’t know if it’s because of the type of fat used or maybe just because I am now tight up there. But the shape isn’t very malleable anymore. So for me, I find flexible bras are more comfortable. I don’t need underwire because they’re pretty perky. Depending on the outfit sometimes I like molded cups. Other times just soft fabric. And although I am technically a 34C, the size very much depends on the type of bra. As far as I how I felt, I feel fine although I haven’t been professionally sized yet. But I don’t anticipate I will have an issue when I do as long as my fitter is professional.
What an interesting perspective you must have on the world of bras!
We have lots of info our website about this, including some videos you can watch Bras after surgery for breast cancer | Breast Cancer Now
However I’m sure this will make for a really interesting topic to follow and I’m sure there will be lots of different experiences shared
All the best,
Hi that’s a interesting question , first time I had bra fitting was a well know store had just had a wide local incision so there was a dip in my breast all she did was measured under my existing bra and said I was same size I needed front zip up that’s what surgeon recommended ,I found the experience disappointing , when I had mastectomy one breast the experience was good they took there time and recommended different bras with pockets for prosthesis and even should me best way to insert them , made me feel so much better and confident , you do feel vulnerable after surgery and need good advice x
I was invited into the hospital on the day when the breast nurses had arranged a local bra shop to come in and measure and provide a bra and prosthesis. So that was quite useful.
I think my two gripes in this whole subject of bra’s etc is…
- I would sometimes like to go without my prosthesis, but a bra would just have a saggy cup, so I would really like a uni-bra…that offers support to my other big breast but hasn’t got a saggy bit of material where my prosthesis should be.
- I would also really like to buy a really nice sexy nightie, with a lacy bra part and silky skirt…but all the ones I see are not fitted at the bust so you can’t wear a prosthesis with it.
Apologies, that probably has nothing to do with what you asked about…but I just had to get off my chest as it were xx
I was also invited into hospital when the breast nurses had arranged a local bra fitter to come in and measure and provide a bra and prosthesis. The lady was lovely and gave me some good advice on what to look for. I would say though that ordering the specislist bras online has been more tricky, as you can’t just buy them, and have to write and request and say why you want one, to be called back for the purchase.
Interesting topic. Answering your questions in order from the perspective of someone who had a single MX without reconstruction…
- I didn’t receive any information on what type of bra to wear either before or after surgery by my team. I asked my CNS who said “anything you’re comfortable in”, “there’s no medical reason why you do or don’t need to wear a bra”, which wasn’t particularly helpful at the time I was preparing for surgery or after. So what I did was ask members on this forum for advice and bought myself some crop top cami bras & vests made of soft bamboo cotton. Also bought a couple of front opening bra’s from M&S (which remain unused as I didn’t find them comfortable). I effectively wore the cami bras for around 9 months (with & without a softie) until I enquired about how to go about getting a prosthesis fitting done from the NHS hospital I was treated at. This was after I met another patient who had been through the process there.
- I was however pleasantly surprised by the prosthesis fitting offered by the hospital. They arranged a 1/2 hour hospital appointment with an amoena bra fitter, who measured me for both a basic bra and prosthesis.
- I felt good during the appointment. After the appointment I ordered a few bra’s online & realised the size was different to what I wore prior to surgery and also that different styles wouldn’t necessarily fit the same.
What I realise is that I need to find & go for a further fitting where a broader selection of bra’s in different styles would be available to try on during the fitting session. But was happy with the service offered by hospital in getting a prosthetic as a starting point because it has helped with some discomfort in my back and posture, which I feel may be due to the dissymmetry after a single mx. Up until that point I was contemplating not wearing a prosthetic, so I can see now that there is actually a medical reason why I should wear one.
Things that remain on my to do list; are find a comfortable sports bra, and also find out if/how I can wear any of my pre-surgery bra’s without pockets.
Look up Uno bra by Katy Marks. She’s a survivor doing brilliant work and there should be some information hitting the press in the next few weeks!
I was disappointed with the selection of bras available at my local high street store. They had several different styles but the sizes were limited so had to order online to see if they were suitable and of course without the advice from the fitter.
I found it interesting that you say you have done your own research, well done you, but surely someone offering advice on such an important and specialist issue fitters should have special training probably from medical teams and patients. Maybe this is something that stores should look into providing as not all fitters will be as diligent as you. Thank you for trying to find out as much information as possible to enable you to give the very best service to your customers.
Thanks for your response Kay0987. You’re the first person I’ve heard from, either here or in my bra fitting experience, who has had DIEP reconstruction so I really appreciate hearing of your experience.
You’re so right with types of bras fitting differently. I encourage my customers to always try a bra on before buying as they can differ so much.
I’m sure your fitter will be professional when you get fitted. Most of us in this role love what we do and want to get it right for the customer. You need and deserve to feel good. X
I’m glad you’re asking us these questions for I think this is an area where BC patients need more help!
I had no advice other than being advised to get a bra without underwires - all my bras had underwire cups - they fit me best! There was no explanation but I assumed it was because they’d possibly rub on scars. There was absolutely no advice about bras or bra fitting. A friend recommended a boutique bra shop where she got bras fitted as I was hesitant about asking at a big M&S store where you had to go and look for an assistant. Even the thought of trying bras on in mid-winter when dressed up in so many layers was off-putting! Added to that, all the assistants in M&S seem very young and glamorous and when I wasn’t feeling very confident, I really didn’t want the humiliation of feeling old and ugly! They may be lovely and professional, but it doesn’t feel like it when you wonder round the huge bra department surrounded by glamorous underwear - I just wanted to run!!
The tiny bra shop felt more personal and I was fitted with 1 bra to try it - problem is they’re expensive, but worth it if they fit well. I like foam moulded bras to give me shape but I often end up with ‘air-pockets’ just above the nipple!! As I had put on a bit of weight after surgery (due to a very short spell on an anti-depressant drug) this problem wasn’t apparent until I quickly lost the weight and the air-pockets came back - this time in my expensive bra! So at the moment I have underwired bras which fit perfectly but can press on my side, a too big fitted bra which is nonetheless still comfortable and a plethora of M&S non-wired bras which are too uncomfortable to wear as they press too much against my breasts and tend to ride up.
I would have really appreciated bra advice at the clinic as it’s a time when you’re feeling vulnerable and don’t have the confidence to launch out into the hustle and bustle of a large, impersonal store for advice from fit young girls!!