CureDiva’s Stylish Solutions and Stellar Support for Women Living with Breast Cancer

curediva

Today, I want to introduce you to an utterly amazing organization: CureDiva is an online marketplace for women who are living with breast cancer that offers a huge variety of hats and head coverings, incredibly cool compression sleeves, breast forms, bras, wigs, and lots more. You can shop by treatment type or product type, and their top-notch customer service reps will help with any questions or concerns you might have. This company was co-founded by breast cancer survivors Tovi Riegler and Efrat Roman, both of whom have experienced the stress of feeling like strangers in their own bodies, and have recognized how important it can be to put effort into looking stylish and feeling comfortable during treatment.

But CureDiva does SO much more than just help women living with breast cancer look lovely and feel better about their bodies. This company has created the Guardian Diva program, which connects those who have been newly diagnosed with others who have already been through treatment. This kind of support is invaluable to women who feel isolated or overwhelmed and don’t know who to turn to with highly specific questions and deep-seated worries. CureDiva also hosts a huge and lively online community that includes separate forums for discussions, questions, do’s and don’ts, and a fascinating blog with a multitude of voices chiming in.

In the past two months, I’ve worked with a style consult client with metastatic breast cancer and another who’d had a double mastectomy. Both of these amazing women wanted to feel put-together, comfortable, and like themselves, and were struggling to do so. And as we worked together toward those goals, both of them inspired me with their positivity, good humor, and creativity. Shortly afterward, CureDiva reached out to me about a collaboration and I jumped at the chance.

Guardian Diva Coordinator Ann Marie Otis – who also blogs at Stupid Dumb Breast Cancer – asked if I would be willing to answer a few style questions from the CureDiva community, so that’s what we’re up to here today! Let’s dive right in.

How do I hide my scars including my port scar?

The simplest solution is to opt for higher necklines. Most crewnecks and cowlnecks will cover lower port scars, and mock turtlenecks are back with a vengeance this season which is good news for higher scars. Since high necklines can add visual bulk to your top half and shorten your neck, consider pairing them with soft knit blazers or jackets with single, low-placed buttons. The nice deep V created by the jacket lapels helps mitigate the impact of the high neckline.

All fine and dandy in the middle of winter, but come summer you might not want to slowly broil inside a high-necked shirt. CureDiva’s Modesty4Me High Neckline Cami is a great option because it allows you to layer. Throw it on with a short-sleeved button-front shirt worn open, and you should be able to cover both scars.

Scarves are a fantastic choice for downplaying scars, too. I recommend the pretzel knot and fake infinity scarf ties. Both work best with large, thin scarves and will cover both neck and clavicle, even when worn with a low neckline top!

I think for myself personally, I always used to have the big breasts, small stomach…now it has turned around. How do I dress to flatter the midsection that I can’t believe I have now? I am short, but wearing long flowy tops to cover my stomach makes me look even shorter.

One of my recent clients was in the same boat, and so frustrated and confused by her new shape. There are a couple of tricks you can employ to make your midsection less prominent: First, try wearing tops and bottoms in the same color range – dark with dark, medium with medium, light with light. An extreme version of this would be black pants and a black top, but even black pants and a charcoal gray top would work. You’re basically creating a column of color that is uninterrupted from shoulders to ankles, giving the eye no place to stop. (For bonus points: Head to toe black with a bold scarf or statement necklace. Places the focus toward your face and away from your waist.)

Jackets are fantastic for downplaying your midsection, so long as they’re worn open. (And there are lots of ponte and knit versions available now if stiff twills and wools are too uncomfortable!) Leaving the jacket open creates vertical lines along your torso, drawing the eye up and down instead of encouraging it to land at the waist. Waterfall cardigans can work, too, so long as they aren’t incredibly long or voluminous.

Finally, think about balancing volume with slimness. Tunics, oversized sweaters, and loose blouses are all great options, but will look their best worn with leggings, slim ponte pants, or skinny jeans. Big floaty tops paired with wide-legged or even bootcut pants give the impression of bigness all over. By wearing something form-fitting on your bottom half, you show the observing eye your true shape.

What type of jewelry looks best with the different stages i.e. bald to buzz cut to pixie to short hair to bob, etc.?

This really comes down to your own style and comfort preferences. With no or short hair, some women are comfortable sporting big, eye-catching earrings, and others may feel like drawing attention upward isn’t desirable. So here are a few options based on comfort levels and priorities:

– If you’re a bold dresser and adore jewelry, balance one large piece with a smaller one. So do big earrings with a simple, subdued necklace OR stud earrings with a statement necklace. Actually, this guideline is helpful regardless of your hairstyle and length. Small earrings and a simple necklace will work, but big earrings and a giant necklace will compete with each other and crowd your face. (Check Etsy for comfortable options including cloth, silk cord, and lightweight styles.)

– If you like jewelry but would prefer the focus be away from your face and head, try small drop or stud earrings with a long pendant necklace. Think an inch or two above navel-level. (Swap chain for silk cord if metal chafes.)

– If you wear a turban, scarf, or hat you may find that big jewelry competes with your head covering. Try simple medium-sized earrings, small drop earrings, stud earrings, minimalist short necklaces, or long pendants.

– Once you get to the bob stage, consider choosing small earrings that fall noticeably short of your hair, or long dangly earrings that are more vertical than horizontal and fall noticeably below your hair. You want to make your choice look intentional, and earrings that pop in and out of your hairdo may look haphazard.

I know many of your lives have been impacted by breast cancer, and I hope you’ll explore CureDiva‘s offerings and community. Spread the word, too, if you know anyone who could benefit from the support and wisdom of the Divas. They’re doing incredible, important work and I’m so glad to know they’re out there doing it.

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Lovely Links: 1/30/15

Weekly Kitty:

palace

(First seen on Instagram.) Cat palace, procured. Level 5 Cat Lady, ACHIEVED.

I gave myself a crick in the neck nodding emphatically while reading this piece about how short-sighted it is to encourage women to ignore their bodies completely and focus solely on accomplishments, personality, and intelligence. A favorite quote: “Most of the feminism that I’ve run into does tend to bifurcate mind and body in a way that seems unhelpful. You’re supposed to appreciate your body for the things it does for you, rather than realizing that in a very real way your body is you and that all the things your body does are things that you do.” SO IMPORTANT.

Sylvia is stunning in this edgy monochrome outfit.

Your sweater is pilling. Do you use a sweater stone or sweater comb to get it back in shape? (I’ll admit to using a sweater shaver myself.)

I got a sample of this Hourglass Liquid Lipstick a few months back, and just ponied up for a full-size tube. It is POTENT, so I dab on a couple of drops and then blend. It has better staying power than any lip stain I’ve encountered thus far.

Cyn’s moto-detail jeans are so, SO cool, and the perfect mate for her floaty floral top.

In a recent interview about her childhood and her Image Award-nominated show ‘black-ish,’ Tracee Ellis Ross said, “Women are asked to put forward, to a certain extent, a mask. And for black women, that has taken on greater significance, because the standard of beauty has not necessarily had the space for different definitions of beauty. I’m trying to find my own version of what makes me feel beautiful. On ‘black-ish,’ there’s a lot that has to be done working around my hair, in terms of scheduling.”

Over on About.com I gave a few tips for deciding if a fashion trend is right for you.

A new group that formed to provide a place for young girls of color to connect and support each other, Oakland’s Radical Brownies earn “Radical Beauty” and “LGBT Ally” badges, study how Disney princesses define girls’ image of beauty, and talk about how that can affect self-image.

Gracey offers her thoughts on the best legging styles and brands for tall women. And she’s a fan, so she knows her stuff.

Related: K.Line swears by Hue’s denim leggings. She, too, knows her stuff and is a very discerning consumer.

This Sherlock-inspired outfit is fabulous. I love all of it, but the coat is especially amazing.

Assa shares some resources for designers who offer African print clothes in plus sizes, and reminisces about her childhood in Mali.

“Some feminist scholars refuse to portray naked female bodies, arguing that the sexualization and objectification of those bodies is inevitable. Others continue to experiment, searching for unique representational strategies. I, for one, insist that it is possible to resignify the naked female body, starting with my own body.” (Not safe for work viewing, art and photographic nudes)

Buying multiples of items you love is a much-lauded wardrobe-building technique … but it can backfire, as Grechen points out.

My own color preferences may have changed, but I still adore bright, bold combos like cobalt, yellow, and pink as worn together in this vibrant outfit.

Sarah talks about her experience living with Androgenetic Alopecia, saying, “Having no hair does not define who I am.” (Via Hair Romance)

The concept behind The Ugly Ducklings is intriguing. Feeling confident, valued, and understood is challenging for young women, as is remembering that your journey is what shapes you.  A little fuzzy on what the organization is actually DOING, though. Anyone else heard of it?

Writer Alice Gregory explains why a simple personal uniform makes her feel serene.

Uniqlo’s SPRZ NY collection is calling to me with a marvelous selection of Keith Haring graphic tees and sweatshirts.

On the importance of changing systems from the inside out: “I think my bro-ness largely contributed to my ability to reach my male privileged residents. The ideologies that my corporeality signified gave me a presumed rapport with them, allowing me to infiltrate their spaces, thus granting me the perfect opportunity to subvert those ideologies from the inside. To broaden the implications because of what my body signifies, I can go back home to Philly and be on the block spittin’ some bell hooks or Sara Ahmed to other Black dudes and be listened to because of the capital that I carry through my embodiment. Thus my bro-ness, while inimical in, say, a space containing older, white, second wave feminist women, is subversive and anti-patriarchal in a space containing Black Nationalists and hip-hop heads in North Philly precisely because I am granted access to that space.”

In honor of Australia Day, Imogen shares a pictorial dictionary of some of the most commonly used Australian clothing terminology. Budgie smugglers. Hee.

Forest green accents make this elegant taupe coat look even more sophisticated.

LPC and Une Femme collaborated on posts in which they explored their denim experiments, favorites, and styled yet to be tried.

“These women demonstrate that abiding by the Jewish law of modesty need not translate to dowdy, unflattering, ill-fitting clothing. Modest dressing can be beautiful, attractive, and, most importantly, fashionable. My modesty does not prevent me from buying fashion-forward clothing. On the contrary, it is the reason I have a unique sense of style.

Fascinating: What does a designer collaboration need to accomplish to be considered successful?

Corin and Carrie explain the Riot Grrrl movement in 20 seconds.

Focusing on the two essential purging questions – Is it useful? Does it bring you joy? – Lady Smaggle suggests five items that are likely lurking in your closet and should really be chucked right out.

My earring preferences are shifting. Instead of studs and big necklaces I’m doing big earrings and long pendants. These beauties from Lockhart Wrks are a new fave: Big and bold but super lightweight. And I’m still deciding if I can carry off these huge, bling-y chandelier earrings.

Worn Through recommends these academic studies and writings exploring the intersection of fashion and age.

Recently, the BBC program Woman’s Hour interviewed Rivkie Baum, creator a plus size fashion magazine called SLiNK. Alongside a weight-loss expert. So they could have a discussion about whether making stylish clothes in plus sizes “normalizes obesity.”

A hilarious riff on the concept of “cost per use.”

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for alreadypretty.com. See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.

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Insomniac Sale Picks: Notched Collar Blouses

*In this late-night feature – which will run on Tuesday and Thursday of each week – I’ll gather up three fun items that are currently on sale online and share them with you! I would LOVE suggestions: Stylish wide-width pumps? Classic v-necked sweaters? Chandelier earrings? Petite dress slacks? What would you like to see featured?*

Katja requested a few picks for notched collar blouses, so here we go:

bedford fair notch collar blouse

Bedford Fair Long Sleeve Blouse – was $41.99, now $24.99

This blouse is the only real home run of the group as it comes in 14 colors and has a true notched collar. It’s made from machine washable polyester faille and looks like it might be a little shiny at times, but other colors appear more matte. Available in sizes 8 – 18, petite sizes available on Amazon in four colors. Size availability varies by color.

port authority camp shirt

Port Authority Silk Blend Camp Shirt – was $76.96, now $21.60 – $46.37

It was far easier to find camp style shirts with notched collars than actual long-sleeved blouses. This one is a silk blend that appears to have great drape, and could be worn tucked into a skirt or with a smart blazer. Available in this light green as well as ivory, pink, periwinkle, or black in sizes XS – 4X. Size availability varies by color.

talbots notch collar shirt

Talbots Wrinkle Resistant Paisley Shirt – was $79.50, now $59.62
with code feb25

I can see why Katja needed help with this one because it’s seriously slim pickings out there. The notch on this shirt collar is pretty darned subtle, but it’s listed in the item description and more pronounced than in most other shirts I found. And it’s Talbots, so that means it comes in regular, petite, plus, and petite plus sizes. So a whole bunch of yes to that. The store claims this striped version also has a notched collar, but that one’s even more subtle if you ask me.

 

Honorable mentions

 

Other not-currently-on-sale resources for notched collar blouses:

  1. Blair family of stores – In addition to the Bedford Fair blouse above, this group has some other options like this 3/4-sleeve polka dot blouse. Use the tabs up top to navigate. Many offer a wide range of sizes.
  2. Amazon – More short-sleeved options than long, but some cutes ones in there.
  3. eBay – When in doubt, always try eBay. Some of these won’t have the two-notch style Katja is looking for, but many do.

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for alreadypretty.com. See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.

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