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.