Choosing a Bra After Breast Surgery: How to Pick the Right One

“It’s not just a bra. This is a way that you express yourself.”

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After undergoing breast cancer surgery, it will take some time to adjust to your new normal. Your body may look different and you may feel different, but it’s important to remember that you’re beautiful and you’re still 100 percent you.

Many women struggle with body image issues after breast cancer and breast cancer surgery, but there are many ways to help you feel like yourself again. While feeling beautiful is state of mind, it doesn’t hurt to rock some comfortable, sexy underthings and wear clothes that make you feel good post-breast cancer surgery to give you an extra boost.

“You’re allowed to cherish your body as you did before you had breast cancer,” says Dana Donofree, breast cancer survivor and founder of AnaOno, which specializes in clothing for women with breast cancer. “Do what makes you feel good no matter what.”

Donofree, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 27, began designing lingerie out of necessity when she realized there were no garments available at the the time that were both pretty and comfortable. Her company, AnaOno, continues this mission of providing garments for women who have had breast reconstruction, breast surgery, and mastectomy.

“Determining your breast surgery is a personal decision, and that personal decision is yours,” says Donofree. “Choosing your bra will depend on what surgery you had or your surgery outcome.”

Here are Donofree’s tips on finding the best bra to fit your needs based on your breast cancer surgery.

If you’ve decided not to undergo breast reconstruction surgery, try bralettes, which are soft, stretchy bras with no molds that provide a range of coverage.

These bralettes form right to your chest, and “you can cover any scarring that you may have undergone and still feel beautiful and sexy at the same time,” says Donofree.

If you have decided to have breast reconstruction surgery, you may find that with your new breast shape, traditional bras with molded cups don’t fit quite right. For example, “you might find some gaping because the molded cup may have an apex where there’s no longer a nipple,” says Donofree.

When looking for a bra post-breast reconstruction surgery, keep these tips in mind:

  • Look for something that’s soft, but not necessarily structured, like a bralette. “Really look for bras that will mold to your body,” says Donofree.
  • Go underwire-free. You want to make sure making there’s not anything that’s too tight around your breast fold, says Donofree.
  • Try a bra with filler pockets. These are helpful if you’re looking to balance your shape or have more breast symmetry. “Some bras come with pockets and have modesty pads already included. You may be able to get a lightweight breast form in those,” says Donofree. “And some are actually made for mastectomy so you can put in a full-bodied, full-weighted breast form.”

Whatever bra you choose, remember this: “It’s not just a bra,” says Donofree. “This is a way that you express yourself—a way that you show yourself that you love your body.”