After my double mastectomy, I woke up strapped into a matronly white surgical bra. It had velcro in all the places to make it infinitely adjustable, and so it fit just fine. It seemed very practical, so I asked my oncoplastic surgeon for a second one to wear while the original was in the wash. She laughed my question off and told me I wouldn’t want it in a few days.
As it turned out, she was right.
Look at this thing. I bet I could go at it with a bedazzler or cover it in foil and be 1990s Madonna for Halloween this year.
Sidenote: I later discovered that my health insurance paid $300 for that bra. You can definitely do better.
Post mastectomy, bras should be comfortable, supportive, and easy to get on. What’s more—I feel that they shouldn’t be expensive. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on something I only planned to wear for a short time. With inexpensive bras, I didn’t have to worry about ruining them with my oozing drain holes, or replacing them when tissue expansion gave me a new bra size every two weeks. So you won’t find many high-end post mastectomy bras here. Of all the bras I tried, these are the ones that worked best for me.
- Womens Zip Front Padded Sports Bra ($17.99 for 2, amazon.com)
If you’re looking for a zip front sports bra after surgery, this is it. It’s super easy to get into and out of, even if you can’t move your arms to save your life. It has a thick band under the bust and is stretchy and comfortable. At first I left the foam padding in for extra protection against bumps, but as time went on, I pulled the pads out for a better fit and more natural look. Bonus: In a multipack, they’re under $9 each.
- AnaOno “Sandi” front-close bra ($58, anaono.com)
*21 days post-op* So my nipples have started to peel, you guys. After my mastectomy, they were dark red, and now the redness has turned into scabs and is starting to come off. I’m not picking! I have a handful of different bras that are comfortable right now, but this one by @anaonointimates (“Sandi”) is by far the best looking of the bunch. #iamanaono
A more refined, upmarket front-close option is this AnaOno Sandi front-closure bra. I think it’s the best looking of the bunch, but it’s also fairly pricey. My only complaint is that the narrow band sometimes pinches uncomfortably on the bottom edges of my tissue expanders. It’s very soft though!
- Marielle Bra – The Ultimate Comfort Bra ($17.99 for 4, amazon.com)
One thing I didn’t realize right away with regards to my complete lack of arm range of motion was that clothing, and bras in particular, didn’t necessarily have to have a front closure in order for me to get them on. Things I could step into were just as good. These “Marielle” bras are also from Amazon, where you can get 4 for under $20. I’ll be wearing these at least until my exchange surgery, and possibly after. They’re soft, comfortable, and hold up well in the wash.
- New Balance Studio Crop Top ($64.99, newbalance.com)
This is a pull over style, so it’s not going to work until you can move your arms again, but I included it because it looks great over my tissue expanders. The high neck covers up all the edges and gives a smooth line. It’s soft, stretchy, and drew some compliments from my boyfriend (which is always a plus!)
What are your favorite bras for surgery recovery? Let me know in the comments!