Almost every woman feels self -conscious to one degree or another when they put on their swimwear and head to the beach or the pool, but for women who have had breast cancer surgery, worrying about scarring or prostheses, it can be more even more daunting.
However, there are brands out there making lovely mastectomy swimwear that is designed to fit securely and comfortably while retaining the look of regular swimwear to help you feel as confident as possible on the beach, with no more reason to feel self-conscious than the next woman.
Many swimwear retailers and brands stock specific collections of post surgery swimwear which is designed with hidden pockets to hold prostheses and is typically cut higher across the neckline to hold these securely in place as well as under the arms to hide any scars. There are also specialist retailers such as Betty & Belle, Eloise Lingerie and Nicola Jane which offer a wide range of mastectomy swimwear styles as well as lingerie, so it’s always worth looking around because a well-fitted, flattering suit can make all the difference to your holiday.
What’s more, specifically post-surgery lingerie and swimwear products for women who have had a mastectomy or lumpectomy are exempt from VAT, which is a nice 20% you don’t have to pay. You’ll need to fill out a VAT exemption form for your retailer to qualify, but as these products can be expensive, it is definitely worth the little bit of hassle to save some money.
So, if you’re on the hunt for something pretty and flattering for your summer holiday, here’s a round up of some of the styles on offer.
Nicola Jane is a specialist retailer of mastectomy lingerie and swimwear which stocks a number of brands online and in its three stores in London, Leeds and Chichester alongside its own brand designs, like this pretty Berry Burst bikini, £34.99 ex VAT. The straight cut bandeau top is pocketed on both sides to hold your prosthesis and has detachable straps to minimise tan lines. It comes in sizes 32-42.
For sheer elegance, the Medellin mastectomy swimsuit from specialist brand Anita Care is a must-have. This stylish black and white polka dot one-piece has integrated pockets on both sides with concealed side openings and adjustable straps so you can get the fit and support just right. Buy it for £65 from Woods of Morecambe in sizes 32-40 A-C.
Jamu Australia is another specialist mastectomy brand created to give women who have had breast surgery beautiful swimwear to make them feel special. The brand’s Sand Wrap one-piece, £75 from Figleaves.com, has a flattering ruched design across the front with pockets for prostheses hidden in the moulded cups. It comes in sizes 8-18.
Sunflair is a German swimwear brand that is not nearly as well known in the UK as it should be, although widely available through independent boutiques up and down the country. The brand has a huge swimwear collection to suit all ages and tastes, which includes a good selection of mastectomy styles, and this bandeau swimsuit is an absolute stunner. You can pick it up for £76 ex VAT from Nicola Jane, although you’ll have to hurry as it is selling out fast.
Also from Nicola Jane is this pretty Snake Print tankini, £42 ex VAT, with detachable and adjustable straps. The coordinating briefs have a snake print trim, and it comes in sizes 32-42.
If you’re after a more classic style, Anita Care’s Austin swimsuit comes with a big thumbs up from retailer Betty & Belle for fit and design. The soft moulded pocketed cups give a great shape and the straps can be adjusted for fit and comfort, while the cleverly placed print helps to slim the waist. Plus, than navy colour is super flattering against pale English skin. Grab yours for £57 ex VAT.