Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Auld Lang Syne

Happy New Year to you all.

Well, 2013 proved to be a very difficult year! Those of you who have had breast cancer will know that it involves enduring a series of both physcial and emotional losses over a period of some months, a process that is both exhausting and demoralising.

The year was not without it's rewards, however. I am eternally grateful to the medical and nursing team that gave (and continue to give) me such excellent care. I also had the experience of doing an amazing program through a company called Precision Nutrition which not only helped me lose 15kg, but also allowed me to build a healthy and sustainable lifestyle and find a joy in movement and physicality that I didn't know existed. And finally, where would I be without my friends? Their kindness and support were a bright light in a dark tunnel. My hope for everyone  is that 2014 is full of much more of the good stuff that fills your heart and nourishes your soul.

Shorts:Country Road
This is my New Years Day attire, casual as befits a day at home and cool in deference to the Queensland summer. The top has a cocoon shape, and whilst the front lies fairly flat, the back billows out in an interesting way.
I have decided that I enjoy clothes with interesting details and designs and having a straight torso can provide a good canvas for them. One of the discussions over at YouLookFab is on fashion New Year's resolutions. Mine is to develop a wardrobe that contains only things I love. This may be a good starting point. What are your fashion resolutions for this year?

Monday, 23 December 2013

Another Brick In The Wall

This outfit is another experiment with choosing tops that do not disguise the flatness of my chest.  I have tried on a few jersey tops with draping and cowls recently, but have not had success. I think because the fabric is quite thin they cling too closely and hang oddly. This tank is a knit, and the thickness and texture have made all the difference for me.  I bought this top a month or so ago, and have found it surprisingly versatile.
Skirt and top:Veronika Maine
Sandals:Joanne Mercer
Knit skirts have been very popular this year, and having worn this one several times, it is easy to see why. They are so comfortable that it is like wearing pyjamas! The tank is also soft and comfortable and, whilst I don't always wear them together, I do enjoy the optical effect of all those little rectangles!

The nice thing about a knit top is that it is a bit form-fitting and allows me to show my waist and hips. The bad thing about a knit top is that it is form-fitting and is not very flattering over my chest.
The horizontal lines at hip level and the larger rectangles of the skirt do tend to draw the eye down, so I was hoping that the overall vibe was a flapper-esque 1920's look. I have also added a chunky necklace over the textured tank, in the hope of breaking up the broad, flat area over my chest.
I understand that this is not a look that is as conventionally flattering as loose woven tops, but as I begin to feel more confident about my body I am starting to be willing to sacrifice the flattering for the fun and novelty of different styles. Especially when they feel like I am wearing pyjamas!
What are you willing to sacrifice figure flattery for?

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

My Favourite Things

There are two new things in my outfit today. The first is the top I am wearing. I bought this about two weeks ago and I love it so much that I have to be strict with myself about not wearing it every single day!
Pants:Veronika Maine
The front is made of a faux snakeskin material. It is quite stiff and sits away from my torso and I love the unusual textural element that it adds. The cool thing is that although it has a dart, it is positioned in the middle of the top instead of the more usual side position. This means that if the fabric does collapse back onto my body, it does so in the middle, rather than over where my breasts should be, and gives the impression of cleavage rather than empty space.
I am also loving the back, as it is cool, airy and soft and acts as an interesting juxtaposition to the structure at the front of the top. After having to wear a bra for over 30 years, being able to wear nothing at all under a sheer, soft top like this still feels a bit transgressive and naughty in a fun kind of way, even though my husband assures me that I am not exposing anything!

The other new thing is, of course, my lip colour. I have a group of girl friends I went to university with and who I still see regularly. Our Christmas tradition (stolen from Oprah!) is to give everyone in the group the present of our favourite thing that we have bought, found or made during the year. One of my friends gave all of us a new lip stain she had discovered, and I think she did a great job in choosing the perfect colour for me.
What has been your favourite thing this year?

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

I Walk The Line

One of the dilemmas of dressing post-mastectomy has been deciding whether to stay true to my old  style persona or try to forge a new one. I was always a fan of a hint of bombshell, which usually meant emphasising my waist. However, many of the tops that have volume or pleating over the bust are quite an A-line shape, so I find myself sacrificing my waistline in order to  create the illusion of breasts. Conversely, tops that are fitted at the waist are often also tailored over the bust, and those empty darts and structured seams do not assist at all in the illusion of curves!
Top:Veronika Maine
Skirt: Cue
Shoes: Wittner
I think this top walks the line quite sucessfully. It is a peplum style, and comes in at the waist, but the bust has a lot of pleating and draping without a lot of shaping underneath and I think gives a very successful illusion of an hourglass shape.

The other thing I like about this top is that it also provides some volume over my hips, which I think gives some balance when I wear my much-loved pencil skirts.

Even the side view is not too bad, although I confess that I have given up trying to mimic breast projection on side view as it never really works. If I one day  have a outfit that requires that appearance, and it is important enough to me,  I will consider a prosthesis. For now, I will try to live my style the best way I can the way things are. Do you ever walk the line between your style preferences and the dictates of your body?

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Walk Like A Man

One of the advantages of being breastless is that it is much easier to rock an androgynous look. In days gone by, I greatly admired outfits with a menswear vibe but found that they were hard to wear well with a large bust. Now, I find the look easy to achieve but confess to a fear of being mistaken for a man! I think I have gravitated towards more feminine clothes since my mastectomy in part to avoid that possibility.
                                                          Top: Veronika Maine
                                                          Jeans: Just Jeans
                                                          Shoes: Wittner
My shoulders are the broadest part of my body now, so I am finding myself drawn to bootleg and wide-leg pants and flared skirts to provide some balance. However, the jeans and long sleeve T-shirt combination isn't the most feminine of outfits and I recognise that I do look somewhat boyish.
One of the standard pieces of advice given for dressing post-mastectomy is to wear scarves. Indeed, some of my lovely friends sent me scarves as post-op care packages, a very kind and thoughtful gift. I have scarves with more drape and volume than the one above and they definitely provide better coverage of my chest and a more feminine vibe. However, on this day I wanted a simple, clean look and hoped that wearing earrings, sandals and carrying a handbag would provide the requisite gender cues.

As it happened, no-one called me "Sir' and I enjoyed the freedom and simplicity of my boy clothes. I suspect that for me to feel comfortable with these styles I need to incorporate a few more feminine pieces. This is probably the time for more refined footwear or even a bit of lipstick! Anyway, playing dress-up is always fun and it was nice to experiment with a new style.
Do you have a style you yearn to try but feel too shy?