Cindy Greenwood, Bits of Lace October Woman, underwent a mastectomy in 2004 and has since struggled to find a bra that accommodates for the removal of her left breast. Her quest for a perfect bra ended upon her first fitting session with Bits of Lace Owner, Ruth Brennan.

Cindy and Ruth on Fitting Day

A Registered Nurse for 19 years, Ruth switched careers in 2001 and purchased Bits of Lace Fine Lingerie at 302 King Street in Charleston SC. In the eleven years that followed, these two unique experiences merged to create the very best mastectomy bra fitting experience for the women of Charleston. As a professional, Ruth’s fitting consultations are private, personal and life changing.

Before Cindy’s visit to the Bits of Lace fitting room, she chatted with Ruth about her main bra fit concerns. Topping her list was lymphedema of her arm on the side of her surgery and her uneven bust line.  Cindy also shared her wish to find a bra that allows her to wear a wider range of clothing. Her then current bra and prosthesis came too high up on her chest, limiting her wardrobe choices.

Ruth approaches each woman’s unique considerations by taking their history into account, for example:

-When was your last surgical procedure?
-Do you have any other procedures scheduled?
-What was the extent of your mastectomy: partial or complete?
-Have you had any reconstructive surgery?
-What bra size did you wear before your mastectomy? For women who have had a double mastectomy, Ruth asks her desired size.
-Do you have any lingering issues from your surgery: numbness, tingling, discomfort in underwire bras? These answers help Ruth select the most comfortable fabric type and bra style
-What does your wardrobe consist of? This helps to zero in on the most important bra selections for the fitting
-What kind of  lifestyle do you lead?
-What types of activities do you enjoy?

The answers to these questions help Ruth select the best bra styles. Whether the best choice is a sports bra, everyday seamless basic bra, strapless, fun or sexy, the goal is to provide an experience that will improve the woman’s appearance and lifestyle.

The most important factor with any mastectomy bra fitting is matching the bra and prosthesis (or form) to the woman’s body appropriately. Because there are many types of mastectomy procedures a woman can undergo, there are also many shapes and weights of forms to match many unique scenarios.  A form should fill the natural space left behind from the mastectomy: whether the space on the chest wall is concave, partially full, etc. A form should also be the same weight of the breast that was removed. This gives an equal, aligned appearance. Many women are unaware of this and have a lopsided, uneven look. This is why a personalized fitting session with an expert, like Ruth, is so crucial.

Ruth and Cindy spent over an hour together in the fitting room. Ruth completely shattered Cindy’s every notion of a mastectomy bra.  Read Cindy’s experience in her own words.