New intimate apparel brands like Red Fern Lingerie are changing the world of mastectomy lingerie. And it's about time.
Yes, women need more choices and access to feminine and sexy styles. But designs must also go beyond the usually pocketed bra made to hold a breast prosthesis. Post-mastectomy intimate apparel has to factor in the different treatments of breast cancer patients. Some will have early onset of menopause, leading to unexpected hot flashes that make bodies sweaty and sticky. Patients don't all have the came choices in surgeries either. Some have zero reconstruction, rebuilt breasts using tissue or implants, lumpectomies, or added cosmetic surgery to healthy breasts (to achieve breast symmetry).
Red Fern Lingerie founder and designer Tina Doueihi understands these challenges. She has been through the breast cancer battle.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 37. I always loved wearing European and designer lingerie and was horrified at the limited choice in lingerie available to women post treatment. Personally, I wanted to feel like the woman I am, not the breast cancer patient.
I had drawers full of wonderful sets, colourful, fun and sexy. Post surgery I was sent for a fitting and I was horrified at the lack of choice available. I felt that the lingerie industry no longer saw me as a woman. This disease takes away from women many things regarding their femininity - their breast (or part) and loss of hair, eyelashes, eyebrows, etc. I was unable to understand why lingerie had to be part of the equation.
Tina offers breast cancer patients more than just a pretty bra. It's about helping them reclaim their body confidence and lives. The bras are free of wires that might poke or irritate scar tissue. The interior includes a pocket lined with soft, breathable cotton for greater comfort. Delicate bows and embroidered flowers on cups and straps add the right fashion touch without aggravating sensitive skin. Cheerful prints and bright colors paired with thoughtful construction details make Red Fern both beautiful to look at and wear.
Tina wants Red Fern to fit all aspects of a woman's lingerie life, whether she needs something practical under a formal business suit or a racier style for the boudoir. Patients with reconstructed or unreconstructed breasts can wear her designs.
Red Fern's debut collection is available in Australian bra band sizes 10-16 with A - E cups (equivalent to US size 32-38 bands with cups A to E). Tina plans to introduce a new style every season and expand current sizing.Caitlin-Marie
Tina also shared with me what it was like to launch her own business after breast cancer treatment and what she learned.
I will honestly say that the most unexpected thing I learned starting Red Fern Lingerie is the personal growth journey it has taken me on. I learned a lot about myself. I had to work through blockages to move to the next stage. I had to learn to take care of myself better so I can work better in the business. I had to learn to think outside the box when someone would say to me ‘no, it can’t be done’. I knew it could be done, I just had to think creatively.
Red Fern is about more than supporting a prosthetic or "new" boobs. It allows breast cancer patients to move forward with their lives by recovering their sense of personal style and femininity.
What do you think of this collection targeted to "sexy survivors?" What are your favorite Red Fern pieces?