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Guest blog: finding your style and your confidence during breast cancer, by Jane Buckley of Jane's Place

Friday, 26 April 2013 18:11:00 Europe/London

We're THRILLED to welcome the lovely Jane Buckley of the fabulous Jane's Place to the Suburban Turban Blog today! Jane's Place over on Facebook is an online magazine devoted to offering daily tips and news on how to look and feel your stylish best, throughout your breast cancer journey. Practical and oh-so-stylish - Jane's main message is 'Have fun!', and this shines through in every uplifting feature and newsbyte!

Finding my style, by Jane Buckley of Jane's Place

I have always loved clothes but this love of fashion and clothing took a great blow when I was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent drastic treatment several years ago. 

To start with, I focused on clothing that I could no longer wear because it was too strappy or too low cut, for example. I focused on the negatives and felt very sorry for myself.

Taking it from the top ...

Funnily enough, what improved my confidence was the loss of my hair. Such a drastic change in my appearance forced me to be brave and willing to try out new looks. I wore my bandana with my chin up, daring someone to ask what was going on with my hair.

All in the details

Now that my hair was gone, my eyes were more of a focal point. I made them up with far more care and also started to change my earrings with each outfit because they could actually be seen. I wore colour, jeans with embellishments, grabbed anything with sequins and beads (I almost went into a trance in Monsoon and Accessorize) and started to really have fun with clothing and accessories again.

Work with the changes

There is no doubt that your body image will change, after all, the treatment often physically alters your shape. You just need to work with it. Some women are happy to accept the change and don’t even worry about a prosthesis. Others desperately want to recreate what they have lost. Over the years, the main issues I have faced with clothing are around disguising asymmetry (even down to the fact that if your prosthesis doesn’t weigh the same as your natural breast, your clothing will twist round and necklines will not sit properly) and creating the illusion of a lower neckline, without gaping.

Go bold!

I have found that darker clothing hides a multitude of sins but who wants to wear black all the time?  Bold patterns are great for adding eye-catching interest and so are placement embellishments with bright dashes of colour. Other friends of mine swear by horizontal stripes which rather than emphasising unevenness, tend to draw the eye to connect the lines and focus on the symmetry – try 60's-style bright colour block dresses and tops for a bold statement. Spotted fabrics work really well for us, too.

The magic of scarves ...

You may need higher necklines if you are worried about gaping, but don’t throw out all your favourite tops and dresses. Experiment with scarves secured using a large brooch or corsage, add a second ribbon layer to the neckline or try a really feminine camisole underneath.

Step out of your style 'comfort zone'

When you are in a changing room, have some fun: take in a couple of items in that you wouldn’t normally wear, the bolder the better! You might be pleasantly surprised or at worst have a good laugh. You need to find out what works for you.

Celebrate your style! The main thing to remember is that this isn’t about hiding yourself away or being ashamed, it is about raising your self-image by whatever means you find best. Along the way, I have learned lots of tricks with clothing and also picked up knowledge via the experiences of friends.

This was my inspiration for the Jane’s Place: somewhere where we could go, swap tips, just enjoy fashion and forget about hospital appointments, check-ups, treatment and specialist clothing for a while. Just to be like everyone else – but much better dressed, of course!

Thanks so much to Jane for sharing her own story and wonderful tips with us! You can follow Jane on Facebook and Twitter!

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