Shopping for a bathing suit can bring even the most confident woman to tears, so just imagine how that experience is magnified when shopping for swimwear after breast cancer. No matter what your body type, shopping for a bathing suits after cancer can seem daunting. Your body has changed and you might not be sure where to start. Try to make the shopping experience fun. Bring a friend and make it a day of pampering and fun. The more you can do to set yourself up for success the better.
Hate shopping in stores? Consider shopping online. Return and exchange policies are usually very flexible and with online shopping you can try items on in the comfort of your home.
As a breast cancer survivor, my body is not what is once was and the styles I used to gravitate toward no longer flatter my body. I have cried in many a fitting rooms starring at an unrecognizable figure before me. Over time, I forced myself to move away from the comparison to my old body. Just like with my hair, I took this as an opportunity to find new styles and try something different. It was through this new outlook that I was able find more confidence. I’ve learned creative ways to style one boob, two boobs, a prosthetics, expanders and now implants. I realized it’s not about changing my body, it’s about changing the look.
There are a couple of major lessons I have learned while hunting for swimwear after breast cancer.
Anything with underwire or hard formed cups is out
Comfortable fabric and design are a must
Patterns, ruffles and details help focus the attention away from a lopsided/uneven chest
Higher prices = better quality = more comfortable
Initially I felt very limited looking for swimwear specifically for mastectomy patients. After a lot of failed searches, I realized that many of the mainstream swimsuits meet all of the criteria above, you just have to do your research. Instead of limiting yourself to surgery specific swimwear, focus on the elements above along with her personal style and you’re bound to find something that works well for your new body. And if you’re overwhelmed by the hunt, do not worry, I have scoured the internet to bring you a ton of amazing options below.
For those of you who are looking for a swimsuit with pockets for a prosthetic do not fear. I have provided many pocketed options below (P). And for those of you looking to save money, take your favorite suit to the tailor and ask them to add a pocket for your prosthesis. I did this with some of my bras during my one boob stage and it was a lifesaver both in terms of comfort and finances
We are all at different stages of treatment and have varying body types, so not all of these styles will be perfect for everyone. I have grouped my recommendations into categories so you can easily find something that fits your particular style and body type. Flat, one boob, two boobs, expanders or implants… whatever your situation, I have you covered. I also included cover-ups and sunscreen recommendations to round out this summer shopping guide.
Check out all of the survivor-friendly swimsuits below and let me know which styles you like best. Remember, don’t try to change yourself for the swimsuit. Instead, keep hunting, try on multiple suits and eventually you will find a swimsuit that makes you feel fabulous!
- Target The high neck top on this adorable black crocheted bikini is perfect for those with expanders, implants or prothesis. The wide coverage helps disguise any unevenness and scarring, while the high neck creates a flattering shape and highlights the shoulders.
- Nordstrom This flouncy ruffled bikini top is perfect for those who are flat or at any stage of the reconstruction process. Without underwire, this suit will be comfortable on your tender skin, while still providing a flattering shape. I love the lace up detail as well and the added bonus of UPF 50 for sun protection.
- Anita (P) This mastectomy from Anita is underwire free and pocketed for those using a breast prosthesis. The design and shaped cups give the bust a flattering look without added discomfort. Check out the Anita website for even more pocketed styles.
- Target This stylish rash guard top with sporty bikini bottoms is perfect for those of you looking for more coverage and sun protection. This suit will work best for expanders, implants, and flat chested survivors.
- Body Glove Another sporty style for those looking for more coverage. I love the bright sleeves and geometric pattern.
- Athleta This simple tankini has the most stunning cutout back, while still providing great coverage on the chest. It can be paired with bikini bottoms or swim shorts.
- Athleta How adorable is this swim dress?! Great coverage and it’s fashionable. Perfect for lounging and swimming. Available in multiple colors/patterns. Perfect for this who are breastless and anyone going through recovery.
- Land’s End (P) is the longtime champion of comfortable mastectomy swimwear for every body type. They have a variety of options that work great for those in the flat crowd or those recovering from surgery. Many of their suits are pocketed and the band free wireless style also work well with expanders. The rash guard shown above is a favorite along with this tank swimsuit, which comes in a variety of colors and patterns to fit every style. They also have a wide range of sizes (regular, petite, long, plus & long plus).
- Avenue I am in LOVE with this suit. The mesh, the ruching, and the tummy-control fabric — you can’t go wrong with this classic style. The high neck and sweetheart neckline is perfect for those who are flat or anyone recovering or in transition. It covers while still flattering the chest. This suit is only available is sizes 14-32.
- Hapari Swimsuits without cups and/or tailoring on the top, like this super cute tropical tankini will be best for those of you with flat chests. This style will ensure there are not excess fabric and the suit will conform to chest. This simple tank cut also mean less seams and thus more comfort for those of you dealing with sensitive skin during recovery.
- Athleta This is my kind of bikini. It looks like PJ material, but it’s cute enough to rock at the beach or pool. This crop top style provides a little more coverage, while still being playful and stylish.
- Anita (P) This suit is another great option for all my flat ladies. This tank style is flattering on all body types and the bright blue poppy pattern is adorable! This suit is pocketed for those with prosthesis and it is made of Soft-Touch fabric perfect for sensitive skin.
Not everyone is a girlie girl like me, so I wanted to make sure to provide a whole section of swimsuits for those of you looking for the perfect casual, sporty look to fit your personality. These suits are great for all my active ladies.
- Outplay This awesome company offers a whole line of swimwear and sportswear for the tomboy in all of us. The best part is you can mix and match their items to find the perfect style for your body.
- Nike Want to feel like you threw on your favorite tank and a pair of briefs to go to the beach? Then this is the perfect suit for you. Made by Nike, you know it’s ready for whatever adventure you have planned.
- Lands End (P) Sporty, practical and comfortable, the Tugless tank suit from Land’s End checks all the boxes. Available in huge range of sizes, cup variations (included pocketed), and lengths, this suit will work for any body type at any stage of recovery.
I am obsessed with the off the shoulder/one shoulder trend. I find it super flattering and sexy. I love to show a little shoulder instead of that cleavage I miss. I am also loving ruffles on swimsuits because they add movement and dimension,while concealing the unevenness I am self-conscious about. The off the shoulder/strapless/one shoulder looks were never something I could pull off pre-cancer due to my large chest, so I am taking full advantage now. This style works best with fully healed expanders, implants or flat, but would not accommodate a prosthesis.
- J Crew Absolutely love the ruffles and polka dots pattern
- La Blanca My favorite swimsuit brand! SOOO comfortable and flattering fit
- ASOS Runs very small, size up at least 2 sizes
- Hulabelle Swimwear Founded by a fellow survivor and Stage IV Thriver
Looking for more coverage in the middle, but don’t like the feel of a one piece? Try a tankini.
- Macy’s I love the halter neck on this suit and the geometric pattern. Stay away from this one right after surgery though because it does have an elastic bust.
- Kohl’s This style with the high neck and empire waist lengthens the torso and has a slimming effect. It does have a built in bra, but no underwire, so it should be comfortable on tender skin. This suit comes in larger sizes, which is great for my curvy ladies.
- Talbots Who knew I would love a suit from Talbots. I am obsessed with gingham and the bows on the straps are just too cute. This suit is simple and chic at the same time. Full coverage, adjustable straps and slimming MiracleSuit material.
- Soma This sporty tankini is perfect for all my active ladies looking for a suit that will move with you. The scoop neck flatters the chest and shoulders, while still providing modest coverage. Pair with boy shorts for the perfect combo.
- Seafolly Mesh accents are a great way to add a fun flirtatious feel without feeling exposed. I absolutely love this cap sleeve mesh suit recommended by fellow survivor (Leave me Breastless)
Halter styles with the keyhole cutout are perfect for the expander stage. They provide a flattering fit with a hint of cleavage while still disguising any shape or position issues you might have with you rock hard mounds.
2. La Blanca I absolutely love the keyhole detail on this suit.
3. ASOS This marble plunge swimsuit with the halter neckline is unique and flattering. Size up.
You can’t go wrong with a black swimsuit. A one piece suit with mesh, cut outs or lace up is my idea of sexy these days. I found #2 and #4 at Marshalls last month and both worked well with my implants. I think these styles would work best for those with expanders or implants, but would not accommodate a a single mastectomy or prosthesis.
- Kohl Love the strapless style with the slimming mesh insert
- Similar style found at Neiman Marcus. Check your local Marshalls for exact suit
- Macy’s La Blanca takes the cake again with this adorable lace up one piece
- Macy’s The best part about this suit is that the straps are adjustable and can be worn criss-cross or off the shoulder. Check your local Marshalls for a major discount on this suit.
Finish off your summer swim look with the perfect cover up!
- TJ Maxx Throw on this tie dye cover-up for a fun day at the beach.
- TJ Maxx Flash a little back with this adorable ombre tassel cover-up.
- TJ Maxx This pineapple print cover-up can be worn alone or over a suit.
Don’t forget your SUNSCREEN!!! Protect your skin and look closely at the ingredients in all of your sunscreen and skincare products. All three of these sunscreens have great ratings by the Environmental Working Group and have very clean ingredient lists (EWG ratings 0-3 are ideal). You can also use the EWG search tool and Sunscreen Guide to learn more and review other brands/products.
- I discovered the Coola brand through a fellow blogger (Southern Curls & Pearls) last year while looking for natural/organic sunscreen alternatives. Be sure to check the EWG rating on other Coola products and scents, because they are not all rated the same.
- Alba Botanicals makes a lot of great natural beauty products and their sunscreen is another winner.
- Blue Lizard is a Australia brand that I discovered through my dermatologist. When I was going off all medications and switching to natural beauty in preparation for pregnancy (pre-cancer), this is the only sunscreen he was comfortable recommending.
I hope you found this exhaustive swimwear shopping guide helpful. For more ideas, check out my swimwear post from last summer. If you end up purchasing any of these items, share your thoughts on the My Cancer Chic Facebook page or on Instagram. I love hearing from you and getting feedback on which products work well.
This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using the links. This in no way impacts the products I have chosen to recommend or suggest. I only recommend products I have researched, use and love. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Small commissions such as those noted above help me maintain the blog, pay hosting fees, develop new content/resources, host giveaways and provide resources/support to young women facing breast cancer around the globe.