We had a studio visit from Karen Dobres, one half of the bra-free fashion duo that makes up Loose Debra.
Karen (Co-founder and Chief Freedom Fighter), and Jane Anderson (Co-founder and - Self-Appointed Arbiter of Taste) are sisters and bra-free advocates. They are the creators of Loose Debra: a website offering edited bra-free fashion and thoughtful, inspiring blog posts for small breasted or flat chested women. They both are on a mission to enable ladies to make informed choices to go bra-free.
In their words:
We are sisters, and we do this, because with breast cancer, double mastectomy and small-breastedness in the family, we feel it's healthier to let our lymph flow free, and that bras are a social construct that not every body needs.
Loose Debra is an ever evolving catalogues of tops/dresses you can easily wear without a bra because ...FREEDOM DOESN'T HAVE A STRAPLINE.’’
Too often after a breast cancer diagnosis, women with mastectomy struggle with finding what to wear. Loose Debra is an accessible resource for women who choose not to have reconstruction after mastectomy, instead choosing to stay 'flat and fabulous. Their website offers a curated shopping list of beautiful bra-free tops and dresses, to suitable tastes, from designer to high street fashion. Loose Debra is also a perfect resource for women looking for fashion during breast reconstruction.
Breast reconstruction is a tricky time when women may need to cope with dressing challenges, like living with different sized breasts, known as breast asymmetry.For example, during implant reconstruction, women have temporary breast implants, which are inflated with saline over a period of months to create a new breast shape.
As breast reconstruction is not a quick fix, these challenges can last for months or years.
This is where Loose Debra steps in. Karen and Jane show that by using clothing, like wearing tops which have ruffles, pleating and draping, women can utilise these stylish looks to conceal and still look amazing. Whilst looking at the site, Karen and I both became animated, as this is something that is important to my mastectomy swimwear designing process!
She skillfully pointed out that even though Clover Lewis Swimwear is post surgery swimwear to wear after mastectomy, all of our mastectomy bikinis and post surgery swimsuits can be worn if you are small-chested too.
We had a great afternoon, and also got round to sharing why I started making swimwear, too, which Karen cleverly worked into a terrific post, which you can read below. Thanks for your visit, Loose Debra!
About Clover, Creator of Clover Lewis Swimwear
Clover started designing mastectomy swimsuits and bikinis after struggling to find a stylish, beautiful post-surgery bikini to wear on her first holiday after a press cancer diagnosis. The holiday? A trip to Bali to overcome her fears by learning how to scuba-dive.
She made her first mastectomy bikini, got her PADI diving certificate wearing it, at that moment personally realised the connections between body image, clothing confidence for women with breast cancer.
So despite the expectation to carry on with “life as normal” after cancer, this experience had a profound effect on Clover. It became the fuel for her mission creating beautiful swimwear for women to feel good about their bodies so they can swim again.
Through Clover Lewis Swimwear, Clover helps women feel body confident… and feel like they belong on a beach.