On Beyond Cancer

My life with metastatic breast cancer

Cancer Couture January 5, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — onbeyondcancer @ 8:30 pm

I’ve been working on decluttering the house and one of my recent projects, my clothes closet, got me thinking how cancer has changed my wardrobe.  My sister was visiting for the holidays and helped me with a major closet cleanout.  We sorted through everything, taking out items that didn’t fit, I didn’t wear, or maybe shouldn’t be wearing.  I donated the old stuff to charity and picked out the few good items to pass on to a friend who is about my size.  We took the clothes that were left and matched together various outfits.  I took pictures of each combination and plan to print them and put them in a mini photo album for those mornings where my body is awake but my brain is still catching up.  Here’s an example of three outfits we put together with a new dress my mom got for  me… (my pictures aren’t great, but you get the idea)


Dec 003

Dec 001 Dec 002















I really recommend doing this with your own closet, especially if you’ve changed sizes or have some really old stuff.  The key is having a friend (or sister) who is honest and more stylish than you. 🙂  I realized that annual birthday shopping trips to my favorite boutique meant I had a great spring/summer wardrobe, but needed to add some more winter pieces.  Which of course led to a shopping trip, hehehe. 😉


Anyway, this process got me thinking about how I’ve adapted my wardrobe to my post-cancer life and body.  I stay away from anything too itchy or fussy and never buy anything that will need to be ironed.  Thanks to hand and foot syndrome, I only wear flats, mostly comfy ones like clogs or “pretty” Birkenstocks.  My other tricks are layering to manage hot flashes, using pocketed camisoles to accomodate prosthetics, and wearing loose sleeves for when my arm swells.  I also started wearing more skirts and dresses because they are just easier and more comfortable for me.  I’ve been following this blog to get ideas on mixing and matching.


My goal is to look put together from the outside, so that when I’m at a social event or at work, people see me – not a cancer patient.


10 Responses to “Cancer Couture”

  1. No one could ever see you as a cancer patient, your fabulous personality shines too much. And I’m loving the scarves and sweater layers. That’s been staples if my wardrobe as well, but that has more to do with the SF weather.

    Glad you spoiled yourself with new clothes!

  2. Aunt Amy Says:

    Karissa, you always look great!

  3. Margie Says:

    Dressing up seems to help when you don’t feel that good. Or super comfy clothes work too. Don’t forget a little make-up. And if you’re really talented, (not like me in this area) a nice looking hairstyle, even if it’s a ponytail. Love, Mom.

  4. Becca Says:

    This is one of those things that I’m probably not very in touch with. Though I like the title of Cancer Couture. Generally, Martha makes sure I don’t leave the house in an embarrassing look. I should have had my sister do the same thing for me. Guess i know what to ask her next time she is in town…

  5. Pam Says:

    Yes, I would love to have someone do this for me and I don’t even have a good excuse. There’s some mornings that you’re just so tired! My husband noted the other day that I’d taken to wearing one of my necklaces more often. I had to reply that, well, I wore it once and just haven’t taken it off since then!

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