Cancer Fashion Forecast, Spring 2010

April 9, 2010 at 5:26 PM (Humor, style) (, , , , , , , )

After spending a few months immersing myself in the fashion trends for Spring 2010, I’ve noticed a bit of a difference between the way healthy people dress and the way cancer patients dress. And since I feel an obligation to my public to keep them well informed in this area, I give you:

 The Carcinista’s Cancer Fashion Forecast, Spring/Summer 2010.

Cargo pants: Where the well-dressed trendsetter this spring will run right out for a pair of slim, cropped, drawstring-hem “safari” pants to wear with platforms and a silk tank top, the cancer patient will find the cargo indispensable for chemo days when you’re too tired to carry a handbag. The drawstring waist accommodates fluctuating sizes due to carbo loading, and the pockets will hold seven different hospital IDs, your insurance card, your cell phone, sugarless gum, and Prilocaine cream for your port. Forget the silk top: drips from the IV could stain. Instead, layer up with the most recent walk-for-a-cure tee and a hoodie to keep the chill of the waiting room off the back of your naked neck.

Nautical style: Striped sailor pants might look great with a cute scoop-neck tee and wedges on your way to a cocktail party, but since standing up for two hours and making conversation is probably out of your reach, count on the wide-leg silhouette to cover persistent lymphedema and the fact that you’re wearing slippers to the pharmacy. [Side benefit: what’s more nautical than a pirate? Sport your ‘do-rag with confidence.]

Ruffles: Feminine details abound on the runways for S/S’10 – use them to your advantage! A cute top with an a-line shape will not only disguise the muffin top that has developed since you can’t catch your breath long enough to work out, but the soft detail around the neckline will remind the world that you’re still a girl, despite your lack of eyebrows, lashes, and hair. Not to mention disguising the scar left from your port insertion procedure six months ago that won’t heal due to your low blood counts.

Maxi-dresses: Still a hot silhouette from last summer, the maxi has it all for cancer chicks. Empire waistline holds up breast prostheses; a-line skirt to the floor hides everything else. Bare shoulders let your scorching skin breathe during hot flashes. Where else will you find a legitimate garment that’s more like a nightgown?

Wedges: A heel that even a weakened babe can adore, they’re easier to walk in than a pump but still give you an extra three inches of height (spread out those pounds!). Closed toes and heels on espadrilles camouflage your parched skin and the fact that it’s been over six months since your last pedicure. They’re not only the perfect excuse not to have to take the dog out (“Can’t walk on the lawn in these shoes. Sorry!”), they also double as weight-training on those days you really need to maximize every move.

Boyfriend jeans: See cargo pants. When your waistline is four different sizes in three months, don’t even try to pick a size. Rock the baggy-pants trend like you’re doing it on purpose.

Soft pastels: Delicate colors won’t overwhelm pale skin; sweet shell-pink flatters ghostly complexions of every color, and minimizes the effect of dark under-eye circles. Careful, though – too close to lavender and you risk calling attention to the IV-stick-attempt bruises on your forearms.

See, girls? You can still follow the trends, even from the comfort of your own barcalounger. And while you’re sitting still, it’ll be so much easier for your support team to admire how stylish you look. I think retail therapy should be a required co-therapy with the standard chemo stuff, don’t you?

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  1. sandhy said,

    yeah. right – thanks so much for making us all feel like we are totally horrendous. I love your posts, admire your wit, you are a brilliant writer – but sometimes I do wish I were near you, just so I could give you a good slap. Into reality [or not] – have you forgotten what it feels like to be in chemo? Have you forgotten that it totally obliterates your self esteem?
    I know this post is supposed to be funny – and yes, it is. Funny. To a point. Maybe it’s more amusing if you aren’t in chemo?
    Cancer Fashion Forecast? Fuck ‘cancer fashion’ – we are not surviving to be made fun of. We are not surviving for fashion – we are surviving to thrive. Thriving does not mean the latest Prada bag [although I wish it did] and it does not mean we should wear the latest trendy crap in order to feel good about ourselves…
    get a grip Fashionista….

    • sarahfeather said,

      I’m sorry if this post didn’t agree with you. I don’t mean to be forcing anyone to change their style or feel inadequate. I AM in treatment, and suffering from any number of the side effects mentioned in my post. I am not making fun of cancer patients, more trying to shine a little light into the dark spaces that we can squirrel ourselves away in from time to time. If fashion isn’t your way of climbing out of the pit, then go see a movie with a girlfriend. Have your neighbors over for a barbeque. For me, finding the energy to put myself together before leaving the house every day translates into positive energy that bleeds into the rest of my life.

  2. Anna said,

    Who is this drab lug that commented above? I think your fashion sense is superb and you have answered all of my cancer fashion questions in one quick simple post. I’m sure going to wear the latest trendy crap and I will feel good about myself now 60 lbs lighter due to treatment!! Thanks for the tip on cargos. I don’t like the gladiator sandal look so much but am inching toward giving them a try. Keep up your awesome posts.

  3. Cathy said,

    Get a grip— I think not! Reading your posts reminds me that there is still humor our there and that we can in fact THRIVE by looking good and in turn feeling good….. Carcinista- keep with the writing…. the wit- you are a survivor and lead the way for the rest of us.

  4. mynameisnotcancergirl said,

    Sarah, thank you for the laugh. I know that you are both a fashion writer and a cancer warrior, so I appreciate you bringing both of your areas of expertise to bear. I cannot wait to buy some cargo pants (in truth, I bought some yesterday, but they’re too small…ugh!).

    You have made me smile, and that’s been difficult these last days as I navigate the uncertainty that life post-chemo has brought. I find myself without ballast and horribly off kilter and crying a lot…so again, thank you.

    Keep up the good work, Carcinista!

  5. sandhy said,

    Anna – you’re right – I am [or at least feel like] a Drab Lug [what IS a lug?]. Usually I have a great sense of humour and normally have hysterics at Sarah’s posts. But I think it was the cargo pants…I HATE them! I used to jump out of bed into low slung skinny jeans and T’s. Now I sort of crawl out of bed, creaking, into baggy cargo’s [curse them] and tops. Big scars and weight gain after all the cancery crap have rather battered my self esteem.

    I had serious sense of humour failure here. Ugh. Sarah, don’t be sorry, it’s me that’s a grouch – you post what you like – I love your blog. I just hate cargos…as you probably noticed!

  6. Jennifer said,

    Love it, Sarah! Now I can finally shop for spring.

  7. WhiteStone said,

    Love your sense of humor on this one AND the excellent suggestions.

  8. Ann said,

    I speak for nobody but me, but I am surviving for fashion. What is life without the next wafer-thin sailor top? Is a life worth living if you can’t look good doing it? If your surgeon isn’t thinking “damn, she’s fine, I better take good care of her, then something has gone wrong.

    My scarves match my clothes and I stay away from purple eyeliner as it makes me look like my oncologist punched me. I appreciate these great tips and will pull last year’s maxi dress out of my closet. I bought it before my diagnosis and when I had breasts – it’s pretty low cut. I may have to work a tank with it or something. But I agree it’ll come in handy during a hot flash – all that material on the bottom waving around is sure to cool my girly parts and that’s what it’s all about.

    I went out last night and wore the most fabulous 4 inch black and silver heels. Major hotness. Anybody looking at those heels wouldn’t think “she just had chemo three days ago.”

    Hmmm…I feel a shopping trip coming on!

    Good post, I love it when you write about fashion. 🙂

  9. Anna said,

    Its OK, everyone deserves to have a grouchfest once in awhile – cargoes be damned. I can’t stand the uberhigh heels with straps all the way up to the calves. Sarah, how long are these horrible shoes going to be “in”?

  10. pateeta said,

    Hilarious! It got even more so when I looked down at what I was wearing: cropped, drawstring cargo pants with the pockets stuffed fulla crap (tissues, phone, chapstick, IPod, ATM card, ID, etc.), scoop neck tank (for easier port access), hoodie to keep yanking off and throwing back on for hot flashes/chills.

    I’m not a “pastel” girl, so shades of pink are OUT for me, and I prefer my beloved flip-flops to anything else on my feets- remember, they’re super cheap and can be uber cute so I have many, many pairs.

    I never thought about lavender bringing out your bruises and pallor. No wonder I look more sickly on some days! I wear a LOT of purple.

    Thanks for the laugh!

  11. Inspiring, Informative, Interesting, Vol. 2 « I Beat Cancer, You Can Too said,

    […] treatment, it’s hard to feel good about yourself and keep up with fashion trends. Sarah recommends a few Spring 2010 trends for women going through treatment and adds an appropriate touch of humor […]

  12. Crystal said,

    High-five to you, Sarah! As a woman also kicking ovarian cancer’s a** at this very moment I completely understand where you are coming from. I find many ways to keep myself positive, fearless, and uplifted as I go through this and one of those ways are looking my best. Everything is not for everybody, but heading to chemo-land dressed nicely and smelling good makes sitting in that chair for hours just a little bit better for me. Besides, before cancer I cared about how I looked, so why should I stop now? This is not to say that I don’t feel like crap sometimes because I do. But I work hard at not letting cancer run every area of my life. And it must be working because people tell me all the time, “You don’t look sick; I would have never known.”

    Thanks for the post and blessings to you. =)

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