Stacy London is known for making over dull wardrobes on TLC’s What Not to Wear. But she’s also using her fashion prowess to help women with cancer get their confidence back.
“Cancer, particularly breast cancer, robs you of a certain amount of femininity and identity,” London said. “Style can reacquaint you with your body. It can help you feel comfortable and in control of that part of your life.”
London started working with the American Cancer Society’s Look Good Feel Better program in 2010. Workshops on hair loss, nail care, makeup and skin care have been staples of Look Good Feel Better since it launched in 1989. London wanted to go a step further. “I thought, there’s even more to do,” she said.
Through Style for Hire, London’s national network of personal stylists, a styling component was incorporated into the Look Good Feel Better workshops in 2011. Whether a woman is dealing with weight changes, skin tone changes, reconstructed breasts, or no breasts, women can find the right look.
“If you’ve had reconstruction for breast cancer, you now have these orbs on your chest. You may not feel like the person you were, feel fraudulent even. Finding the right clothes can help you come to terms with that,” said London, who features a breast cancer survivor in her new book, The Truth About Style.
Her goal is to help survivors see themselves in a new way and take style chances they may not have considered before cancer. For a tomboy, try on a dress. For polyester wearers, trade the scratchy fabric for soft fabrics like cashmere and cotton. Add color to a drab wardrobe with vibrant “jewel” tones like emerald, ruby, amethyst and teal.
But style isn’t just about how you look, London said. “[Style] bolsters your spirit. There’s power just in getting dressed every day and not staying in your pajamas.”
Even so, London sees the struggle women go through to emotionally recover from the physical changes. Her advice: Look in the mirror for a little while every day. “Let the anger, the sadness, the anxiety, the loss, the grief, let it all pass through you. Burn through it until you can start to feel a little more objective about what you see.”
Reviewed by: Members of the ACS Medical Content Staff
Watch the Look Good Feel Better virtual workshop, featuring Stacy London and What Not to Wear makeup artist Carmindy.
Get more style tips from Stacy London.