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Introducing AnaOno Intimates: Pretty and Empowering Post-Mastectomy Bras


The statistics are grim. One eight 8 US women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in her lifetime. In 2014 there were more than 2.8 million women in the US who had a history of breast cancer. This includes women currently being treated or who have finished treatment. So where are the bras for these women? Sadly, most post-mastectomy bras are grim as well. Despite the staggering statistics, and increased awareness campaigns, the lingerie industry has been slow to meet the needs of breast cancer survivors. Of the few brands that offer post-mastectomy bras, most options are very utilitarian, leaving women feeling stripped of their femininity.

Designing a well-fitting post-mastectomy bra is incredibly challenging. It's not as easy as inserting pockets into an existing bra style and calling it a day. While most women choose to forgo reconstructive surgery (and may benefit from a pocketed bra for breast prosthesis), nearly 42% of women do choose reconstruction surgeries following their mastectomies. These women's bra needs are specific and change depending on where she's at during the recovery process. And who better to understand those needs than someone who has been through her own journey of breast cancer diagnosis, mastectomy, and reconstruction?

AnaOno Intimates was launched in May, 2014, after founder Dana Donofree's personal experience left her feeling as though she had little options. Inspired by her own journey, she sought to help other survivors feel strong and confident throughout the entire reconstruction process. Dana's unique insight and passion for change led her to design a line of post-mastectomy bras that not only address the unique fit challenges of reconstruction but are actually pretty.

Reconstruction through implants or flap surgeries (where a section of skin, fat, and sometimes muscle are removed from one area of the body to the chest) mean there is not much natural tissue left in the breast. The reconstruction has been molded into a certain shape that is not pliable or movable like natural breast tissue. This means underwires are extremely difficult to fit and uncomfortable to wear. AnaOno wirefree bras account for the shape and roundedness of reconstruction with fabrics that have great stretch and recovery. Styles also have eliminated the apex gap normally built into bras to account for nipples (as most women forgo nipple-sparing surgery). Fabrics are soft and breathable to accommodate sensitive skin, and ease of mobility is factored into design as well. Once a woman has been cleared to stop wearing the medical-grade compression bra required after surgery, she may still have challenges lifting her arms above her head or moving them behind her back due to pain. AnaOno has designed a front closure bra specifically to address these mobility issues. Other bralette styles are designed to pull on easily over the head.

In a smart move, AnaOno has chosen to use breast cancer survivors as models on the site. This gives an authenticity and approachability to the brand that is so important, especially for the younger cancer survivor audience. These women are strong, beautiful, and empowered. Just what a cancer survivor needs to see so they can see it in themselves as well. I can't wait to see the campaign when their swimwear line is released next year!

There are six core bra styles, from lacy balconettes to plunge cuts to sports bras. While these are not pocketed styles, they do work with certain lightweight breast forms. Bras are sized from S-XL and now featuring matching panties.

AnaOno-003-Sandi-Ivory-Front-Closure-Bra AnaOno-003-Sandi-Black-Front-Closure-Bra AnaOno-002-Ivory-Wireless-Bra AnaOno-001-Ale-DustyRose-Bralette AnaOno-001-Ale-Black-Bralette AnaOno-004-Mustard-Bamboo-Sport-Bra AnaOno-004-Black-Bamboo-Sport-Bra-Black AnaOno-004-Black-Bamboo-Sport-Bra-Back AnaOno-005-Ivory-Lace-Racerback-Bra AnaOno-005-Black-Lace-Racerback-Bra AnaOno-005-Hot-Pink-Lace-Bralette AnaOno_theJill_Reconstruction_Bralette_back_2

What do you think of AnaOno Intimates? If you are a breast cancer survivor, what challenges did you face post surgery? Also, what would you like to see lingerie companies doing to meet the needs of post-mastectomy women?

Laurie Shapiro

Laurie Shapiro is the former owner and designer of the luxury lingerie label, Toad Lillie. Based in Seattle, WA, she now helps lingerie businesses engage their customers through brand communications and social media.

10 Comments on this post

  1. Laurie says:

    I’d like to see these pretty bras in larger band sizes. For comforts sake, I’ve had to wear a band size bigger which puts me out of the range of most of these bras. Also need a more generous and adjustable strap length. As a tall women, too short straps cause the bras to ride too high cutting into sensitive under breast tissue. These bras are so do pretty – I’m envious of those that can wear them.

  2. Joyce says:

    I had a radical mastectomy in 1989 and so I have one youthful left breast and the right breast had dropped over the years. I can not get it even so I feel very conscientious when I wear tops. I like the soft look and now wear an over the head bra which is so comfortable without any hooks. I am about a size 38c and have tried on too many bras that don’t work and now have a draw full of them too. I have tried inserts that slip in my bras but the right side still droops. Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated

  3. Dee anne says:

    I am a 3 year survivor. I had bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction immediately following my mastectomy. I have struggled for the past 11/2 years to find a bra that comes close to being comfortable. I was told custom bras would be covered by insurance however I have been unable to locate anyplace who would fit me or take insurance to cover cost of bras. Any suggestions???

    • Cora says:

      Hi Dee,

      Unfortunately, we’re not qualified or equipped to handle insurance concerns here. I know many survivors find post-mastectomy bras at Nordstrom, but, again, we can’t provide any advice or recommendations when it comes to what your insurance company may or may not cover.

      Best of luck,

  4. Barbara Jean LaRoch says:

    Hi, I have a large tumor under my right arm that sits right where “back fat” pushes up out of a bra side. Do you have any bras you recommend that would hide this tumor as it looks like “back fat/under arm fat”. It is not malignant so it is not going to be cut out. Thank you.

  5. Lorraine says:

    I love your underwear however it’s all sold out. I have recently had to have a mastectomy with immediate reconstruction, and am now ready to stop wearing post surgery bras but can’t wear my old ones and what’s on offer on the market is awful. As a younger woman I still want to wear pretty sexy underwear. Also a lot of the models used are obviously not post mastectomy women which is hard to look at.

  6. Natasha says:

    I haven’t seen these in person, but as a fitter and someone who is maybe going into genetic counselling next year, I think this range looks fantastic. It certainly addresses a need that has been in the market for a very long time now! It looks as if they have a great range.

  7. Thursday says:

    Post-surgery bras almost always come up when I search for my own size, so I have seen for myself how few nice options are available. These are lovely so it’s great to see the market expand. I am tempted to try some of these myself…

  8. Kimberly says:

    I really wish this had been posted before I had my surgery and I had time to buy some from them. While I did not have a mastectomy, I had a massive breast reduction and it’s been a huge struggle to find post-surgery bras that are comfortable and work with the pain and sensitivity. The post surgery bra was extremely uncomfortable and I was allowed to wear others right away as long as they had no underwire and gave light support and at least some compression. I would like to see some more options for front closure styles for post-surgery though and wider straps would be nice on those. I’d also like to see less designs that have to go over the head, I know it will be awhile before I’m able to do that. Plus my doctors have told me to wear the more post-surgery type stuff for 6 months to possibly a year, so that’s a long time to wear one design.

    • Dana says:

      Hey Kimberly, you are absolutely right and I couldn’t agree more! I hope you are healing well and will focusing on more front closures as well, cause even after surgery, some women with radiation and lymph node removal are often challenged with mobility! Thanks for your feedback! We are going to keep trying to find new designs with comfort and fashion in mind! Thanks for the feedback! Xo

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