Statement Necklaces

One of the items that I inherited from my mother after she died was her jewelry box. When I was a kid, I would periodically go through her jewelry box and admire her necklaces and earrings. I’d lightly touch them and feel a mother-daughter bond. These were items that my mother wore, and now they were mine. I could put them on and feel a piece of her with me.

In recent years, I have grown a collection of statement necklaces, thanks to second-hand stores, thrift shops and clearance rack. I probably haven’t paid full price for a necklace in…. forever?

Whenever I add something new to my collection (aka my Nieces are never inheriting actual money from me), I feel joy. It makes me feel giddy. While I’m not the girliest of girls, I love necklaces like I love chocolate. Ever since my double-mastectomy in 2012, I gravitate toward clothes that hide my scars and pretty much the work of Dr. Heckler.

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I bought this yellow necklace from a clearance rack. I like to wear it with solid color shirts or in this case, a black and white striped shirt. Instead of wearing clothes that hide my mastectomy and discourage people from looking at my chest, I’ll wear clothes that hide my mastectomy but encourage people to check out my upper half.

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I bought this Kate Spade necklace from Style Encore. I was drawn to two things on this necklace: it’s shiny and blue is my favorite color! Additionally, the shiny ball spins around, so it’s almost like a fidget spinner for adults. I love wearing this one with long sweaters, as it makes me feel so fancy.

Instead of hiding completely, I can play up what I like about myself and still camouflage what I don’t. I go out with confidence and some swagger to my step. I wonder if this is how my mom felt when she wore her costume jewelry.

Better Late than Never, huh?

When I was in my 20s, I didn't care much for fashion. My self-esteem was pretty much non-existent in my teens and 20s, and boy oh boy, did it show. I dressed like I wanted to hide my body, which is because I wanted to hide.  My idea of fashion consisted mostly of jeans and novelty T-shirts, and whenever I "dressed up," I would wear a dress which probably showed too much cleavage. I didn't know who I was, and my clothing reflected that. In my teens, I wore ill-fitting pants and shirts two sizes too big.

I'm 18 years old. There's a body hiding under all of those clothes.

I'm 18 years old. There's a body hiding under all of those clothes.

I didn't start becoming interested in fashion until all of my hair fell out due to chemotherapy, and I felt like everyone was staring at me with pity. I felt determined if people were going to stare at me, I would make it worth their while and look my best. I have spent most of my 30s actually becoming interested in clothing and fashion. 

My relationship with clothes and fashion changed after I had a double mastectomy 2012. I have never been pleased with my reconstruction, so I had to modify how I dressed. I get super self-conscious when I feel like my scars on full display, so I do whatever I can to hide that... all while looking fantastic. 

I love statement necklaces like you cannot believe.  I'm not even exaggerating - I am slightly obsessed with my collection of statement necklaces, aka costume jewelry. The pictures above don't even come close to representing all that is in my collection.  None of these pieces are what anyone would call... valuable, but they are to me. 

Onto the clothing you see at top, I have been on the fence for the first shirt because of the poofy sleeves. I own quite a bit of black shirts, which has basically become my go-to after my double-mastectomy.  Since I am a very pale lady, black works the best for my skin. More importantly, you cannot really see my reconstructed chest at all.

The second picture, I am absolutely in love with this blouse. It's incredibly soft and comfortable, and I like pairing it with a large, solid statement necklace to really give it interest. The third pictures - it's a typical work outfit for me: conservative top and Ann Taylor slacks. As soon as I put on the necklace, I went, "Yep, that's it." It went from a boring conservative outfit to a conservative outfit with a little bit of flair.

The last picture, my stars, I love this $40 dress from H&M. It looks like it came straight from the 50s, and I absolutely love it. This is the type of style I gravitate toward, and I feel the most sexy and confident wearing.

The current trends in fashion right now make me want to roll my eyes so hard that I fear they will get permanently stuck, but I'm crossing my fingers the "Mad Men" trend comes back soon. Please please, come back soon. As someone who has had a double mastectomy and someone approaching middle age on the express trend, I want to burn every sheer top until I never see them again.

Even though I had to completely change how I dressed, truth be told, I am happy with how far I have come since my jeans and novelty t-shirt days. I feel much more confident and happy in how I feel and look. Maybe it's getting older, or maybe it's learning to accept this new-ish body of mine and working with it, not against it, but I'm okay with how I present myself.

My self-esteem was the biggest obstacle for me when it came to dressing myself, and much to my surprise, my double mastectomy was just an obstacle... one that I have seemingly (I think) overcome.