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How I Found My Personal Style After Breast Cancer

A cancer survivor shares how the disease fortified her fashion choices.
How I Found My Personal Style After Breast Cancer A cancer survivor shares how the disease fortified her fashion choices.

Ed's note: To advocate awareness for breast cancer this October, Preview talks to four women who have battled against it and won—one of them is Zacarias creative director Rita Nazareno. Below is her inspiring story on how she saw fashion as an escape from the deadly disease:

Rita shows off our custom printed #bandforbreastcancer scarf.

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Damn, I thought. I'm going to miss my boobs. They were pretty good boobs.

I was 38 when I first felt a lump, so I got my first mammogram ever, and it didn't show any malignancy, but the breast ultrasound showed a fuzzy tumor that looked like Oscar the Grouch's silhouette. I didn’t think there was anything to worry about, but the biopsy came back positive for invasive ductal carcinoma. It was stage 2B because the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes. I was told I had to have my right breast removed. Then I had eight tough sessions of chemo and my hair fell out. Two years later, in 2012, the left breast was shown to have microcalcifications, so I decided to have it removed as well.

"My style is slowly evolving to something more relaxed and more individual, and that is the result of age—dare say maturity?—rather than the illness."

I tend to favor more anti-fit, androgynous clothes, but that’s more an aesthetic choice as opposed to a result of the booblessness. I have never been one to wear what everyone wore—not because it was a conscious effort to be different, but only because the things I liked, not a lot of people did. My dad actually has a strong sense of what I like, strangely. When he is traveling with my mom, they come back with these fantastically odd, anti-fit clothes for me that I absolutely love. So I get a lot of my wardrobe from him. And from dotcomme by my friends Cecile [van Straten] and Patrice [Ramos-Diaz]. Has my fashion style changed because of my mastectomies? I think not. Except perhaps for the fact that I don’t wear anything that will reveal my cleavage, or lack thereof—not that I did before anyway.

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Read the rest of her story in this month's issue here. Also, join us on October 11 and post a photo with a bandana or scarf using the hashtag #bandforbreastcancer to promote the self-examination exam and breast cancer awareness.

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