Out With the Old
Melissa Berry of Cancer Fashionista shows us how a simple staple item can refresh your closet post-cancer treatment.

Photos by Nikoma Ortiz at En Oh Visuals

I’ve always loved fashion. It started with my Barbie doll obsession as a little girl, then progressed to fashion design classes in high school. It’s no surprise then that I became a fashion design and merchandising major at Marist College and later became a fashion and beauty publicist.

Then, breast cancer happened. Not only did it change me emotionally and physically, but it also forced me to take a fresh look at the way I dress myself. The wardrobe I once loved didn’t necessarily work for me anymore. Everyone is different. For me, my cup size changed. My breasts are actually slightly larger than before, so most of my tops and dresses just didn’t fit the same as they used to.

Bottom line? Once you’ve completed chemotherapy, surgery or both, I strongly recommend a closet overhaul. You may be saving things for sentimental reasons. Perhaps you’re hanging onto a few items that you simply can’t part with because they make you feel so comfortable. Or maybe they remind you of a great vacation or an incredible New Year’s Eve celebration.

Before my diagnosis, I was working in NYC as a beauty and fashion publicist. I was always dressed up in trendy and sophisticated pieces and I loved it! During treatment, I found myself wearing super comfy pieces which were also stylish, but a big departure from my publicist wardrobe.

Since many of us are spending so much time at home these days, it means we don’t necessarily have to get dressed up. However, there are ways to jazz up your outfit without sacrificing style or comfort. Post-treatment, I began to work from home. I made the conscious decision to build a wardrobe that mixed sophisticated pieces with very comfortable (but chic) basics. Today, I continue to mix things up.

The truth is that you don’t have to buy tons of new pieces to give your wardrobe a big refresh. Find a few staples that you can mix and match, dress up or down—and simply have fun with!

I’m so glad I found these amazing Commando vinyl joggers from my favorite shop, Mixology in Closter, New Jersey. To me, they are the perfect blend of comfort and style. You can easily dress them up or down, and they’re definitely pretty timeless. You know how versatile they are? Very! I was able to create three really fun, stylish, comfortable and very different looks.

All clothing available at Mixology, Closter and by visiting shopmixology.com

Ruffled printed sleeveless blouse by Robertson + Rodeo, $58; Black vintage handbag by Mark Cross; Black suede open toe pumps, her own


This ruffled top instantly brings a more polished look to the joggers. It’s such a simple but pretty top and can also be paired with jeans—the perfect way to update your Zoom meeting wardrobe!

Black faux leather joggers by Commando, $148; Grey “Rosa” fur jacket by Heartloom, $218; Black “Sirena” ribbed tank by Z Supply, $39; Black suede pumps, her own


This fur jacket adds just the right amount of glamour to these vinyl joggers.


Black faux leather joggers by Commando, $148; “Frayed” denim jacket by Hidden, $105; Kiss “Loving You” tour tee by Daydreamer, $87


This look is perfect for running errands on a Saturday afternoon and is a nice departure from yoga pants and a hoodie!


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