Erica Deligne is a breast cancer survivor. She’s also a stylist choosing her outfits to express a choice she takes pride in.
Deligne was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer in 2021 and had a double mastectomy. She decided against reconstructive surgery.
“Honestly, I feel better now without breasts than I did when I had breasts,” the influencer and stylist said. “You kind of learn what flatters your body."
“I knew for me having a foreign object in my body when I woke up was going to prevent me from feeling that normal state of being,” she added.
A Journal of American Medical Association study reports one in three women develop complications after breast reconstruction, and one in 20 reconstruction cases fail. Some complications include fluid buildup, blood clots and bleeding.
Deligne says there needs to be better education on the options for women.
“I was not presented [with] the option to go flat. I did my own research,” she said.
Now, she wants to change the narrative and inspire women to do what works best for them — and feel confident.
“Learning to create your own sex appeal without breasts is there, and I promise you will find your happy place,” she said.
For Deligne, what she wears matters, saying some clothes are just flattering with her new shape.
“This shirt has ruching in front, which helps add some volume to your chest area,” Deligne said. The more people embrace the look, she says, the more confident survivors will become.
AnaOno X Cancer Culture show during New York Fashion Week this year showcased models who chose to stay flat instead of getting reconstructive surgery. Deligne says it’s time flat-chested survivors are represented in fashion.
“There really isn’t anything tailored for flat women,” she said.
On social media, she connects with women considering going flat. After posting a picture topless, she received comments including: “Going flat very soon and feel empowered watching your journey” and “Thank you for bringing awareness and normalizing being flat & beautiful.”
“I’m just grateful, honestly, that I can be that light for them, because to me it was an easy decision, and if I can help other women make it an easy decision for them, then that is my whole purpose,” Deligne said.