By MIKE CHAIKEN
The heat of Texas helped spark a wardrobe innovation that is comfortable for breast cancer survivors and nursing mothers.
The Brobe—a combination bra and robe—was inspired by the personal needs of Allison Schickle, who was promoting the Brobe at the Jacob K. Javitts Convention Center for the Curve NY Designer Lingerie and Swim Show, explained she lives in Texas.
And it’s hot in Texas.
So when she would get out of the shower, immediately she would begin to sweat. Since she’s bigger in the chest, she often would reach for a sports bra till the sweat subsided. The sports bra was a necessity since she didn’t want to sweat over her expensive bras.
After dealing with the problem for a while, Schickle said she set forth to find a combination bra and robe to resolve it. Since she knew she wasn’t alone with this problem, she figured it would be an easy find in some of her favorite boutiques..
However, although stores agreed that a combination robe and bra was a great idea– they knew of no one who actually made a bra and robe combination.
After five years of searching, Schickle said she explored the possibility of making and selling her own combination bra and robe.
In the meantime, Schickle said a friend suffered a double mastectomy. As part of the post-surgery recovery, she had two drains put in to remove the fluid that would build up. However, she said, the garments provided by the hospital for her friend were so drab and ugly.
The opportunity to help others and her friend, said Schickle, “lit this fire in me.”
She started to develop prototypes of a combination bra and robe that accommodate breast cancer patients.
The Brobe, which is what she dubbed it, includes a Velcro fastener in front, which is more comfortable for mastectomy patients. There are pockets sewn in over the chest to hold ice packs or a prosthetic breast. There are pockets sewn inside the Brobe to hold the drains for post-surgery. The sleeves are three-quarter length for easier access for IVs or injections. It’s also soft, made of cotton spandex, to provide more comfort for a patient who still may be sore after surgery.
Following the introduction of the Brobe for breast cancer patients, Schickle then developed a Brobe for nursing mothers. Many of the design features are similar to the original Brobe. However, the maternity Brobe offers additional breast support and pockets over the breast for cooling gels or ice for the nursing mother.
Right now, said Schickle, who is the CEO and founder of The Brobe, said garment is primarily available on the web at www.TheBrobe.com. However, an effort is on the way to get the Brobe into boutiques as well—hence Schickle’s attendance at Curve this month.