Reporter's notebook; Fashion shows, and 'ugly' bras on the calendar

Monday, November 3, 2014

It’s that time of year again, when women’s health boutiques are as likely to take their wares to the catwalk as they are to the fitting room. 

In honor of Women’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, women’s health providers often participate in fashion shows, fundraisers and other promotions to spread awareness of the products they offer, and shed some light on an all-too serious subject, although, as provider Vicki Jones says, “We do fun stuff all the time.”

Passion for fashion

Jones reached out to local hospitals that are hosting fashion shows to ask, for the first time, if the Women’s Health Boutique (WHB) could participate, rather than simply buying a table as it usually does. Carefully chosen WHB customers will model swimsuits with cover-ups and some of the regular models will sport hats, scarves and wigs provided by the boutique.

“This lets people see the fashion side of post-mastectomy wear and it gives our customers a chance to step out and do something they never thought they would be asked to do,” said Jones. “They look at this as an opportunity to get the message out and help other women.”

Provider Casey Jones also has fashion on the agenda. The general manager of women’s health services at For Every Woman in Greenville, S.C., says the boutique will participate in a new local event called Pearls and Pumps.

“There will be different vendors set up, a pink carpet, silent auctions and lipstick and blow-dry bars,” she said. “We also participate in Fashion for the Cure, with local boutiques, where survivors are able to walk and show off different accessories.”

Ugly bras

On the flip side, Lehan Drugs has typically held an “ugly bra” contest, but this year, planned to switch it up to include bras that are decorated in fun and inspirational ways. The winner typically gets a discount on products.

“We hang them right up in the department,” said D.J. Larson, vice president of sales and marketing for the DeKalb, Ill.-based provider. “It’s pretty funny.”