By Auburn Chason
For the Opelika
When Karen Stroud’s sister, Linda Kyle, was diagnosed with breast cancer, she remarked that there was nothing to wear that made her comfortable when she had to go for her chemotherapy treatments.
Kyle mentioned that there had never been anything created for women to make them feel beautiful during a time in her life in which she did all she could to stay healthy. Even chemotherapy-conscious shirts were just overpriced and less discreet T-shirts with added zippers or buttons.
Kyle asked her sister to design a shirt that would help her have a sense of normalcy during a difficult time, and Stroud did her one better. Stroud designed a shirt that was both feminine and and discreet. Stroud had only one goal.
“It needed to be feminine and help her feel pretty,” Stroud said.
So Stroud took to designing, and she put forth many ideas with only one that really stood out. Her shirt was a blouse, very detailed and feminine, with quality fabric and design, far from the less discreet shirts she had been seeing during her research. These blouses had perfect layers that supplied plenty of coverage for her sister. Only upon lifting the correct layer would the secret opening be uncovered.
“Based on my conversations with people who have been through chemo and medical personnel that work in the chemo field the response to these shirts has been extremely positive and expressed that there is definitely a need for this type garment,” Stroud said.
Kyle was so thankful something had come her way to make her feel like she was her again, and Stroud continued to design as she saw more women fighting the same war as her sister. Her shirts now come in four different designs, named for the four women for whom she originally designed the shirts: the Linda, the Joyce, the Diane and the Marilyn.
Stroud, through her brand called KLAS Fashions, created the KLASsy Chemo Porthole-Accessible Shirt and helped bring femininity back to women who were losing their own personal femininity through illness.
Stroud said all four of her designs are also named after survivors of breast cancer, some who have just recently ended treatment, some who have survived much longer, like the inspiration for the Marilyn, who is going on her eighteenth year as a survivor.
These women all come from different backgrounds, and Stroud knows them all differently, but they are linked by an illness that strikes so many so violently and robs them of their motivation and conviction to feel pretty, and Stroud believes her shirts can help, even if only a small amount.
“Hopefully this will help women who may feel that they have lost their femininity feel pretty while going through treatment,” Stroud said.
The shirts are made to order with the porthole on the preferred side of the customer and come in sizes small through extra-large in a variety of fabrics and designs. Inquiries can be made on Facebook at KLAS Fashions or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.