A Whanganui boutique business is providing special care to women who have had a mastectomy and its owner wants more people to know about the importance of breast care.

Paula Wade has run Top Draw Lingerie Boutique since 2001, operating it alongside her beauty salon, The Edge Beauty Studio, which celebrates its 29th year this year.

Top Draw stocks lingerie, sleepwear, swimwear and hosiery but also offers a personalised breast care service.

Wade, who is a trained corsetiere, is also trained in mastectomy fitting and says this is a key part of her business.


People who have undergone a partial or full mastectomy, and/or a lumpectomy, have congenital needs, or have had reconstructive surgery are entitled to a Breast Prosthesis Service Payment from the Ministry of Health. The payment of $613.33 for a four-year period is to reduce the cost of purchasing breast prostheses and other related products.

"Women can use their Ministry of Health subsidy at Top Draw," Wade said.

"It's good for them to be able to buy locally. I'm able to dedicate my time to them and get them what they want and make sure it's the correct fitting. It can be quite an emotional and stressful time for ladies to go through with their breast care."

Wade is a keen supporter of women in the community and will again participate in La Fiesta which celebrates women in Whanganui.

In early March she is bringing surgeon Dr Katherine Gale from Auckland to talk about breast care. Gale, a specialist in breast oncology and reconstruction, will speak about preventative breast care and pre- and post- breast surgery care and options.

"It's for all women or men, not just women with breast cancer or who have had surgery," Wade said.

Cosmetic tattoo practitioner Monique Pedersen, who provides services at The Edge, will also speak at the event. Pedersen does micropigmentation tattooing and is a practitioner in breast care after reconstruction.

Let's Talk About Breast Care will be at 2pm-5pm on Saturday, March 9, at the Savage Club. The cost is $10.

Wade will host two other events during La Fiesta.

On Wednesday, March 6, Top Draw Tips will provide an update on the boutique's services and stock and information on how to correctly fit a bra.

"More than 80 per cent of women wear the wrong bra and don't know how it should sit," Wade said.

"We're one of the few specialist lingerie shops in the lower North Island and I have women who come from Palmerston North and Feilding for fittings. The other week I had a young woman from New Plymouth who came down specially for a maternity fitting.

"There's a really positive attitude from people from out of town. A lot of them come from places that just have malls and they love all our little boutique-y shops."

On Thursday, March 7, people are invited to meet the therapists at The Edge and hear about the salon's visiting doctor and the services available.

There are two sessions each day for the March 6 and 7 events: 10am-12 noon and 5.30pm-7.30pm. The cost is $5 per session.

People who would like to attend any of the three events should RSVP by March 1 to info@topdrawlingerie.co.nz