Week 16: Decoration and Detailing

This week I focused on two of my Basic tips for dressing flat: Decoration and Detailing.

When I was looking for advice on what would suit me post-mastectomy in 2015 all I found was the handy tip to wear dark baggy tops to ‘disguise’ my chest. But I’m proud of my chest, so I decorate it!

Frills and ruffles add decoration, volume, and movement to flatness. I also find they fall better on my chest now I don’t have breasts! If you’ve had a single mastectomy and you are looking for ways to blend your flat side with your breast then look out for asymmetrical detailing and decoration

If you worry about drawing attention to your flatness, you may find that wearing a bold print does the opposite as the eye is drawn to the design, rather than the shape of the clothing.

To decorate your flatness look out for appliqués designs such as embroidery, sequins, gems, and beading

Logos and slogans on your chest can either add decoration, or you can use your flatness as a canvas.

Breast pockets add volume, and when they aren’t matched up they add the illusion of depth and nicely break up the pattern.

The best advice I can give: wear clothes that make you smile when you put them on. The truth is, it doesn’t matter what you look like. It matters how you feel about yourself. Feeling comfortable and confident matter. So, choose colours, patterns, and designs that make you smile.

All of my advice for dressing flat is available in the Flat Friends patient information booklet ‘Living without reconstruction’ – available from all good breast care teams, as well as in digital format on the Flat Friends website in their Resources section.

You can donate to my #Outflat fundraising campaign for Flat Friens UK at Virgin MoneyGiving

Week 17: Shape and Fabric

This week I focused on two more of my Basic tips for dressing flat: Shape and Fabric.

The undeniable thing is every woman living without reconstruction after mastectomy will look good in a Bardot top – and they are a mainstay on the high street.

Bardot necklines (named after Brigitte Bardot’s signature look) are easy to wear day through to night and can be dressed up or down. I tend to go for those with elasticated, gathered necklines as this gives you the option to wear them both on or off the shoulder. Wearing on the shoulder allows more fabric to fall over your chest, wear as wearing off the shoulder will add width across the chest. I usually go a size up so they sit comfortably off the shoulder and don’t ‘ping’ up as soon as I move my arms! Off-the-shoulder styles are great for making shoulders the new cleavage.

Wrapover tops, especially over a contrasting vest top create the illusion of depth and shape. As a double-flattie the two panels hang loosely over my chest. On a single-flat chest the separate panels will fit both sides well. If you wear one or two breast forms the panels mean any asymmetry is less noticeable.

Volume and shape can be created with wide boatnecks, short batwing sleeves and nipped in waistbands.

Gathers at the shoulders and neckline create volume down over the chest. Gathered waists – either pleated or elasticated – create gathers up towards the chest area.

An A-line shape is great for skimming over any difference in size between your chest and tummy.

My tip for those living flat after single mastectomy is to look for asymmetrical designs. An asymmetrical hem would flatter a single-flat chest as it celebrates asymmetry and draws the eye around.

Layering a bold colour over a darker one creates the illusion of depth, and teamed with dark bottoms can make you look wider at the top.

V-necks can be daunting on a flat chest. They can hang low as they are designed to be lifted by a cleavage, and in doing so may reveal edges of scars. V-necks also mean leaning forward can give people a clear view of your belly button! How deep of a V you want is personal choice. If you want a V-neck without any risk of gaping try wearing a contrasting vest or crop top underneath, or sewing a piece of fabric in the base of the V.

A cape feature adds volume, width and movement across the chest and shoulders. In doing so it also creates the illusion of an hourglass silhouette.

Chiffon fabric hangs well and creates movement as it’s light and floaty.

Jersey is lightweight and casual, yet can be used to create drapes and volume. Jersey is often used for cowl necklines as it hangs well when gathered.

Viscose is a man made from plant based materials, meaning it has some of the breathable qualities of natural fabrics such as cotton. Viscose fabric has a good weight so falls and drapes well. Viscose crepe (with a crimped appearance) is light and floaty.

Week 18: Accessories

This week I focused on my dressing flat tip: Accessories.

Scarves are a quick, cheap, and easy way to add volume and decoration. Perfect for experimenting with bold prints and brightening up plainer outfits. Scarves aren’t just great for adding volume; worn higher up around the neck with the addition of a bold colour or pattern they draw attention and add decoration. You can experiment with layering decoration by mixing different patterns (like this week’s monochrome print shirt to compliment the black and white animal print).
Look out for infinity scarves which I find easier to wear as they don’t slip out of place; and try adding interest with lacy fabrics or the addition of pom-poms and tassels!

It doesn’t have to be animal print trousers but wearing an eye catching colour or pattern on your bottom half takes the attention off your chest. I added bold earrings to draw the eye upwards.

If you don’t want to wear whole outfits in bold prints or colours, try a statement necklace to add decoration and catch the attention.

A couple of weeks ago I was saying how great kimono jackets are if you love dressing your flatness with layers and are looking for something to replaces your knits as the weather warms up. But I didn’t have one of my own…so thanks to eBay I have now added this beauty to my wardrobe.

Kimono jackets are usually patterned, so will brighten up a plain outfit and decorate your flatness. They are lightweight, and have wider sleeves making them a great option if you have lymphoedema.

I didn’t have any tattoos before breast cancer. I had my first small, line tattoo six months after finishing chemo. I had planned on having a large chest piece over my scars, but as time went on I decided that instead of tattooing over them I would add art around them. Each one represents someone or something important to me and are my favourite way to accessorise an outfit.