This blog is dedicated to good friends. May we be them, know them, and always hold them close.
A year after the first lockdown and we are getting used to shopping again. I for one am out of practice; so, thank goodness for my Flat Friends…and supermarkets who make it easy to dress flat whilst doing your essential grocery shop!
First up is my beautiful friend Sally Anne in a red dress from Hush. Flat Friends have a saying, ‘In your pocket’. We say it to each other when we want someone to know that they are not alone; we are in their pocket ready to virtually squeeze their hand when they need support, strength or comfort. Sally Anne’s dress has pockets for those days, whilst being a fabulous colour to face any day in.
Next up is more proof that dungarees and pinafores should be a staple in every flat wardrobe. Tanya bought her new cropped denim dungaree from Fat Face, and Sarah bought her plum pinafore dress in the Trespass sale!
Tanya also shared this brilliant chevron top from Morrisons! Cool cotton, flattering V-Neck, and a pattern which creates the illusion of shape means it ticks all the boxes (and it’s a great price too!).
Pat found a great range of tops in Marks and Spencer. Pat says, “I was expecting to take it back but when I tried it on it fits well, no gaping round the armholes and the neck fits well too. Also comes in other colours.”
Gill calls this her ‘2021 Dress’. Gill says, “It is soft denim and has big wide sleeves and pockets, and the all important belt. No softie or prosthesis and the remainder is still an E cup but I don’t think you can tell.” Gill’s gorgeous dress is from M&S (and reminds me of the ‘buffet’ dresses they mad on Great British Sewin Bee this season…I need one!)
Another little find in M&S by Gill is this pretty floral dress also available in lemon which Gill says it fits well over a flat chest as well as a larger middle.
If there was an award for ‘Contributor of the Season’ it would probably have to go to Gill! Gill says, “Here are 4 dresses from Next Clearance section online…total cost £47.50! They are all floaty little numbers to suit my tummy and remaining breast. I’m mostly not convinced trainers are the right thing to wear with them but my daughter says they look cool!”
Mary found this great cotton blouse in Tesco! Mary says, “It is cotton and button through. Very comfy and works really well completely flat. Wear with or without a vest or t-shirt underneath.”. I love the gathered seams to add volume – and keep you cool when the warm weather finally arrives.
Janet has been spoiled for choice in Sainsburys! Janet was bought this lovely butterfly top by a friend; Janet says, “It is very soft and I love butterflies. I am wearing it without my prosthesis but it looks fine. I can recommend it!”. From butterflies to zebras with Janet’s t-shirt also from Sainsburys, which I absolutely love!
Janet found this lovely patterned cotton top at an Edinburgh Woollen Mills outlet. Janet says its flatters her ‘uniboob’ and tummy area. I love its smart pleats and long-line style!
Heather got this Mistral top online in a sale for only £10! Heather says, “It’s a heavy cheesecloth fabric, and lined. It sits really well, hides my concave areas, and flatter my upper arms and tummy.”. I love the perfectly placed decoration.
Whoever said ‘blue and green should never be seen’ needs to take a look at this gorgeous dress from M&Co! Caroline says, “It is available up to a size 24. It has no darts and I think it would suit uniboobers as well as double flat”. The lush tropical pattern is perfect for decorating flat.
If you are looking for a classic summer dress check out Susanna’s cotton dress from Weird Fish. Susanna says, “it totally works as a uniboober.”
Or go bold like Sarah! Sarah says, “I had my double mastectomy 10 days ago and have been browsing the internet whilst I heal for bargain new clothes to make me feel confident. First find (and not sure of it yet) £17 from H&M online, 100% cotton, only in this colour, elasticated top under the frills and adjustable spaghetti straps. Part of this oversized fashion thing that’s going on- it’s a size XS and really I’m a pear shaped 12. Definitely hides the belly.”
Sarah quite rightly says shopping for your new chest is ‘a learning curve’, but here’s another great find. This time Sarah is modelling a floaty strappy linen and viscose top from H&M. Sarah says, ” I have a few different colours and patters. I’ve sixed down one size to an XS. I have a vest on underneath at the moment because my scars are sore whilst they are healing. Vest is organic cotton from John Lewis and lots of different colours. I like them because they are high under my armpits so cover my scars completely.”
More great finds in H&M by Barbara … a smart sleeveless top in a light cotton which means that the darts won’t affect how it hangs on flat areas, and a knee length dress with pleats at the neck to create volume and movement.
Three weeks after her mastectomy Donna is modelling this fab geometric/floral pattern dress. Donna says, “Next have this dress in a few colours/patterns. Covers my scars and sits nice on the flat bit. And it goes over my tummy.”
May, found this gorgeous on trend tie-dye dress with shirring across the chest area. May says, “I love this dress, easy to wear flat and I’m sure would suit uniboobers too. Tesco, a snip at £16.”
Flat Friends Founder, Gilly bought these two tops from an independent shop local to where she lives. The clothing brand is ‘Anna Rose’. I love the beautiful lace/broderie anglaise decoration on the white top, and the delicate blue tie-dye pattern.
Gilly also found this pretty linen top in TK Maxx. Linen and cotton fabrics are great as they hang beautifully (darts shouldn’t affect the fit), and they will keep you cool if you are experiencing hot flushes.
Louise proves that you can have success shopping online with this great selection from Matalan. Louise says, “I ordered all of these from Matalan and the sizes range from 14 to 16. With having to sit down all of the time I have found it difficult to buy clothes, as they hang differently to when someone is standing up. However, after 6 years of being double flat I think I’ve finally found what styles and sizes fit me.” Great choices of jersey fabrics, ruffles, gathers and prints!
What do you wear on your first night out after lockdown and after mastectomy? Suzanne chose this sheer paisley top with shirred yoke, from Next. Perfect choice!
This tip needs sharing regularly… don’t assume that none of your pre-mastectomy clothes will fit you well anymore! Here is Kate wearing a pre-op top from New Look that still looks fab flat!
When it’s your birthday and you should be treated like a queen take Michele’s advice and choose a slogan tea and statement skirt!
Or go for statement animal print like Naomi! Naomi says, “I’ve been hunting for a dress to wear for my 40th later in the month, found this from John Lewis, the brand is Sosandar and its a lovely soft jersey material – its a keeper!”
Debbie also went for animal print for a birthday party. Debbie says, “Marks and Spencer came to my last minute rescue and I found this linen dress. It was comfy and light and cool and I was confident going out flat. This is a size 16.”
Monique celebrates the UK heatwave with this gorgeous orange off-the-shoulder top. Monique says, “It’s a lovely top from River Island which conceals my tummy.”
Naomi is loving her new denim playsuit from Hush. Naomi says, “It has just enough stretch to make it really comfortable and it looks great dressed up or down, could change the belt for a different one too.”
Helen bought this lovely top in Tesco. Helen says, “The v-neck isn’t too low and it has a tie belt to keep it in place. I am a uniboober (right mastectomy) and I am a 36DD. In one of the photos I’m wearing my Boost prosthesis and in one photo I’m not wearing a prosthesis at all – just a crop top. You can hardly tell the difference! I would be happy to go out without my prosthesis wearing this.”
Wendy says that H&M is a great place to go to find styles that flatter flat. Here she is modelling two recent purchases. A halterneck top and a full length sun dress.
Wendy got this Bardot top from JD Williams. Wendy says, “It’s floaty enough to cover the tummy”.
If you are looking for a fun slogan tee how about this? May says, “I was out in town wearing my t-shirt that says ‘BOOBLESS’ on it in a font like when you were at school and would write words on your calculator. A man pointed at it, chuckled and said ‘Love it, I’m of that era too’. As we walked on my hubby and I agreed that the man had totally failed to notice that I was indeed boobless! Just goes to show, most people don’t notice our flatness, even when it’s really obvious! Hope this gives some confidence…and a chuckle.”
This next tip is one I have not seen or heard before, but it makes great sense. Sonia says, “I have been struggling a bit wearing tight tops now it’s warm, my first summer as a total flattie. In principle, I’m all for it, but I do struggle a little when I’m out. So I came up with the idea of getting 2 metal pink ribbon pins and I wear one now with any tight top. And I cannot tell you what a difference it’s made!! I feel so much more relaxed and confident – and I have noticed a couple of people clocking it and making the connection. I’m not a huge fan of the pink ribbon thing, but it is a universal identifier for breast cancer so it works. And perhaps the whole thing about feeling better is in my head, but it works for me so thought I’d share it.”
As for me this season, I am mostly wearing a selection of high street jumpsuits all bought preloved on EBay.
Next up…swimwear and lingerie!
Top Tip from Tina: Cut out the foam pads and padding in your bikini, keeping the outer edges of foam in the cup to maintain some shape. Here’s one she made earlier using an old bikini!
And here is Tina modelling a leopard print crop top from M&S.
Teresa ordered this George at Asda swimsuit online. Teresa says, “Feels comfy and only £14!”. Who doesn;t love a frilly cozzie?!
Sea swimmer Alison gave her new Sainsburys swimsuit an outing. Alison says, “I don’t know how robust it will be but for a beach holiday it would be perfect.”
Another great swimwear tip from Alison, “I wanted to show this one as it is good for uniboober or double flatties. Ruffle hides any scar and distracts the eye and has a small pocket with slight padding which could take a shower scrunchie. It doesn’t ride up and is good to swim in. From SimplyBe and was around £9 in a sale.”
Judith has found that one empty bikini cup is an ideal place to stuff the halterneck strap!
And Tracey’s top tip is to tie your sarong on your ‘non-boob side’ to balance out with a single breast.
Alanna loves this lac trimmed body that she has it in more than one colour. Alanna says, “George at Asda have beautiful, no seams, no darts, no pads bodies and they are so comfy and feminine.”
Mary bought a couple of great camisole tops from Primark. Mary says, “I bought this and a pale blue with white spots today. By shortening the adjustable shoulder straps they ride up over my scars and look fine. They don’t cling, and have a double layer where breasts once were, thus hiding unevenness of scars.”
Jackie found some great cropped tops in Tesco. Jackie says, “I bought this packet of two cropped tops from Tesco and you don’t need softie or prosthesis in them. They don’t make you look massive, just a nice small size.”
And here is Alison modelling a similar style crop top from Amazon. Alison says, “It gives me enough support and comes in bright colours.”
Joanna has a great tip for anyone who wears a bra after a mastectomy without reconstruction. Joanna says, “Like many of you I have struggled with underwear as a uniboober. More often than not I’ll wear a crop top and no prosthetic. But this summer I want to wear more strappy things, so I need something prettier if it’s going to peek out. Also, after trying loads of fake boobs I’ve settled on a Boost Large to match my 38DD remainder. I couldn’t find anything strappy and pretty with a pocket, and my /boost moves around a lot in a crop top, so I decided to get creative.
I bought this bralette from Sainsbury’s Tu, Cut out the padding on my flat side and sewed in a piece of cotton fabric to stop the Boost peeking out up my cleavage.
Check back for more top seasonal tips soon! For more information about living flat check out the Flat Friends UK website