It is often the first thought when an invitation lands on your doormat: What will I wear?! So, I have applied the Flatter Fashion Tips to finding gorgeous outfits which are perfect for any wedding, christening or garden party so that you can RSVP in style!
You are looking for gathering, pleats, frills, bold patterns and decoration. Avoid darts and princess seams (the curved seam that runs from the waist up towards the shoulder) – however as with all rules there are exceptions: if the fabric is light enough or the decoration bold enough darts and seams won’t affect how a top or dress hangs on a flat chest (see the No1 Jenny Packham dress below as an example).
I visited two department stores and several high street names to show that you don’t need to travel far, nor spend a fortune to find an outfit that will make you feel confident at your special ‘do’. I have added the links to the stores’ websites and item details if I know them; but really this blog is to give you ideas of what to look for, I don’t want to take the fun out of spending time finding the perfect dress for you! (And yes, you will try on things that don’t work or don’t suit you…but that happens whatever your bodyshape so don’t let it deter you!)
Headscarves: Models own! The chemo curl has arrived so I am really into headbands and scarves at the moment: the pink bird scarf is from Peacocks, and the red and blue headband is from Primark. If your looking for headwear for a special occasion then I found loads of gorgeous scarves in charity shops during chemo, but Suburban Turban also do a nice range of pretty hats and scarves.
Shoes: grabbed off the shelf as I walked to the changing room.
First up is Monsoon:
The pink jacket is called ‘Victoria’ and goes with lots of Monsoon’s dresses. It also has no darts so hangs perfectly on a flat chest.
Camilla Print Jersey Maxi Dress
Jersey hangs beautifully, and with the gathered halterneck and waistband the pleats add lots of movement. The bold print adds depth and decoration. Baring your shoulders (or legs) is also a great way to draw attention away from your chest if you are feeling self conscious.
Tiger Lily Dress:
Lovely floaty material with pleated neckline and bubble hem waist. Pretty pattern below the chest creates the illusion of a shadow.
The chiffon fabric means that the bust creates gentle pleats, plus there’s lots of delicate beading to decorate the neckline and waistband.
A gorgeous vivid pink A-Line dress which skims off the chest.
Pretty lace detail across the chest with capped sleeves to add width and a floaty A-Line skirt.
Erin Embroidered Maxi Dress and Claudia Cloud Jacket
I found this in the beachwear section and fell in love with sequined bodice, but this cheesecloth beach dress can soon be glammed up with a fancy jacket. I love it because it really shows off my flat chest!
Melinda Stripe Maxi Dress
Again, another dress that lays very flat on your chest, but the stripes create the illusion of a bodice. The V-neck is quite low but you could add a statement necklace or infinity scarf if you wanted to.
Micro Pleat Midi Dress:
My photo doesn’t do this dress justice; but as the name suggests there are delicate pleats from the yoke to the hem so it floats out beautifully from the neck. The armholes are quite deep so you could just see the ends of my scars.
Pleated Belted Dress.
Similar to the dress above, but with slightly more defined pleats and a Grecian/Roman-style bodice which adds width across the chest.
Bardot Ruffle Dress
The name of this loose shift dress says it all! Bardot + Ruffle=Flattering. Lovely chambray cotton makes this a lovely relaxed, cool dress. This would also work really well if you are unilaterally flat.
Zip Through Midi Dress
I love this! Really light cotton, with pleated neckline and gathered waist. Throw on statement earrings and a wide-brimmed hat and youe done!
I picked up a navy pashmina scarf on my way into the changing room – have a look here for ideas on how to tie scarves to decorate your chest.
All three of these dresses work well on a flat chest because they have pleats, gatherered necklines and waist, and bold patterns. Phase Eight have dozens of dresses like these in different colours and patterns (so many that I couldn’t find the name of these three!) so I definitely recommend looking here for the perfect dress.
Hobbs ‘Marnie’ dress – very similar to Phase Eight: floaty fabric, bold pattern and lots of draping!
‘Nicolette’ Print Dress
Mint Velvet do lots of flat friendly tops and dresses because clothes are quite unstructured. Pricey but lovely!
‘Lydia’ Bow Crepe Dress
This floaty A-Line dress looks great on a flat chest, and would work really well if you are flat on your right side.
Havanna Stripe Trousers and Irkime Bardot Top
Flowing top with gathered waistband teamed with statement trousers.
‘Penita’ Jersey Dress
This dress fits where it touches (as my Mum would say), but the ruching all the way down the front means that it doesn’t look clingy. The asymmetrical neckline, ruching, and bold colour make this a really eye-catching dress (and I think is proof that if you find the perfect dress that makes you feel confident no-one will notice that you are completely flat). If only I had somewhere to wear it!
Havanna Trousers and Tipped Tasha Top
This is a jersey top with a sheer overlay and bubble hem so it drapes really well. The contrast binding adds simple decoration across the chest.
Debut Pink Floral Bead Embellished Neckline Dress
The beading around the neckline is a lovely way to add decoration, the pleats and floral pattern both add movement to this floaty A-Line dress. Great for showing off your shoulders.
No1 Jenny Packham Silver ‘Amour’ Evening Dress
A very elegant dress with a sequined bodice that has darts from the waistband but it is only loosely structured underneath so it gathers above the waistband, rather than around the bust area, which makes it look like part of the design whilst also adding a little volume.
Jacques Vert at Debenhams
Jacques Vert Spot Dress
Draped neckline and gathered bodice adds volume.
Jacques Vert Spot Dress
Draped neckline and bodice again, but with detachable corsage which you could pin lower down if you wanted to add more decoration to one side of your chest.
Jacques Vert Clipped Spot Dress
Pretty fabric with generously draped neck and bodice
Frill Side Shift Dress
A great way to decorate a flat right side.
‘Pleat Stripe Dress’
Floaty fabric with a tie waist, teamed with a retro stripe print. The contrast piping across the yoke and the bold design around the sjirt adds lots of interest. I spotted the same style with a floral print called ‘Opium’ online too.
Cowl Neck Dress
This is a great dress – the cowl neck is always a winner on a flat or uni chest, and the lace skirt adds decoration and draws the eye.
Ivory Floral Split Back Blouse
…Or split front! Someone had put this top on the rail back-to-front so when I took it into the changing room I thought it was a wrap-front style, then I spotted the security tag and realised I had it on the wrong way round. But it works either way as you can see!
Unfortunately I can’t find this floral top on Wallis’ website; however they have a huge selection of tops and blouses with flattering layers, gathering and frills similar to this one.
Stripe Kimono Top
I love this retro design, it makes a nice change from plain Breton navy and white stripes and adds lots of depth and movement.
Navy Asymmetric Top
Lovely top if you’re happy going out flat but like clothes which skim over your tummy and hips. Through on a statement necklace or scarf for decoration.
Chiffon Maxi Dress
This has adjustable tie straps (so you can wear it high enough to cover any underarm scars), as well as an adjustable tie waist band. The wide stripe pattern mean this could work well on a uni chest too, especially as you can shift the fabric across to add more pleats on one side if you want to.
Sleeveless Maxi Dress
Fab pattern and gathered halterneck and waistband – great for showing off your shoulders!
My final piece of advice is if you like something then try it on! The key is to find an outfit that you feel comfortable and confident in. As Roald Dahl said:
If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.
So have good thoughts about yourself and Happy Shopping!