My next few updates will be from stores I do not go clothes shopping in. The new rule for me is Look Everywhere! When you chose not to have reconstruction after a mastectomy you can find nice clothes (contrary to what I was told by a Breast Care Nurse!) but you will need to cast your net, or shopping basket, a bit wider than before.
I don’t normally shop for clothes (other than knickers) in Marks and Spencer so didn’t know what to expect when I went in there just over a week ago. Mine isn’t a very large store but I still managed to spot a few things which, on their hangers, seemed suitable.
I was looking for anything:
– without bust darts
– without princess seams (curved seams running from the waistband up to the shoulder seam…can you tell that I’ve been watching the Sewing Bee?!)
– with detail across the bust such as pattern or breast pockets
– with a gathered waistband, as I have found out that this adds volume to my top half
I took three things into the changing room: a smart blouse for work; a casual top, and a versatile dress.
The blouse caught my eye because it had an interesting geometric pattern built into a combination of light and dark fabrics which created the illusion of a ‘shelf’ along the bust line. It looked quite large on the hanger so I tried on a size smaller than I actually am.
It fit well and I think the pattern works well on a flat chest. I could imagine wearing this for work with a pencil skirt or straight leg trousers, however the v-neck came down quite low which would mean I would need to wear a vest underneath as it would be very revealing if you leaned forward!
Verdict: Definitely worth trying on
The casual top below is made from a lovely soft silky jersey material so will be really comfortable against sensitive scars. I picked it up because I liked the pattern and it has breast pockets. Due to the soft fabric the pockets do not add a huge amount of depth and, like the blouse, the v-neck is reasonably low so I didn’t buy it.
However, looking back at the photos now I wonder if I should have…I really like the pattern, and I think it would look nice with shorts in the summer.
Verdict: I may have to go back and try it on again!
Lastly, a navy jersey dress which I thought would be suitable for work and going out. The main reason I picked it up was because it reminded me of a dress I gave away before I had my mastectomy (before I did my Wardrobe Clear Out, before I even had the idea for this blog, because it had a low cut empire line bust so I knew I would never wear it again).
The jersey fabric means it has no formal structure and the shape is added by the gathered area over the tummy. It felt comfortable on; added nice pleats to the bust area; disguises a tummy, and a has a nice neckline for a statement necklace.
Verdict: A great dress for a flat chest. (The only reason I didn’t buy it was because it also has a gathered area over the bottom, which didn’t really suit mine!)