Wardrobe Clear Out 3


I will be going back to work next week and looking in my wardrobe, wondering what to wear, will be made harder by not knowing which of my old faithful work outfits:
a) will still fit (after sitting around at home for a month)
b) are suitable for a flat chest (I used to be a 34D)

Below you will find photos of my work dresses (I work in an office), day dresses and tops. I have worn the tops with a work skirt but most of my work tops lead a double life and get worn at the weekends with jeans too. Sorry for the quality of some of them, it started snowing and went very dark half way through!

Some of my favourite dresses are now in a bag ready to go to the charity shop, some are back in the wardrobe waiting for Monday morning. If there are ‘tips’ for finding dresses which suit a flat chest, I am yet to figure them out so that they are foolproof. But, from the few detailed below, gathered/elasticated waists add movement and shape without leaving the gaping empty space often created by darts and structured bodices.

This task has proven to me that lots of things will fit me, I just don’t know what they are yet!

Office Dresses

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One of my best charity shop finds. This black Oasis dress (pictured above) is a heavy material with a pleated neckline and darts from the waist, which, when combined, create empty bust space.
Verdict: Charity Shop

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Pictured above is my Mad Men dress from my La Redoute catalogue. It’s 100% polyester and quite heavy material with darts from the waist and the side seam creating empty bust space.
Verdict: Charity Shop

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The dress I bought for my job interview a little over a year ago (pictured above). A brown Polyester/Viscose mix dress from Tu (Sainsburys) which has a matching jacket. Again, a pleated neckline combined with darts from the waist create an empty bust area.
Verdict: Charity Shop

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Another great charity shop find pictured above (unfortunately only a month before I was diagnosed, so it only got worn once!). A yellow 97% cotton dress from Next with darts from the side seam which created a pointy Madonna bust space as well as a gaping back.
Verdict: Charity Shop

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A BHS Polyester/Viscose pinstripe dress (pictured above) which I have had for years. It has bodice shaping seams from the waist up to the arms which didn’t look too bad from the front but from the side view you can see the large gape around the back.
Verdict: Charity Shop

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One of my favourite go-to dresses above; a brown check La Redoute polyester/viscose dress which unfortunately has the same bodice seams from the waist up to the arms that the BHS dress has. Again, it looked ok from the front but had a large gape at the back.
Verdict: Charity Shop

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The above blue and black polyester F&F (Tesco) dress would probably need to go the charity shop regardless of the bodice seams, which leave a pronounced empty space, as it barely fits around my stomach and hips anymore!
Verdict: Charity Shop

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Another dress, from La Redoute in a heavy cotton fabric, that has bodice seams which create a void (above).
Verdict: Charity Shop

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But, before we assume that all dresses with bodice seams will not work on a flat chest, take a look at the Warehouse linen dress (charity shop find!) above. The bodice seams on this dress did not create a gape at the bust, nor around the back; they seemed to follow the curve of my rib cage. I really like the large bow detail on the neckline too, it’s not there to hide my chest it just adds decoration.
Verdict: Back in the wardrobe!

Ok, onto my other dresses; the dresses that go out at the weekend (and sometimes make an appearance at work when I am bloated and can not fit my tummy in an office dress!). Thanks possibly to their floaty material and less structured design this section is more successful…

Day Dresses

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This black cotton dress came from H&M a couple of summers ago. It has a plain, flat bodice with a gathered elasticated waistband. Other than possibly needing something like a necklace or scarf at the neck this still fits well.
Verdict: Wardrobe

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The green New Look polyester dress above had a pleated neckline, gathered elasticated waistline with a chiffon overlay skirt so it hangs really well and creates movement across my chest.
Verdict: Wardrobe

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My aztec New Look maternity (no, I just didn’t realise until I got it home!) satiny polyester dress,tunic top. I assumed that this dress (along with the one below) would be going to the charity shop as they both had an empire line when I wore them before, with the elasticated waistbands sitting just below my bust. However the satin material, gathered waist (which now naturally sit at a lower point on my torso), pleat at the neckline and the busy pattern means that this dress hangs well and suits a flat chest.

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I have had the above satiny polyester turquoise dress/tunic from M&Co for years and is perfect for ‘bloaty’ days! The gathered waist and type of fabric sit well on a flat chest. It does have a slightly low neckline so I might feel the need to layer a vest underneath this for when I lean forward.
Verdict: Wardrobe

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A wrap-over cotton daisy print dress from New Look (pictured above); despite the material falling well and the pattern adding decoration unfortunately the wrap-over cut can not be adjusted and just hangs loosely without any shape.
Verdict: Charity Shop

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Another dress from New Look; a cotton heart print dress with cut out detailing around the neck, decorative pattern and darts from the waist. Luckily the darts seem to add little shape to this dress (I recall this being a bit tight around my bosom) so it still fits and hangs well…I think it actually looks better now I don’t have a bosom!
Verdict: Wardrobe

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Unfortunately the pansy patterned dress above was also tight before I had my mastectomy…tight everywhere but mainly around my stomach. It is still tight, my Mum would say “it fits where it touches”, it sticks to my stomach but has nothing to stick to up top so the material now just looks redundant. I imagine if I had bought it in a larger size (for my tummy) it may have hung much better now. Even the gathered neckline can not save this one.
Verdict: Charity Shop

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I know the pattern may not be to everyone’s taste but this cotton shirt dress from La Redoute has darts from the side seam (a feature in my office dresses that saw each of them ending up in the charity bag) that don’t create empty space. My theory is that side darts combined with a gathered elasticated waist might work as it is a less structured shape.
Verdict: Wardrobe

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Lastly, my Topshop maxi dress (pictured above). The main issue for me is that the neckline hangs a lot lower than before. I think I have three choices: adjust the shoulder seam and shorten the straps, only wear it with scarves to cover up, or leave it as it is and get used to my new décolletage.
Verdict: Wardrobe

Day dresses, thanks to their less structured design, lend themselves to flat chests more than office dresses so only two are in the charity bag. Below are my tops of which none are going to the charity shop. Some follow the tips and have pleated or frilly necklines and patterned or floaty fabric but even those which are plainly cut, in a plain fabric are staying in my wardrobe. I don’t feel the need to disguise my flat chest so if it fits and I like it then I’m wearing it! Some even look better now I don’t have a bust or need to worry about what bra I can wear.

Tops

Better without a bra…

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The tops pictured above could only be worn if a strapless and/or nude bra wasn’t in the wash. The grey patterned top has been hanging in my wardrobe for about ten years and has been worn less than a handful of times because it has a racer type back and I never got on very well with strapless bras. Now I don’t need to worry about wearing anything underneath.

Better without a bust…

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I sometimes felt a bit ‘blousy’ in the tops pictured above when I had a bust. I think they look smarter/cleaner on my flat chest. Below are some of my tops which do not follow the tips; do not look any better now than they did before, and which definitely make me look flat chested. I am keeping them all anyway because I like them and feel comfortable wearing them and that’s all that matters!

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Clearing out my wardrobe was a cathartic process, even though I have had to get rid of some of my favourite items. I am now looking forward to opening the parcels which have arrived from La Redoute and Littlewoods and filling the space created in my wardrobe…

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