If you’ve got a flat chest, either that’s just the way you are or you’ve had a mastectomy and decided against reconstruction, you’ll have discovered that most women’s clothes are made for boobs, so what are the styles of clothes you can look for that will enhance your figure?
1. Extra Fabric Volume Over the Chest
This is one of the easiest things to look for in women’s clothing. Frequently you’ll find a frill or some extra fabric volume that’s designed to go over the bust area.
2. Low V Necklines
Lower necklines work well when you don’t have boobage that’s likely to fall out! In fact, it can look amazing on a flat chest having a deep low V shape (not at work OK, but out in the evening, it’s an option for you!).
3. Off-the-Shoulder Tops
You don’t need a bra, so any sort of top that is off the shoulder, one-shoulder or strapless could be an option! No uncomfortable strapless bras for you!
4. Busy Patterns
Tops and dresses in busy patterns are also another way to distract the eye so that nobody notices what is actually going on underneath (it’s a trick we can all use – we are often told that we should avoid patterns as they can draw attention to a body part, when in fact, a busy all-over pattern can be great as the eye can’t settle and just keeps on movin’ on!).
5. Unusual Construction and Draping
Another option is to find tops with some unusual construction and draping that means we are delighting in the creative construction and therefore it distracts from the expectation of seeing a bust. You will also find it could be easier to alter out any excess fabric that has been allowed for the bust (some creative darts) in this kind of shirt or top.
6. Chest Pockets
They are the enemy of the large bust and the best-friend of the small or flat-chested!
7. High Necklines
Just as you can do the super low V neckline, you also rock the high neckline. Then add in some pleating (as I’ve done in this example above) that would just make a bust look enormous, this would be great on you.
8. Darker Tops
A darker top makes the area recede, then adding a lighter coloured jacket or cardigan will also make it less obvious. This is particularly useful when choosing knit tops.
I love the pleats!
Thanks Imogen! This is exactly what I’ve been waiting for ? I’ve experienced after my mastectomy that it has both advantages and disadvantages, it takes a while to learn how to dress differently. I learned that I’m not that into ruffles, but that I love pleated tops. One thing I also found is stiffer fabrics on top add volume too, so I choose cotton shirts instead of viscose now.
I’m very small-chested and I both do need a bra, and don’t feel it’s a flaw that I should distract from. I just wear the colours and materials that I like, just like anybody else. Also-maybe because English isn’t my native tongue-the phrase ‘flat-chested’ sounds dismissive to me. I’m surprised it’s still being used in these body positive times.
I was asked by a reader who used this specific language – she has no bust, not just a small bust.
So they are two different things, not synonyms. As someone with short legs vs no legs. I was under the impression your post used ‘small or flat-chested’ as synonyms. Good to know!
Small and no bust is not quite as vast a difference as short legs and no legs – but you did make me laugh!
I am large busted and have found Imogen’s tips on how to dress my top half really helpful in the past. I came here today to get the low-down on what to wear to minimise the visual effect of having no bust as I am to have a mastectomy next week. It seems I had already learned so much about style, pattern, fabric and so on from Inside Out Style, that the tips given for the ‘flat chested’ reinforced what I had already worked out.
My thinking process was that I have always needed to avoid breast pockets, double-breasted jackets, busy patterns, high necks, so the opposite might apply in future.
I am very happy to have this confirmed and also pick up a few more tips.
I do have a question – where should I end necklaces and can I stay with the same scale in my accessories, i.e. fairly chunky? Thank you.
Hey Francesca – You can keep going with your same chunky jewellery, or choose to do smaller if you wish – ending above the bust always draws the eyes up higher so that you notice the bust (whatever its size) less!