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Topic: Living flat: how many are we; we need our own clothing line

Forum: Living Without Reconstruction After a Mastectomy — Discuss prostheses, swimsuits, bras, and other options for women not having reconstruction or waiting for reconstruction.

Posted on: Apr 25, 2018 09:52PM

Hogwarts wrote:

Hello all,

Okay, here goes, so please bear with me thru the intro as I get into the 'meat' of this below the emoji.

With summer and warm weather approaching, once again the thought of wearing foobs in the heat and humidity is not a friendly thought. I have nerve issues that are exacerbated in the summer and I'm finding it really hard to find attractive, comfortable and affordable summer tops for my now flat chest. It's easy enough to hide under bulky layers in cooler weather, but there's nowhere to hide when the temps rise and wearing only one layer is comfortable.

I applaud the women who are not bothered by going flat, whatever your shape. I'm still working on getting to that place, regardless of the friends who tell me they don't notice any difference since my BMX nearly 3 summers. ago; I do!!! And I suspect that there might be more women who would go flat if they could readily find fashionable clothing that makes them feel attractive and unselfconscious. I guess I'm still a recovering social worker wanting to be a part of changing this fashion vacuum.


So, I'm hoping to find a way to stimulate manufacturers to include our growing demographic. It would be helpful to have numbers so I/we can show these companies that we are an untapped market as unfortunately, it seems that only money speaks. Any official figures and sources anyone has access to would be gratefully accepted.

Once that information is in hand, those of us interested can contact media outlets and companies to let them know that we are an important and growing group of women, with specific fashion needs, that have yet to be specifically addressed. Even though there have been media stories about our flat sisters, nothing seems to have changed. There are no actresses who are flat on screen nor are there ads with flat women. Other body types are getting attention. It's our turn now!

There are clothing lines for petite, mature, tall, teen, curvy and pregnant women. Where are the flattering styles for those of us with uni or bi-lateral mastectomies who don't or can't wear foobs? I, for one, think it is past time we were heard and our specific needs addressed. There have been many great dressing ideas posted here, but it's not always easy to shop for what each of us needs or likes or can afford.

Your ideas and thoughts are very welcome. We are all of us in this together, regardless of what choices we make for our bodies as we heal.

Many thanks to all of you for your postings that share your feelings, experiences, guidance and love. (Hope I haven't gone on too long and/or blathered too much. Thanks to the mods for this opportunity and for all they do for us!)

Love and grateful hugs,


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Apr 26, 2018 05:52AM wallycat wrote:

I would love to see a line for small breasted/surgically flat women. I've thought about what you posted since my surgery, 11 years ago but haven't figured out a way to get the idea out there.

I thought there was a lady designing clothes for flat women, but the name escapes me. They were too expensive for me so I never ordered anything.

Dx 4/07 1 month before turning 50; ILC 1.8cm, ER+/PR+, HER2 neg., Stage 1, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes. Onco score 20, Bilateral Mast., tamoxifen 3-1/2 years, arimidex-completed 4/20/2012
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Apr 26, 2018 12:48PM Hogwarts wrote:

Hi WallyCat,

Thanks for your response! I, too, thought I read a comment to the effect of specifically designed clothing for us, but the post was many years ago, if memory serves, and didn't think it was currently active. That it was pricey nails the coffin lid for me as I am retired and single, watching my budget with my other expenses.

Recently a lumpectomy gal chimed in about the need for attractive and affordable clothing for us flat gals. She had some brilliant ideas on how to stimulate interest by clothing designers and we are going to see what we can get started. Quality of like extends beyond surgery, IMHO, so why not see if we can get some attention and traction in this area for us. Everyone else seems to have gained recognition for their needs, so why not us. We are a large/huge market that is untapped.

This likely won't be an overnight success, but we plan to stay in it for the long haul.

Thanks and big hugs,


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Apr 26, 2018 04:54PM mebmarj wrote:

It is frustrating trying to shop post mastectomy or after deconstruction of the reconstruction.

Something that camouflauges but not too heavy. No plunging necklines. Darts for breast line are useless anymore. Light colors in regular t-shirts seem to show all the remaining lumpy tissue (as I am not as smooth as I would like to be).

Some gathering just above the breast area is helpful so a top hangs loosely to the waist. A modest v-neck with some ruffles also are comfortable. Tunics with dark color or print looks good. But honestly some of the color combinations and prints in those styles are horrendous or way too loud even for me.

This isn’t something huge to request as the styles are out there- hard to find though. Following this thread. Someone on the boards must know a resource

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Apr 26, 2018 11:50PM Hogwarts wrote:

Hi Mebmarj,

Thanks for your comments. I, too, hope that folks will let us know if there are any affordable, comfortable, attractive clothing lines out there. I may have to stop looking at my profile this summer.


I just glanced at flatandfabulous.com and they also have a FB site that's private. That might be a good clothing resource/networking site, when I get a chance to really look at it.


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Apr 28, 2018 02:59AM Snickersmom wrote:

Hi all,

I am just celebrating my 1 year cancer free date next week. I had a BMX, no reconstruction, and I have absolutely no regrets about my decision. It has taken me just about a year to figure out tops/shirts/blouses but I think I am finally happy with the clothes in my closet. I have been very frustrated by all of the nylon-feeling fabric they seem to be using lately. That fabric hangs all wrong on me, looks awful, and I feel horrible when I wear it. I have discovered that Beall's here in Florida carries lots of great tops and blouses that are cotton. They fit well and look good too, I typically now look for patterns instead of solid colors and Beall's has the best selections of any stores around here (Kohl's, Stein-Mart, Macy's, Dillards, etc.)

Judy - thanks so much for starting us off with this. I am looking forward to - hopefully - getting manufacturers to listen to us and do something!


Dx 3/24/2017, ILC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 5/3/2017 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right Hormonal Therapy 6/12/2017 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Apr 28, 2018 03:25AM Egads007 wrote:

It’s been a trend in the past and can be again. Manufacturers are more than capable of creating beautiful fashions that don’t require breasts as an accessory....take a peek:

A modern example:

Those women were stunning, while flat. Oh yes, it can be done!

"I base all my fashion choices on what doesn't itch" (Gilda Radner) Chemotherapy 3/19/2013 Doxil (doxorubicin), Taxol (paclitaxel) Surgery 8/23/2013 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right Radiation Therapy 10/31/2013 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Dx IDC, 4cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Apr 28, 2018 03:37AM Hogwarts wrote:

Hi Egads,

Right, and we just need manufacturers to know that they have some catching up to do! Those pics were great, thanks for showing them to us!!!


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Apr 28, 2018 03:42AM Hogwarts wrote:

Hi Snickers,

Thanks for the comments. Looks like I'll need to make a trip out of town to the nearest Beall's to check out their selection of tops.

Egads, forgot to say that I love your comment about breasts being an accessory; that is the best yet!!! Please, keep those thoughts coming. Slowly but surely I'm getting ready to say, what the heck, comfort is more important than any accessory, especially if they tried to 'kill' you, as one t-shirt read.



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Apr 28, 2018 04:00AM JoyceA wrote:

I had a bilateral mastectomy last month without reconstruction. I love to swim. What do I do about bathing suits this summer? I haven’t had the courage to go to a specialty store for prosthesis yet.

Dx 2/20/2018, DCIS/ILC, Both breasts, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 3/4/2018 Arimidex (anastrozole) Surgery 3/15/2018 Lymph node removal: Left, Right; Mastectomy: Left, Right
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Apr 28, 2018 02:49PM Hogwarts wrote:

Hi JoyceA,

After my surgery, I had to wait for the swelling to go down before being fitted. However, your fitter can help you with finding a swim form. You can order mastectomy suits from Landsend.com and I believe the TLC catalog also has some styles. There are probably more sites as well.

I know you are having a lot to process right now, so take you time and please be gentle with yourself; you've been thru a lot! The fitters are used to seeing our new chests, and I believe your shyness over this will diminish with time. Looking at pictures of other women's post surgical chests still helps me process what has happened. I don't know where that site is off hand, but googling should help you find it. Or maybe someone else can help you find this. Flatandfabulous.org might also help.

Some folks get the knitted knockers for swimming, and I'm told that the beaded forms work well in swimsuits. There are also other swim forms, but I'm not familiar with them other than what I've found online.

Here's a thread for swimsuits/swimming: https://community.breastcancer.org/forum/152/topic...

For other topics, I found this search function that should help you navigate to where you need to find more info. https://community.breastcancer.org/posts/search The women here have travelled your road and can relate to your experience/feelings. They have really helped me come to terms with the issues that come up for me with our kind of surgery, and the experience as a whole.

Here's the help site: https://community.breastcancer.org/help

You can also query the mods if any of the above info doesn't get you to where you need to find answers.

Happy healing and know that you are not alone in this process. I feel confident you will find your answers on this site or someone will be able to help you get to a site where you can.

Hugs, Hogwarts/Judy

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Apr 28, 2018 03:16PM JoyceA wrote:

Thank you Hogwarts/Judy.

Dx 2/20/2018, DCIS/ILC, Both breasts, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 3/4/2018 Arimidex (anastrozole) Surgery 3/15/2018 Lymph node removal: Left, Right; Mastectomy: Left, Right
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Apr 28, 2018 03:31PM Hogwarts wrote:


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Apr 30, 2018 09:22PM - edited Apr 30, 2018 09:24PM by Erica

Hi JoyceA,

Here's a blog I wrote on the subject of swimsuits for us mastectomy women: Swimsuit Edition, Breast-Free Style. I wrote it a few years ago, so not all the links are usable any more, but this should give you an idea of what's possible. You had your surgery so recently that you will need time to heal before trying some of the swimsuit options out there. But hopefully, by the time summer really gets going, you'll be able to find a comfortable suit and get back to swimming!

BreastFree.org (breastfree.org); BreastFree Blog (breastfree.blogspot.com); Twitter @BreastFree
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Apr 30, 2018 09:54PM Hogwarts wrote:

Hi Erica,

Thanks for your post with all the great info!


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Apr 30, 2018 10:38PM JoyceA wrote:

Erica, Thank you so much for all the information. I’m sure I’ll be able to find a bathing suit for this summer.

Dx 2/20/2018, DCIS/ILC, Both breasts, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 3/4/2018 Arimidex (anastrozole) Surgery 3/15/2018 Lymph node removal: Left, Right; Mastectomy: Left, Right
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Jun 5, 2018 10:22PM FasterPussycat wrote:

Irony: For most of my post-pubertal life, I was too skinny to need a bra. There was no way most womens' tops were going to fit me because they assumed a level of bustiness I was never destined to achieve. I mostly shopped the boys department and it was fine. I was sort of "alternative" anyway and didn't bother dressing en femme -- it SO didn't suit me to the point where I felt I looked like a guy in drag.

It wasn't until late adulthood and menopause that I actually blossomed, so I've spent more of my life flat than boobular, and now I'm back to flat again. Oh well.

Dx 5/1/2018, IDC: Mucinous, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/24/2018 Mastectomy: Left, Right
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Jun 6, 2018 12:41AM Hogwarts wrote:

Hi FasterPussycat,

Yep, know what you mean about being a pancake. I was also, mostly, but didn't do boys togs. With menopause added one dress and bra size. Have opted for some men's tops in the past. So, yep, we're back to flat again. Hopefully you can still find some things in the boy's department. Don't know if they'd fit me but it's a thought.

Cheers! Hogwarts (Judy)

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Jun 6, 2018 06:55AM Jedrik wrote:

I never was very busty, just a little below average, but I always was out of range for womens' clothing: Shoulders too wide, arms too strong, hips too narrow, legs too muscular. Blouses, dresses and womens' t-shirts would pinch under my arms, crack in the shoulder seams and sleeves were too short, or they wouldn't fit the rest of me. Pants, that were comfortable on my trained thighs gaped open around my (narrow) waist and had funny, empty bulges where other womens' hips are. So I resigned to mostly wearing boys or small mens' clothes at an early age and got used to the thought that I was utterly misshaped (for fashion). I sort of decided I would do my level best to look as good as I could when all the stuff came off. I still looked female, a bit like Lara Croft, just more real, and never had trouble to attract men.

So: Fashion? Not my problem, hasn't been for ages. Saved me a ton of money, too.

Still wearing the same stuff. Maybe one person in about a hundred is slightly startled if I walk about in a muscle shirt, because boobs or no boobs, mens' garb nonwithstanding, I still look female and they can't figure out what doesn't fit the picture. The rest doesn't even seem to notice - and you can't get any more in their face than wearing a tight fitting sleeveless shirt, can you?

Dx 9/17/2015, IDC/Paget's, Left, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 10/5/2015 Lymph node removal: Sentinel Chemotherapy 10/18/2015 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Targeted Therapy 10/18/2015 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Targeted Therapy 10/18/2015 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Surgery 2/22/2016 Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right
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Jun 18, 2018 04:53PM Laural wrote:

This website Swim Outlet has many cute swimsuits for post-mastectomy woman. They also sell some inexpensive forms for swimsuits that are fiber fill, as well as some smaller silicone forms.

Dx 9/18/11; Stage 1 IDC on left, 1.2 cm. Grade 2, 0/2 nodes positive; Stage 1 ILC on right, 1 cm. Grade 2, 0/13 nodes positive; Acute leukemia as young adult and secondary MDS ever since. Through it all, God is faithful.
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Jun 18, 2018 06:27PM Hogwarts wrote:

Thanks so much for the link; great prices!


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Jul 10, 2018 09:56PM glennie19 wrote:

Following this! I would definitely be interested in some better fashion attire!


Fibromyalgia and Truncal Lymphedema,,, some of the fun things I live with. Total hysterecomy 9/29/14 Prophy MX Righty 11/30/17 Dx 6/27/2013, Paget's, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 8/8/2013 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left Dx DCIS
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Sep 13, 2018 02:09AM Selkie36 wrote:

Kohl's has a good shirt I just found. Search "simply vera wang pintuck swing tank."

DCIS fall 2014, holistic tx, 2017:mets to skin; hyster/ooph, herceptin, taxotere and perjeta; BMX June 2018. Lung & lymph mets 10/2018. HER2-. Ibrance/Faslodex.
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Sep 13, 2018 04:36AM windingshores wrote:

I have been flat (no prostheses) for 4 years. I am told noone can tell. My top half is pretty tiny/slender so I think my stomach sticks out though!

Haven't had any problems with clothes though I have learned to avoid tops that are too fitted or clingy. I started wearing a different shirt from LL Bean's that hangs more loosely.

Land's End makes a bathing suit for post-mastectomy that is totally smooth inside.

I just found two bathing suits at Marshall's that are reversible, which means they are smooth and have no built in bra.

I still find that the built in bras are scratchy against my scars.

I am in my late 60's but have never been very fashionable, so none of this bothers me much as long as I am comfortable :)

Dx 2/2015, DCIS/ILC/IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery Lymph node removal; Mastectomy: Right Surgery Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Hormonal Therapy
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Sep 15, 2018 01:10PM Hogwarts wrote:

Hi Selkie and Windingshores,

Thanks for your comments. The Vera Wang top is almost perfect! Just wish her line included cotton fibers so that they breathe in the summer heat and humidity. I can see why you like it. And, sleeveless doesn't work for me any more, so I look for some sort of short sleeve. Ah, getting older isn't for the faint of heart. Maybe I need to reconsider showing flabby upper arms?

Shores, good for you for being comfy going flat! Out of necessity I've been doing that in the summer as anything is an irritation against chest wall nerves when the heat and humidity begins to build up. And I so hear you about having a bit of a belly that comes into the room before the rest of me does. ;-) I just strive to ignore feeling self-conscious and naked without the 'social security' I wore for 60 years.

Shores, could you give us a link to the LL Bean shirt you discovered? That would be so awesome. Thanks!

Saw where Rhianna released a line of lingerie for women of all shapes and sizes. I reached out to her company and challenged them to design something for us BMX gals. Fashionable, comfortable clothing lines should also consider our special needs and body types, since companies are being more inclusive. Fingers crossed!

Anyway, ladies, thanks for reaching out!

Hogwarts (Judy)

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