Nikki’s Inbox: “I’m Flat-Chested. Now What?”

Hi, Nikki. I’m having trouble finding everyday wear as I’ve got the smallest chest (literally like a little boy’s chest!) and I don’t really know what style I’d like to wear. Any recommendations? Also, I’m quite short at 5’4 so I don’t want any clothes making me look shorter.

Jess, 16/United Kingdom


Hello Jess, and thanks for writing! I can certainly feel your distress all the way here but it’s not the end of the world. Just to give you a laugh, I suggest you watch a few episodes of the show “Miranda” if you can find them over there in the UK. You’ll understand that having a large bust isn’t everything (I’m also a huge “Miranda” fan).

But first things first, what about the rest of your body? You might be curvy elsewhere, like the hips or the waist, which means it’s not completely hopeless as you think!

Add Curves

I always say that a good bra in your size and fitmakes a huge difference. I’ll mention it again for your benefit, Jess. You might need to wear bras with some padding or support to give you a hint of a bust, and the best way to do that is to get fitted for it. Even if you end up preferring sports bras over conventional ones, you’ll still need some support for it.

Your other curves may be your waistline or hips. You didn’t mention your other measurements so if you have a slim waistline and curvy hips, take advantage of it!

Don’t Hide — Distract!

When it comes to our perceived imperfections, our first instinct is to conceal them, which explains why a lot of people love wearing oversized clothes. Instead of covering up, create the illusion of proportions by wearing embellished tops. Lace, ruffles, pintucks, pinch-pleats, and smocking are just some of the tried-and-tested ways to create visual volume on your upper half. Look for similar details on the neckline or sleeves as well so the focus isn’t always on your chest. Choose high, rounded necklines instead of boatnecks, V-necks or square necklines to de-emphasize angles.

A Show of Legs

It’s still summer, Jess, so now’s a good time to wear shorts and mini skirts. For petites like us, knee-length or above-the-knee cuts make it seem that we have longer legs. Go for pretty A-line skirts that flare at the hem — aanother way to trick the eye into thinking you’re curvy and proportional. You can also go for embellished bottoms. Studs, embroidery, distressing, and use of color make a big difference. Something simple like wearing purple skinny pants or a butter yellow pleated tennis skirt instantly makes your outfit pop.

I have to mention here the importance of inseams when it comes to trousers and jeans. I’m happy that these days, a lot of brands offer different inseam lengths. A pair of jeans that’s cut to the right length for your legs makes you look more put-together. If alteration is rather expensive, scout around for someone in the neighborhood who’s handy with a sewing machine.

I can’t really recommend a specific style that’s right for you because in the end, it’s your tastes that matter. But let my suggestions above serve as baby steps towards a new you!

P.S. If you’re sending a question, please don’t forget to include any helpful information about your body type or shape, your tastes or personality. You can include a selfie (link only please) or a photo of your clothes (which I will never publish without pre-approval). Thank you!

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