Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Human Environmental Sciences

Degree Level



Apparel Merchandising and Product Development


Apple, Laurie

Committee Member/Reader

Hubert, Stephanie

Committee Member/Second Reader

Hixson, Sarah


Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in women, with millions of survivors in the United States today. A mastectomy surgery is the most recommended treatment for breast cancer. A mastectomy removes the entire infected breast area, and it can be necessary for women to receive a double mastectomy to have both breasts removed. After receiving a mastectomy, women are faced with a decision: to receive breast reconstruction or to opt out of it.

Recently there has been an increase in the number of women who are opting out of breast reconstruction, also known as choosing to ‘live flat.’ Limited research has been done on this unique group of women despite their growing numbers, and this research gap reflects a lack of support and representation of women living flat in society. In addition to other areas, women living flat are underserved by the apparel industry, with currently very limited apparel options available to them and their unique chest shape.

The purpose of this study was to survey real women living flat and use the information gathered to create two blouses (one work blouse and one casual blouse) that would be tried on and tested by women living flat. A preliminary online survey was created to gather information on the fit and style preferences of women living flat.

In total, 97 women living flat completed the preliminary survey, and four blouses were designed and developed using the information collected from the survey. Of the 97 women, four women living flat were selected to attend an in-person wear test of the final garments due to their proximity to the testing location. After trying on the blouses, the wear-test participants completed a post survey designed to gage their sentiments towards the blouses.

Based on the results of the post survey, the previously specified adjustments and necessary elements from the preliminary survey where successfully incorporated into the blouses. The participants had an overall positive sentiment towards the blouses and had an average satisfaction level of 7.75 on a scale out of 10.

The blouses achieved the goal of meeting the needs of the participants regarding style, fit and material. This research resulted in garments designed specifically for women living flat. It was worn and evaluated by women living flat, and it can serve as an example for apparel companies and designers. This research can be expanded upon by increasing the participant sample size, creating further garment sizes, and applying the recommendations gathered during the wear-test.


Living flat, living flat blouse, breast cancer, mastectomy, woven blouses