Abreast Abroad: Preparing for Au-Pairing

On Sunday I’ll be leaving for my twelve-month stint as an au pair in Switzerland. This isn’t the first time I’ve had to pack a year’s worth of clothes in two suitcases, but it never seems to get easier!

One of the main things that I know I’ll have to cut back on is dresses. I have more than thirty dresses (I just chose a few for this post), and I know that a lot of days as an au pair I’ll just wear jeans and a t-shirt. As I’m caring for a ten-year-old girl, not an infant or toddler, my job shouldn’t be too messy or physically active, so I feel justified in bringing some dresses, but not my whole collection. 🙁

Please offer any input or opinions you have! I’ve never lived in Europe before (other than a few months in Spain), and I don’t know if my dresses match with the Swiss style or normal level of modesty.  Also, keep in mind that these dresses are for wearing in my everyday life, not just my time as an au pair.


After seeing the picture I think I’ve already decided against this dress.  I always liked the unique cut and the colors, but I think my breasts look droopy and it was difficult to keep my strapless bra from showing.


I think that this one will be comfortable and appropriate. My bra straps did show unless I was careful though. (Thankfully I wore the lovely Fiona bra so the straps were pretty 🙂


Yikes! So short! Seeing pictures of myself like this really gives me a better perspective of my clothes . . . I never felt like this dress was as short as it is. It’s too bad because I really like the neck line and fit.


This dress is another one I’m thinking I’ll leave. It’s lost a lot of the elasticity in the top, and I hate that I feel like I have to constantly pull it up.


One of my sisters got this dress on a trip to India, but she gave it to me because she  doesn’t have the courage to wear it in the States. I’ve worn it a few times here in New York and I love the way it feels. I don’t love it in this picture, though, so I might have to rethink bringing it!


It’s hard to see the halter strap on this dress, but I feel like it is straining to hold me up! I appreciate the extra support of straps that I can tie around my neck, but my neck can end up feeling the strain after a while. I actually like this dress a lot though.


This dress is cute, comfy, and hopefully not too short or low cut. I don’t like how the sheer the white part is, but I may wear it in Switzerland with a camisole.

Seeing myself in these dresses in pictures, rather than looking in the mirror (where I generally look at small details, not the big picture) is really interesting! I hope I get some feedback from readers with opinions on what I should take and what goes into storage.

Sidenote: Looking at these pictures also makes me feel like my arms and legs are extremely bony! I wish I could choose where my ‘fluff’ goes. 😉



Abreast Abroad: Hide and Go Seek–Modesty Around Kids

In a few weeks I’ll begin working as an au pair in Switzerland, a job I got thanks to years of experience working with children. I’ve worked at summer camps, as a babysitter, a nanny, and an English teacher, and I’ve volunteered as a mentor, tutor, and Sunday School teacher for kids of all ages.

My wardrobe when working with kids has varied hugely based on the context. Whenever I work in a Christian or church setting, I am extra careful about what I wear because I know that there are people who are more conservative than I am in dress, and I don’t want to cause any offense.  The age of the children I’m working with also makes a huge difference. Kids five and under barely notice what their caretaker is wearing.  Some kids have stuck there grubby little hands straight down my shirt! Others say things like “Why are you boobs bigger than my mommy’s?” (How do I answer that?!).

Another factor that I take into consideration is the culture. The standard of modesty when I taught English in South Korea was different from what I was used to.  Korean dresses tended to have a high neckline and short skirt.  If I wore anything that showed any cleavage my seven- and eight-year-old students would be in uproar! “Teacher!” they would say, “Bad men will touch you!” Since there was no dress-code at my academy and I worked with all males who would never say anything about my clothes, I had almost too much freedom to wear whatever I wanted, so I’m glad my students had my back!

I am most conscious of modesty when I am working with middle school girls.  I think that middle school is the time when most people choose the path they are going to follow in life. Not necessarily a vocation or a style, but what their character is going to be.

While in university, I went to several urban middle schools for weekly mentoring programs.  The girls I encountered in these middle schools were all totally different, yet all had the same deep insecurities.  Some of them were still awkward little girls and others were beginning to look like young women.  It was important to me to be a role model to each of them and show them that they are all beautiful.  Many of them saw attention from boys as their only affirmation.  It was a real danger that they would start showing more skin to get more attention and in the end have no self-confidence apart from that attention.

As a young woman I was automatically “cool” to these girls and they paid attention not just to what I did, but what I wore.  What I ultimately wanted to communicate to them about modesty in my time as a volunteer was that it is about self-respect. You need to be able to look in the mirror and see that you are beautiful regardless of whether the opposite sex turns their heads when you walk by. “Modesty” doesn’t have to mean that you are old, frumpy, nerdy, or unattractive. It just means that you have the confidence and comfort to wear appropriate and properly fitting clothes and still feel beautiful.

Abreast Abroad: Review of the Parfait ‘Fiona’ in 30F

Getting my Parfait bra set in the mail was extremely exciting!  I wear a 28FF in Freya, but because Parfait sizes run from 30D-40G, they sent me a 30F and a 30G to get as close to my size as possible.  I didn’t even try the 30G because the 30F was surprisingly roomy.  So I gave Leah the 30G, and you can read her review and see pictures of it in her post.

First of all, the Fiona is really beautiful.  I chose this style with its creme shade and relatively simple pattern because that is what appeals to me.  It’s important to me that I can wear my bras with all my clothes and that they are comfortable and offer proper support.  Prettiness is an added a bonus.  Besides being pretty, the quality of the make and material of this Parfait is really obvious.  The small details are great.

I was also very impressed with the Parfait in terms of comfort.  I wore it all day yesterday and felt wonderful.  The band was snug on the loosest hook, but it didn’t dig into my ribs or back at all.  I had to adjust the straps a bit, but they rested in the perfect spot near the edge of my shoulder without falling off or irritating my arm.

Below you can see some pictures of me wearing the bra under a regular shirt and two different dresses.

This is the t-shirt that I wore the whole day and it highlights the main issue I had with the Parfait bra.   There was a significant crease on the top of the cups.  We tried the band at all levels of tightness and the crease didn’t really change.  When the band was at its tightest, there was also a little tissue spilling out and making a mound.  Sometimes the crease wasn’t too noticeable and didn’t create lines in my shirt, but with certain posture it could definitely be seen

This is the dress that I wore yesterday.  I had the options of wearing it with a completely beige bra, wearing it with an undershirt, or letting my more patterned bras show through.  I think that I would wear the Fiona bra with this dress, though the dark brown lace is visible in the picture.

This is another dress I wear pretty often and I really like it with the Fiona bra.  My plain beige bra is visible, as this dress is pretty low-cut, and my other bras show more cleavage than I prefer.  The Fiona didn’t show much cleavage at all and the bra itself stayed hidden.

Big Boob Benefit: Rainy Days & Mondays

Last week my niece got caught in our first thunderstorm on her way home. Has this ever happened to you?

She tells me that whenever she got caught in the rain in college, all she had to do was carry her books under her bust to keep her books dry.

I couldn’t find this exact situation on Busty Girl Comics, but it’s the opposite of her portrayal of boob sweat. By the way, when you click that link, does the comic show up? It doesn’t for me, but I found it in the archives thumbnail for May 19, 2012. I wonder if she’s removed her comics to sell her books?