Catching Up with Patsy, Pepperberry & More Front Room

It’s been a while since we’ve published a Fitting In column (Patsy shared her button-front blouse odyssey in December), so when I caught up with Patsy for lunch at a nearby department store on Wednesday, I stole the opportunity to catch up with her wardrobe as well.

Patsy was a complete breath of fresh air when she breezed into the store wearing this Pepperberry ice blue double breasted coat in size 18SC.

pastsy pepperberry coat accessorized

I’m a big fan of the double princess seams that accommodate the bust and define the waist.

patsy pepperberry coat 3 quarter view

Patsy is a big fan of the pockets that are deep enough to keep from losing her cell phone.

patsy pepperberry coat deep pockets

patsy pepperberry coat back view

Underneath that coat she wore one of her More Front Room tops in XL.

Patsy in More Front Room top with blazer

Besides horizontal ruching that runs across the torso, this top has vertical ruching that runs the length of the chest area. Patsy feels there is definitely room for a larger bust than hers and that she could even size down to an L.

patsy more front room top side ruching

patsy more front room top back view

It looks like this style is currently sold out on the More Front Room website, but its popularity is a good sign that It’ll be back. And speaking of being back, Patsy promises she’ll be back with a new column soon.

Fitting In ? Let It Go, Let It Go . . .

Let it go, let it go . . . .

So goes the refrain from the movie Frozen, and it’s the song in my head as I’ve been decluttering my home this year. Have you heard of Marie Kondo’s book? Her slim best-selling volume promises to change your life if you follow its dictum, and it’s true.

It really is life changing and magic and all good things rolled into one brilliant technique for deciding what to keep and what to purge.

Does it spark joy?

Yes = keep.

No = toss.

Week after week, bags and boxes of clothes we won’t wear, shoes I no longer need, books and household goods we haven’t picked up since the 90’s have been headed out the door, to the thrift store if usable and to the trash if not.  But I’ve set aside some nice pieces from for the upcoming SWAP.

Have you RSVP’d yet?

Two years ago, when headed to my first SWAP, I was certain there would be nothing for me to take home.  I’m used to being sooooo busty that I’m sporting the largest breasts in the room.  There was the promise of my custom made Campell & Kate shirt that was ready for pick-up, so I was certain not to leave entirely empty handed, but I didn’t expect to find goodies in the SWAP.  I could not have been more wrong. There were lots of things for all sizes, including for me–someone who wears at or above the top range of Pepperberry & BiuBiu.

Both times, I’ve come away with some clothing goodies.  But more than that, I’ve come away with so much more.  It’s a fun afternoon with a diverse bunch of women sharing clothes, style tips & ideas.  Please join us if you can.

Practically Perfect in Everyway

Practically Perfect in Every Way…..

By the time the wind has blown the weather vane around
I’ll show you if I can
No matter what the circumstance for one thing I’m renowned
My character is spit spot spic and span
I’m practically perfect in every way….

I have a special spot in my heart for Mary Poppins and would love a tape measure like hers.


Where to you measure up?

Where to you measure up?

Quite sure I’d fall between Stubborn & Suspicious and Prone to Giggling, not good at putting things away. I am both in equal parts.  Assuming perfect means “as good as it could possibly be, with no room for improvement” I whole-heartedly embrace the Perfection is Not the Goal idea. In that sense,  perfect is elusive as we’re in constant flux, getting better and improving in some ways and becoming worse at others over time. This is even more apparent to me with an aging body. Even if I could regain many of the qualities I had as a child or young woman, who I am now appreciates everything all the more.

Still, there were these ideals of perfection I remember from childhood.

Nadia Comaneci


Much was made of the first ever perfect 10 in Womens Gymnastics.

Much was made of the first ever perfect 10 in Womens Gymnastics.

I remember this well (I rooted for Olga Korbut, however) and I was in gymnastics class at the time.  The goal was to get some exercise, have fun, and be out of my mother’s hair on Saturday mornings.  Neither I nor my parents had any expectation that I would compete, and it wasn’t long before gymnastics were replaced by other interests.
Another “10”

Bo Derek

Bo Derek in "10"

Bo Derek in “10”

I never looked like this — never been that thin, or had a graceful long neck.  Ms. Derek’s character being a “10” was somewhat tongue in cheek, but the image quickly became iconic.


From a fashion perspective, I think there is much to be said for remaining a work in progress. Coco Chanel famously advised getting all dressed and accessorized,
but then removing one thing. Did she think that perfect was a bit over-done? Did she agree, as I do, that motion, flexibility and potential are equally important;
that almost finished can seem more alive and vibrant than completely finished? I’m more drawn to Impressionist art than I am to realistic representations. It’s
something about the motion, depth and suggestion that comes from the not-quite-perfect images. I do think I take Coco’s advice too far in that I find myself leaving
something out, often unintentionally. It’s only after-the-fact when i see pictures that I realized how one MORE accessory might have pulled everything together.

Last month — you saw my middle-aged self modeling bathing suits in un-retouched photos. How could perfection be the goal if I’m starting with a clearly imperfect
body? It’s a long way from perfect, to be sure, particularly if we accept that perfect means it couldn’t possibly be better. However, there’s another way to define Perfect.  “Great,
with a boost” as Darlene used it in her intro is a good one.  In that sense it could be synonymous with “this suits me fine” and that, my friends, is a worthy goal indeed.

And a coda…

OK, so there’s an Alabama song (# 1 in 1982) by the name of “Close Enough to Perfect” that became my earworm when Darlene first suggested the theme “The Goal is not Perfection” for July.   If ever there were a perfect lyric:   Don’t you worry about my woman / Or what you think she ought to be.

If I were still a Radio Station DJ, I’d send that song out to the NYTIMES on behalf of Serena.

Fitting In ~ Cup-sized Swimwear Changed My Life

I’m a Jersey Girl. We don’t go to the beach, we go “Down the shore . . .” and the music of Bruce Springsteen was pretty much the sound track to my adolescence. So when the Boss covered the Tom Wait’s song “Jersey Girl”, it should have summed up those 80’s for me, as I actually lived them.

“Cause down the shore everything’s alright . . . .”

Except it wasn’t. For me. Plus-size and full-busted, I had a really hard time ever finding a swimsuit. Even as a child, wearing a hand-me-down one-piece of my older sister’s, I hated getting sand into the crotch of the swimsuit that was stretched out after years of being worn by someone taller than me.

Then when I was shopping for my own suits, I couldn’t find anything in conventional stores and couldn’t find enough bust support in plus-sized swimwear. For two decades, if I couldn’t go skinny-dipping, I would wear men’s swim trunks and a t-shirt over an ill-fitting bra. So, as you might imagine — I didn’t swim much. Maybe a handful of times in my twenties and thirties. Otherwise, I stayed out of the sun and out of the fun. Pool parties, weeks at the beach, vacations to sunny, summery locales . . . I turned it all down and stayed indoors.

Only my dermatologist was happy. Cup-sized swimwear changed all that when I found it in 2007. And I’m making up for lost time trying to get in all the vitamin D I can manage. I even, in my 40’s, took up surfing.

Earlier this summer, a good friend took me to see Sir Paul McCartney perform in Philadelphia as part of his Out There tour.  Comfortably secure in a swim bra under a summer dress, with no cares about straps showing or lingerie being on display, I was able to get lost in the music.  Singing along to old Beatles & Wings tunes, I was completely un-selfconscious about what I wore.  That took nearly half a century, but I was able to be Out There. 

So my hope for my fellow full bust sisters is that you find a swimsuit and sink your toes in the sand or in the grass.  That you build sand castles or run through sprinklers; that you go tubing down a river or snorkeling or surfing or flying kites on a beach.  That you let a cup-sized bikini top do double duty as a bra under a summer dress.  Try one of the suits we’ve reviewed and get Out There.


Happy Summer!