Introducing Hourglassy’s July Theme: The Goal is Not Perfection

Do you have a word you use all the time? My Jamaican-American mother-in-law’s word is “crazy”. If she can’t get her laptop to work, “This computer crazy.” When she doesn’t hear her cell phone and misses a call, “My phone crazy, man.” If she disagrees with someone’s life choices, of course, “He crazy!”

It was my husband who pointed her special word out to me, and whenever anything goes wrong or seems strange, we’ll laugh and imitate his mom, with extra emphasis on the first syllable, just like her: “That’s CRAzy.” (His mother is now living with us indefinitely, so pretty soon everyone is going to call me crazy.)

I didn’t think I had a trademark word until my husband pointed it out to me as well. It’s “perfect”. When we finish planning to meet somewhere, I’ll conclude with “Perfect.” A waiter seats us by the window, and I’ll exclaim, “This is perfect!” A parking place in front of our house is “Perfect!” I like someone’s shoes, and “They’re the perfect shoes with that outfit.”

I use this word so much that you might think the idea of perfection has lost all meaning for me. In reality, I’m so saturated with the idea of perfection that it’s overflowing into my everyday wording for commonplace situations.  “Perfect” is like saying “great” with a boost. Why settle for less?

As I prepared for my “D+ Dressing without Stressing” workshop in May, I began to question my presumption that we’re all going for perfection all the time. Was I trying to tell my D+ audience how to dress perfectly? If so, I needed to call and cancel the workshop because there was no way I could perform under that sort of pressure. In the end, I decided that my goal was to show my audience how certain details make a difference in our appearance . . . details that I’ve learned about while blogging and that I wish someone had told me about long ago. It was up to my audience to play with the details for themselves.

Because I automatically assume that the goal is perfection in every undertaking, the realization that perfection isn’t always the goal is raising a lot of questions for me. And it’s made me curious as to what others think on the subject. So this month, we’re going to delve into this topic. We won’t write about it every day, but at least one Hourglassy writer will cover it each week, and we’ll link to other bloggers who have decided to write about this theme. Plus, we have some great guest writers lined up as well.

It’s going to be perfect! :)

 

 

 

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!

Mini Mini Sports Bra Review: Chantelle Underwire Sports Bra

When I spied the new Chantelle sports bra in bright orange at Magic Corsets, I had to try it on. The 32F (UK size) fit perfectly and is really cute.

chantelle sports bra side

chantelle sports bra front

However, when I jumped up and down, I felt more bounce than I’m aware of in my Panache sports tank. It wasn’t Incompetent Sports Bra Bounce, but it simply didn’t meet the standard I’m used to. Which leads me to wonder . . . why bother creating a Panache copycat that isn’t going to do at least as good a job of support?

A lot of the online store reviewers rave about this bra, so I questioned my own impression until I found a single (so far) voice of dissent on the Nordstrom website: “If you wear a 32G chances are you need a bra with stability, this one fell short for me.

Obviously, I wasn’t tempted to purchase this bra, but it may be a good alternative for women who love Chantelle or simply want an orange bra (it’s also available in black and grey). I’m currently wearing the Panache Hepburn in 32FF (review to come soon), and I can just fit the Fantasie Susanna in 30G. The saleswoman at Magic Corsets warned me that the band runs tight in the Chantelle sports bra, so I didn’t try the 30 band and was prepared to try a 34 if necessary.

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[Interestingly, my friend refused to photograph me from the back in this bra–it has a J-hook and three columns of three hooks–because she felt my loose skin was too unsightly. Until that evening, I thought I simply had a lot of back flab that would eventually go away with exercise. I also had no idea that I should be embarrassed by it. I even wondered if I should look into cosmetic surgery! Then a few days later after getting out of the shower,  I grasped two handles of my back skin in my hands, and feeling the living tissue, I thought, “This skin has served me well. It stretched when I needed it to. How could I ever get rid of it?”]

Best Breasts Forward ~ The Junior Edition

It may be because I have daughters or it may be from my own past experiences, but for whatever reason I have a special concern when it comes to girls and body issues. I developed early and for a quiet girl who only wanted to sing and study, having boys ogle at my growing breasts was horrifying. I was uncomfortable in my own skin. I didn’t know what to wear so I struggled to make what was available to me fit. Not knowing much about bras and their proper fit made it worse. I often think of how different those years would have been if I was better prepared for what was happening to me.

Why is it that we talk to girls about getting their period and all that entails but we shy away from exposing them to the truth about their breasts and how to take proper care of them? Because we live in a society that hyper-sexualizes breasts, it seems we are afraid to embrace our daughters’ growing busts.

Do you know what it feels like to have someone look at you and shake their head because you’re a C cup in 8th grade? It feels like slut-shaming.

We must begin to teach our girls early on that there is no shame in being busty. This is not an easy task. Preteen and teenagers are inherently self-conscious. Because of this, it’s up to the older women in their lives to take the initiative and begin not just telling them but showing them how to embrace their breasts. If you are slouching and hiding, then so will she. If she sees you frowning at your reflection in the mirror, she will do the same. If you have not accepted your own body, honey, you’ve got to fake it till you make it, at least in front of her.

I’d like to open up the dialogue between us, busty women seeking and sharing knowledge with each other and younger girls who are just developing. I want us to speak to them frankly but with humor, love and care about what we’ve learned, how we’ve felt, and the solutions we’ve found to issues we encounter. The more information we give them, the more comfortable they will be with themselves.

I have my own list of specific topics that I’ll be focusing on, but I’d appreciate input from you all.

What would you tell or explain to your younger self about having large breasts?

This is something I will be working on in the upcoming months and I look forward to hearing your ideas.

Remember, confident girls become confident women who raise confident girls.

Best Breasts Forward