Friday, May 17, 2013

the perfect Swimsuit

Stop the presses - I have found the perfect swim suit;

·      If you’re Size 12 and Up 

·      If you’re Big on Top 

·      If You Have a Wide Waist 

·      If you’re Bottom Heavy 

·      If You Have a Long Torso 

·      If you’re Small on Top 

·      If You Want to Take Inches Off


The Tankini!   This two piece suit allows one flexibility and choice.  Want your top to be soft and floral, abstract and fierce or pared down?  Looking for support that is light, medium or firm – with or without underwire?  Straps – you can choose halter, criss cross, thick, spaghetti or none at all! Bottoms – available in skirt, boy leg, and brief leg and high cut.  What a variety of options.  For a swimmer I would recommend a close filling top with lots of spandex so it does not float up while you are swimming.


Serious lap swimmers will probably want to have at least one active Swim suit.  Speedo has long been the top brand however the largest size I can source is size 22.  Addition Elle has a suit perfect for swimming laps! Sporty 1-piece features flattering princess seams and athletic back with plastic closure. Inner bra with power mesh and molded foam cups, and zipper detail at front will keep the girls locked and loaded, $79.99


Plus Size Ombré twisted swimdress, Penningtons $80 Inner bra with power mesh and molded foam cups,Great looking straps can be crossed at back for extra support - good for active or passive activities
Should you be a curvy girl with great firm legs blossoming from you trunk, there are fabulous retro suits.  In fact a black retro suit from Lane Bryant has already sold out!  I found a cute cherry print ($90) from


My figure now resembles Ursula the Octopus in the Little Mermaid with all of my weight just jiggling there in front. Therefore I was thrilled when a number of years ago when  I discovered the swim dress.


Addition Elle 2012
For my needs a swimsuit must have a good underwire bra, wide supportive straps and a fuller skirt. However the skirt should reach no longer than my fingertips.  I find the ones with the long skirts very off putting; I am going to swim in the pool with my grandkids not go to church.  My 2012 suit was from Addition Elle, is still in good shape and works for me.


Moi in the Walmart suit
Then there is my daughter who believes “go cheap or go home” and never would pay $100 for a swim suit.  Wal-Mart has one basic black swim dress, $36.00 no description. However both of our Walmart suits have swam and wore well!


To close, here are a few suits I would never wear, what do you think?

Actually, she looks great!

Bad Colour blocking
Model loves this suit - sunshine colours!

Please leave a comment or a question and happy days in or around the water.

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Reg Grundys part 2

There is only one thing worse than an ill-fitting bra, ill-fitting panties.   I remember asking one of my student employees, who seemed to be having a particularly bad day, what was troubling her. She replied “I am wearing one dollar panties and 99 cents worth of them are right up the crack of my butt!”  Have we not all had days such as that?
boyshort briefs
Penningtons $14
I cannot really remember what I wore in times past, when I was younger and there was less of me.  At this point in time my choice in undies is simple, Penningtons for stretchy boycut and regular briefs; and Sears for Jockey.  The basic seamless boycut brief from Penningtons are always in the laundry ergo I wear those the most. They feature a low-riding waistline style with full-coverage. Fold over elastic around waist. No panty lines (as if that were a consideration with me).  I like them because you can tuck them up under a droopy tummy.    

The all over print briefs from Penningtons are pretty and wear well however I find they are often cut short in the rise.  Made from 100% cotton, they breathe well.,default,pd.html?dwvar_718636_color=Apricot&start=8&cgid=PE-Intimates-Lingerie-Full-Brief
Jockey has been making underwear for over a century, what you purchase once you can be assured will be what you will purchase again and again. I like their Elance (100% combed cotton) brief and having been wearing a size 9 but see myself edging up to a 10. At $12 for a single pair, or $30 they are not inexpensive however the Sears retail stores often have them 40% off.  Occasionally I have found the multipacks in great colours and prints.

Should you be able to find them, coordinating briefs to match a special bra are fun.  It is a scavenger hunt to find your size in top and bottom so I just colour match.   Infrequently,  Winners have Delta Burke undies in sizes 9 and 10 at a fraction of the original price.   I have scored several of these and they are lovely.  If you want to try exciting,  colourful undies browse the on line stores.  However I am too cheap to pay shipping and want to shop local.

Wonder Bra $14.99
That is it for covering the bottom, now how about shaping?  When I was younger, and much smaller, I did not leave home without my girdle!   The closest I would come to that in the last twenty years are the control panty; smooth’s, shapes and provides tummy control they are usually 90% Nylon/ 10% Lycra spandex.  No breathing here.  Women wanting more control chose a Firm support brief.  The Glamorise features” extra-wide waistband shaper with inner tummy panel for firm control, Innovative moisture control keeps you dry & comfortable all day”. That wide waist band would be rolled right down around my fat tummy!

When a young woman I know started to find that there was more of her than there was of her clothing she purchased a body shaper.   These suck one in and flatten you out and are available in a price range starting at $60 up to several hundred dollars.   Shape wear is sold by size and cup size and the range available in large cups has certainly improved.  Most plus size women will want to wear one for those times you want to look a wee bit trimmer, or the favorite garment that highlights every flaw.,default,sc.html

Grenier $129.99

You can try these on at a retail store, again Sears is good. Do not expect this to be a fun experience!  My choice for a heavy duty garment is   Grenier’s Back-Support Briefelette at $ 129.99.  It features a zip up front which aids in dressing.  And I will not say anything about the joys of opening and closing the snaps at your crotch!   A word to the wise, do not let your crotch strap dangle down into the flush.

Always purchase the best under wear you can afford and find. When you learn what works for you be proactive and buy when it is on sale.  Treat your undies kindly
  • wash on gentle or hand wash
  • use cold or warm water and  mild soap
  • use under wear bags (often available at the Dollar Store)
  • always hand dry undies. 
  •  And never wear a bra two days in a row.  

If you have questions, comments or want to pass on your opinions – please do.

<a href="">HyperSmash</a>

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

About clothing made in Bangladesh


 As is my norm, I awoke Monday morning to my local CBC Information Morning show. Lisa Drader Murphy, designer, manufacturer, retailer and proprietor of Turbine in Halifax,  was discussing the garment manufacturing industry in light of the tragedy in Bangladesh.  I listened with interest for this is a subject on which I hold many opinions!

When I was in high school I coveted a sweater set from Marich’s store.  All the in-girls in my class had a sweater set; they were beautiful and soft, made in Nova Scotia from a blend of mohair, and lamb’s wool.   The price was in the thirty dollar range; my father earned about thirty dollars a week (when he had work).  I was already working part time at McCain’s making ninety cents an hour so in theory I could have saved for the sweaters.  However the money I earned was used to supplement our meagre grocery budget, purchase toilet paper and feminine needs and buy the ingredients for school lunches for myself and my siblings.

mine was a "kitten" brand
My then supervisor at McCain’s announced a special project, a three day straight run.  I received permission to be out of school, worked the project and had an extra cheque; forty five hours work equalled one sweater set.  I made the purchase, of course I chose blue!  I wore it, I loved it, and I valued it. 
Shopping local offered a limited selection so my friends and I often went to Maine. One came home with a synthetic twin set, I was appalled.  While I wanted to spend less and have more I sensed that I was on the precipice of a slippery slope!  At sixteen I understood that my sweater set involved the farmer who grew and sheared the lamb’s wool, the imported mohair and the garment manufacturers who worked  where Canadians were paid a fair wage.  I would buy quality Canadian made garments.
Occasionally I would take the low road and on a trip to Presque Isle pick up a cheap garment. It never fit quite right or survived our vigorous wringer washer.  I valued my twin set and washed those sweaters by hand.  As the years progressed I thought less of clothes, it was the 1970’s and if you had a pair of jeans, a long billowy dress or two (I confess I once fashioned a dress from one of my Aunt’s good linen table clothes; without her knowledge) and sandals – you were good to go.
Then I had children, the only choice for their clothing was those displaying our Maple Leaf.  Snow suits were a necessity for children in our fierce New Brunswick winters.  We purchased Brand name suits that retailed for $100 and up, they kept the children dry and the quality was such that you were able to use that same suit for another year or for a younger child.  While Inferior suits were available, they did not darken the door at our house. My friends and I prided ourselves in having the “best” for our children.  We were all on limited budgets but quality Canadian made clothing was as important to us then as organic foods are to today’s mothers.

It was in the 1980’s that I came to the realization that not all “thinking” people shared my philosophy re well-made clothing.  I was at a party when a man complained about the cost of his shirt.  I inquired as to the price and he replied $15.00. When I responded “well, it was not made in Canada”, his retort was “who cares”?  I tried to use my illustration about working one week in the 1960’s to buy the sweaters and now he had worked only one hour to purchase a shirt, and the effect that was having on our garment industry.  It made no impact.  Most of the people at that party were union members, I attempted to rally them round.  My rally fell flat.

One by one; and in the case of Toronto, ten by ten, the garment manufacturers have folded up. While some moved off shore, many simply ceased to exist.  I bore witness to the toll; garments cut smaller and smaller because Asians could not believe North Americans could be so large.  Inferior materials and construction, no more preshrunk garments and zippers!  I went back to sewing and used fabrics milled in the US or from the UK.  Sewing is no longer possible for me, but I am still a clothing snob.  I am retired and live on a low fixed income, even at that using my teen ratio I should be paying about $600/700 for a winter coat.  I would if I could but the realities of cell phones and heating costs have hijacked my budget.

I read about the tragedy in Bangladesh and feel we are to blame. While the big name brands scurry for cover renouncing their ties to the building; meanwhile touting that their marketing campaigns advocate progressive causes.  Do not worry; you are not alone in your guilt.  The millionaire sports who purchase Nikes made in slave conditions, the retailers who have knock offs made for pennies, and me.    Yes I am guilty, for I am part of the North American society who has demanded more and more for less and less.  I will shake out my principles, purge my closets and continue to buy local.  And I just might check out the clothing from Turbine! 

Foot note; one day later as I get dressed I notice my yoga pants, purchased from Giant Tiger, are made in Bangladesh!  Do I hide them; dispose of them, write GT to protest their sourcing?   Probably none of the above, however my next purchase shall be from Penningtons.  Oh no!  I just checked the label in my Pennington’s pants and they were made in Bangladesh as well!

Check your  closet; are most of your clothes made off shore?  Cost before quality or quality (ie locally made) first? share your thoughts!


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Fashion musings from a plus size grandmother


I love fashion; I would rather shop than eat.  As a teen I was already plus size, 16 on top/14 bottom.  By eigth grade those poodle swing skirts and twin sets were not cutting it, so I learned how to sew.  Using tradional styles, cut larger, was frustrating.

sack dress - mine was much this shape
Then I discovered the sack dress, (Sack dress definition, a loose, unbelted dress that hangs straight from the shoulder to the hemline).  What freedom, no more trying to get bodice to fit onto the  waist and cinching it all with a belt. 
With this as influence, I sewed a striking dress  made of a wine/red dress weight flannel, featuring a plain round neckline' three quarter sleeves and stopping justshort of my knee.  The addition of big belt loops at the hip and a wide black belt; black tights and black Mary Jane’s and I was styling.  My school mates christened it my Beatnik dress.

Valerie with daughters Leisa and Vavielle
In this photo I am in my mid twenties and happy with my fashion sense.  At size 16/18 I could seldom buy "off the rack" so sewed my own.
Even though this appears to be a busy pattern closer examination reveals geometrics in white and pink grounded by black. Yes, my main stay has always been black.   This dress was made for a wedding and I purchased a high end poly blend fabric.  The fabric had a lovely drape and no wrinkle.  Tip: if you sew purchase the best quality fabric you can.  This also applies to ready made clothing. Notice I said quality not cost.

The original dress was floor length, this was the 1970s; and I wore it that way a few times.  Then hemmed to the knee and a sleeve transformation and voila, a dress for church. 

Fast forward forty  years and I am looking for an outfit that is as representative of my personality and as comfortable as the Beatnik dress.  Time has certainly improved the fabrics we have available, polyester and spandex being point in case. 

 Black is often my colour of choice.  In this photo the top  has a band of rose colour at the neckline as well and several bands below the bust and for ties.  When working for  "LeisaB accessories" a jeweller artist, I wear the merchandise.  Black is the perfect foil for the jewellery.

One of my first fashion lessons was how to build a wardrobe,  manyof you  own a closet full of clothes but have nothing to wear?
The first step is to choose a basic colour; for me it is black; brown or navy also work. Then you purchase or closet shop for the fundaments; pants, cropped pants, a skirt (many of us mature ladies avoid skirts due to our over developed tummies!), dress, shell, sweater, and jacket. 
 Now pick a complimentary colour pink, blue, green, orange, purple and even white. So you are off to the theatre and you want to look sharp and yet be comfy. Pull on those pants ( Mine are black TanJAY petites 92% POLYSTER/8% SPANDEX, SIZE 20 – however they still fit when I am size 24! ), add a dressy polyester black and white top, black sandals or shoes, a light wrap of black coat ( depending on the weather) and we are good to go!
Please follow my Fashion Musings.  I will cover under wear, choosing a bathsuit (horrors), taking stock of your assets, best retailers and a host of other topics. You can ask questions or give me ideas. Give me feed back!  Please.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Next to the skin – the Reg Grundys

Undergarments are clothes worn under other clothes, often next to the skin. They keep outer garments from being soiled by bodily secretions and discharges, shape the body, and provide support for parts of it. Other terms for undergarments are; Underclothes, underclothing and underwearare formal terms. In Australia they are called Reg Grundys (rhyming slang for undies) and Reginalds, and, in the United Kingdom, smalls (from the earlier smallclothes) and (historically) unmentionables. In the United States, women's underwear may be known as delicates due to the recommended washing machine cycle.
Women's undergarments collectively are called lingerie. They also are called intimate clothing and intimates. Not wearing underwear under outer clothing is known in American slang as freeballing for men or freeboobing for women, or as going commando for either sex. Undergarments are clothes worn under other clothes, often next to the skin. They keep outer garments from being soiled by bodily secretions and discharges, shape the body, and provide support for parts of it. Other terms for undergarments are; Underclothes, underclothing and underwearare formal terms. In Australia they are called Reg Grundys (rhyming slang for undies) and Reginalds, and, in the United Kingdom, smalls (from the earlier smallclothes) and (historically) unmentionables. In the United States, women's underwear may be known as delicates due to the recommended washing machine cycle. (Wikipedia)

Now those skinny minis may get away with freeboobing or going commando however if you are a plus size or past you thirties it is a choice I would not recommend.  When asked why they choose not to wear a bra, freeboobing, women reply “I cannot get a bra that fits” or “they hurt, or are uncomfortable”.   Really ladies after your shoes, what is the first thing you take off when you get home?

How I hated this!
In the eighth grade I went from a little pudge to a 36D and I hated it!  My clothes did not fit, the boys kept looking at my chest and the crude ones called me “General Dairies”. To make matters worse the bras my friends wore did not contain my chest and the Playtex white, all cotton, circle bra was my lingerie!  I hated them, they dug in, and the white turned grimy and worse of all the straps wore furrows in my shoulders.


note the sectioned cup

The years few by, I grew up and so did bra manufactures.  Enter the underwire, support from below, no more raw shoulders.  Trial and error showed that I did best with a seamed cup; I have since learned that I have balloon breasts and that smooth one piece cup does nothing for me. Playtex Women’s Secrets Signature Floral Underwire Bra   was my best fit for over twenty years, then I gained weight and their largest size did not fit.

My Elomi as a better fit
fully containing brest
Attempting to find a suitable bra became my passion, I purchased from the sublime to the absurd.  Some received one wearing and was passed on.  My chief issue was not finding a large enough bra but one that fit in snug between my breasts, and laid flat on my breast bone.  Then I discovered The Girls Bra Shop Inc. for quality bras, expert bra fitting and foundational garments. They are located in: Rothesay, NB and St. John's, NFL -Rothesay 1.888.344.9393/ St. John's 1.877.719.6338.  Here I purchased an Elomi bra – beautiful, expensive and it fit.   I have treated her with care and almost five years later she looks like new.  However my illnesses has progressed, and edema and weight gain have played havoc with fit.

the Intimates comfort bra
Enter Penningtons and their Intimates comfort bra, ahhh…  It holds them up, I can tuck them in, and this bra does not dig in.

Made of 95% nylon and 5% Spandex it has the look and feel of Wick away cotton and definitely breathes. 

Unfortunately, Penningtons do not seem to be currently carrying this bra.  I did find a very similar one at their sister store Addition Elle.

Do I get the same frontal look as my Elomi or the Playtex?   No, but I am covered and respectable. I have the Intimate comfort bra in all three sizes and treat them with as much respect as the expensive girls.  Never, ever put a bra in the dryer. Strive to wash your bras by hand; if you must machine wash put each one in a lingerie bag and wash on gentle and cold or warm water.

The best way to purchase a bra is at a reputable specialized or department stores.  Sales staff is trained to measure and fit.  However if the size they measure does not feel comfortable, try a size or a cup size up or down and try a variety of styles.  Purchasing a bra is not for the faint hearted.  At you can take a photo of yourself in your favorite bra, upload it to them and their experts will analyze your fit.  And yes, you can crop your head!

Panties, knickers, undies and one piece foundations deserve a blog of their own.  Leave me your bra woes and wishes.  An expert once told me that women often change in their bra size every six months; now isn’t that enough to make you go freeboobing!   Please leave your comments and questions.
this gal might have a great body, but ...
She needs a better bra!
(and yes I think this has been photoshopped!)