Guest Post: Cancer – Then & Now by Debbie Pressimone

Guest Post: Cancer – Then & Now by Debbie Pressimone

Hi Everyone! Today I am pleased to present a guest post from my business partner/aunt Debbie. After my dad’s scare this year, cancer has been ever present in our minds, and my aunt is no stranger to this terrible disease. As a child, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor and underwent significant treatment including surgeries and radiation to survive. My grandmother often told my brother and me stories about the tribulations the family endured and encouraged us to show kindness and compassion toward others regardless of their circumstances. In the 70s, a cancer diagnosis did not always receive the same rallying support cry it does today. My grandparents nearly lost their home paying for medical bills–an ongoing problem which has yet to change, and with no Go Fund Me or social support system, it meant sacrifices and long hours working multiple jobs all while carrying for an ill child. In some working class, religious areas like where my grandparents called home, neighbors and friends justified their often cruel behavior behind the guise of religious piety, claiming cancer was a misfortune brought on by the family’s failure to to be Christian enough or to show their praise to God. Rather than offer any help, they shied away from my family and considered them social pariahs deserving of whatever happened. Even the less religious were content to delight in the suffering of my grandparents and aunt, often pulling unspeakably awful pranks or spreading rumors that Debbie was mentally deranged or contagious. My aunt watched as all her play friends were quickly ushered behind closed doors, leaving her alone in a time when she was most vulnerable. Now, we send money, love, and prayers, even to strangers, but then, a person’s closest friends would abandon them. And so for today’s post, Debbie wanted to talk about her upbringing as well as her own cancer experience and how it changed her.

Product Review: Ewa Michalak Dark Magenta & Paradise PL Shapes

Product Review: Ewa Michalak Dark Magenta & Paradise PL Shapes

Hello Everyone! First, I apologize for such an erratic blogging year. Between my dad’s cancer scare, catching e-coli from romaine lettuce (yes, I am that damn unlucky), getting a staph infection, being targeted by homophobic, racist boycotters, and then back to cancer scare mode with dad . . . well, 2018 has sucked. But, we’re in fall now, and I love fall. It’s a season for closure, and I hope this chapter finally ends and a brighter future begins. Even though I have not been writing, the ideas have steadily flowed, and I am allotting some time each week to catch up. In the meantime, I have today’s review as well as four guest posts I’ll be sharing while I sort through everything and plan my schedule.

Cheers to 7 Years!

Cheers to 7 Years!

Hello Everyone! As of today, A Sophisticated Pair has officially been in business for seven years! Can you believe the incredible journey we’ve experienced? It’s been a hell of a ride! In honor of the milestone, I have several reflective posts planned on how my feelings about my business and bras have changed since opening as well as the resurrection of our statistical analysis series. However, in the meantime, I want to thank everyone for their ongoing support with a giveaway and sale!

Product Review: Fit Fully Yours Maxine

Product Review: Fit Fully Yours Maxine

Hello everyone! Originally, I hoped to review the Fit Fully Yours Maxine a couple years ago when I was still wearing a UK 30H and consequently purchased the bra in size North American 32J (UK 32GG). However, before I found time to prepare the necessary materials, my size changed, and the bra I purchased no longer fit. No big deal, right? I moved on to other items with the intention of circling back to Maxine soon. Eventually, I repurchased the bra in a 34J (UK 34GG) and added the review back in the queue. Spoiler alert: My weight continued to roller coaster, by which I mean it went up at a sharp incline while I looked down at my scale screaming “Whyyyyyyyy?” Last fall, I not only repurchased Maxine for the third time, a 36J (UK 36GG), but I also decided to test the style in the store and gauge customer feedback. Sometime around November, I took pictures and shot a video only for them to mysteriously vanish and need to be redone a few weeks ago. Persistence is a virtue in my book, and I am extraordinarily pleased to finally present the review.

Product Review: Freya Sweet Dreams & Tia Lyn Bliss

Product Review: Freya Sweet Dreams & Tia Lyn Bliss

Welcome to the Sophisticated Pair Pajammy Jam! As with the Comexim Moulin Rouge review, the images for today’s post were taken back in December because, in a perfect world, my intention was to get everyone psyched up about some cool pajamas in time for the holiday season. It was part personal odyssey, part shameless marketing, but now it’s all about catching up from a long hiatus and clearing a backlog. Despite being in my early thirties, my pajama drawer mostly consisted (okay, consists) of my brother’s old tee shirts, my dad’s old sweats, and my mom’s old nightgowns. I did have some lounge options I personally bought which were horribly stained, filled with holes, and oh, about 15 years old. A couple years ago, a wonderful blog reader sent me two pairs of spring pajama sets which I love and cherish, but stupid thyroid weight gain has rendered them too small. When you gain weight, it’s easy to rationalize not buying anything new for yourself, especially if you are on a tight budget, and pajamas were never a priority. Then I saw the new pajama collections from our vendors and wanted wanted to feel like that cool adult on Instagram who sits around in real lounge clothes with her well behaved, photogenic dog and a boss babe book in her lap. Bring on adulthood!

Product Review: Moulin Rouge by Comexim

Product Review: Moulin Rouge by Comexim

Today on “Life: The Destroyer of Plans” we revisit photos taken way back in December and finally publish the review on Comexim’s Moulin Rouge. Also in my backlog is a review of pajamas, but afterwards fresh content will be forthcoming, including discussions of new brands, off-topic posts on chronic illness, and musings on our upcoming seven year anniversary. Stay tuned, dear readers, come hell or high water, I am back to blogging!

Off Topic: Update on Irregular Store Hours

Off Topic: Update on Irregular Store Hours

First, my original intention with my post in, oh I don’t know, December was to get back on track from the travesty of 2017. I was going to cut out gluten and get my thyroid fixed and exercise and catch up on blogs and get better at bookkeeping and basically DO ALL THE THINGS. Intentions, amirite? On new year’s, I was toasting with family saying “2018 will be better! No more freak spider bites, no more bronchitis! Just getting healthy! RAWR!” And in all fairness to 2018, I have not gotten bronchitis or any insect bites . . . yet. Instead, a persistent cold became a sinus infection the last couple weeks of December that I powered through at the store, which obviously only made it worse. I spent my entire vacation on my couch sipping cough syrup and alternately complaining my house was either too hot or too cold. By mid-January, I could once again breathe through my nose and began work on the numerous projects I hoped to complete in what is traditionally a slower retail month. Success was slow and stressful, but I was starting to feel like maybe, just maybe, I was back in control.

Guest Post by Shay Hansen: Gynecomastia & the TSA

Guest Post by Shay Hansen: Gynecomastia & the TSA

One of my commitments with the store is to help all people find the intimate apparel which suits their needs, preferences, and budgets, including men. Men wear bras for any number of personal and medical reasons, and I have been a strong advocate in not only helping men traverse their own unique fit problems but also in encouraging broader societal acceptance. Through these efforts, I came to meet Shay who has a medical condition known as gynecomastia which causes the benign growth of breasts in biological males. In some cases, the most comfortable way to live with the condition is to wear a bra for support, but while that may be the simplest solution, it’s hardly the easiest one. Our culture is exceptionally hung up on gender norms and body policing. Boys should dress like boys, and girls should dress like girls, right? It not only assigns certain clothing and even behaviors to one gender as being “acceptable,” but it also leaves no room for anyone to depart from those norms, to say nothing of the implications on trans people as well as those who are non-binary or genderqueer. And unfortunately, people can be exceptionally cruel and malicious when presented with someone who behaves outside of the way they expect. Shay and I have discussed this many times via email, and I told him I would really love for him to guest post occasionally on the blog, particularly because he brings a completely different perspective to the table. After some poor timing on both our parts, we finally came together for his introductory post focusing on a terrifying experience where being outside cultural gender norms can have embarrassing repercussions: a body search by the TSA.