Your Support System

If there's one thing no Spashionista can do without it's support. The kind that you can always count on to be uplifting. The kind that makes you smile because you know it's always there for you. The kind that's so reassuring you know you can take on the world.

You do know I'm talking about your bra, right?

This is the second item in the "Budget" category of BODS that I will pay full price for if I have to because I think it's one of the most important articles of clothing you wear at any given time. Your bra should not only fit you properly, it should also be pretty enough to make you feel more beautiful for wearing it.

The majority of women give their underpinnings so little thought that they are wearing the wrong size bra, which consequently has the effect of making them look dumpy, lumpy, saggy and baggy. I already look Palsy so I need all the help I can get. If you've been paying attention you will also have noticed that I'm incredibly ample in the bosomage department. What I'm trying to tell you is if I can find beautiful bras that fit perfectly without breaking the bank so can you.

I am as enthusiastic about my lingerie as I am about my shoes with one major difference. Whereas I buy the majority of my shoes in person from Shi by Journeys I buy all of my bras online from Bare Necessities. After an exhaustive search both on and offline I find BN offers the widest variety of styles and sizes that meet my fit and fashion requirements.

First order of business is fit - potentially tricky if you're disabled, but doable. This is the part where all the other "bra fitting" blog posts out there tell you to go get professionally measured. I've been measured twice and they got it wrong (very!) both times. They measured me as a DD when I am, in fact, a G! You are better off doing this yourself or with trusted help, and it's easier to check for fit than it is to measure for it. Here's a great bra fit checklist. The important things to remember that the majority of women get wrong is your bra band shouldn't ride up in the back and needs to fit flush against your sternum. Your shoulder straps should fit comfortably without digging into your skin. Speaking of skin, make sure none of it is spilling out from the bra's cups. Got it?

In my book fashion is just as important as fit. Actually, when you're as well endowed as I am the revelation that you don't have to wear an ugly tank of a bra is purely blissful. Enter Elomi, the brand with styles every busty girl lusts after.

I own all of these bras and I don't mind at all if my décolletage offers a passing peek at them. These are but a sample of Bare Necessities' 1108 styles. I've tried other, less pricey brands but for me Elomi never disappoints. Fortunately BN offers inexpensive or occasional free returns. They always have some kind of sale going on as well and if you're a more common size you can almost always find a bargain. Alas, Elomi is one of those brands that only goes on sale several times a year but when it does I pounce and buy several more. I never buy the matching panties unless they are a cut that will flatter me and they are on sale; no exceptions. It's too easy to find inexpensive coordinating bottoms at places like TJ Maxx. So, like my shoes, I will pay retail for my brassieres if I have to - but I seldom do.

What about you?

That Cinderella Moment

Every Spashionista wants to have that Cinderella moment, the one where the handsome prince places the glass slipper on her foot and it's a perfect fit. I've had that moment, complete with handsome prince, every time I visit my friend Matthew Bretherick's shoe store. As you can see from the photo I'm a frequent visitor. Everything you see below has served me better than a coach and footman ever could - and these definitely did not turn into a pumpkin and mice after midnight.

Matty is currently the manager of a Shi by Journeys store at the Galleria Mall in Franklin, Tn, but we met several years ago while he was managing the Shi at the Opry Mills Mall. In an outlet mall filled with bargain shoe stores how do you get customers to bypass them and buy from you? How do you see to it that your store is always busy and your profits up? How do you go from managing an outlet mall store to managing the one Nashville's upper-crust and their stylists frequent?

The answer is deceptively simple. Treat your customers as if they are the most important person on the planet, because if you're in sales they are. Of course, Matty is not just a terrific salesman, he is also one of the most generous, open-hearted people I know. It doesn't matter to him that I'm old enough to be his mother and in a wheelchair, we are thick as thieves.

The ritual is always the same. We hug and catch up on life for a few minutes then Matty disappears into the back. He returns carrying many shoeboxes filled with styles he thinks I will like and can wear.  After my third or so visit not only does he remember my shoe size and favorite color, he knows my left foot is wider so it's the one I favor when trying on shoes to check for good fit. He also understands my feet don't work well in barely-there flats and I can't wear sandals or impossibly high heels - but those grey ankle boots pictured above are a dream to wear. If he doesn't have my size in a color I want he'll check for fit with a different color and have the ones I want shipped to my house. The red Frye boots are an example, and that's important to me because I find it especially difficult to find boots that fit properly. I paid full price for those boots four years ago and have never regretted it. I'd say the photo represents a  near 50-50 split of full-priced and sale-priced footwear.

There's the infamous white oxfords from Fashion Friday: American and Proud! and Red, White and Blue.

So what's the big deal? If you're a Spashionista and are lucky enough to find a Matty to help you find shoes that are not only stylish but fit you properly you are investing in clothing that works well and goes a long way towards making you look great with very little effort. If you live anywhere near Franklin, Tn it's worth you while to go see the real Matty (but, be warned, only I get to call him "Matty". You have to call him Matthew. If you call him "Matt" his Mother will not be pleased!). If not, let me know if you've found someone in your life that has proven to be your fashion angel.