Myth-Busting & Mentors

Melanie Love & Sandra Sing Fernandes

Melanie Love & Sandra Sing Fernandes

I grew up believing the myth of the self-made (wo)man.

One part of how this myth shaped me focused on the “self-made” part. I truly believed that to succeed and to have actually earned that success, you had to do it all yourself. This came with a sidecar: that asking for help was absolutely verboten .

I was lucky enough to work for some very successful men in my early 20’s. I saw that if they had a problem, they picked up the phone and call someone for help. They didn’t ruminate or get stuck trying to figure it out themselves – their only thought was who they would call first.

The first time I saw this my ill-informed younger self thought “Geez, this guy doesn’t do anything himself, he’s always calling for help. What an impostor!” Thankfully the Universe was persistent in providing examples for me and I worked for other successful men who did the SAME thing.

It dawned on me that this wasn’t a failure – it was the key to their success! There is no such thing as a self-made man or woman. It takes all kinds of help to be successful in life. Unfortunately, a lot of us aren’t great at asking for help. We don’t want to look dumb, weak or incompetent.

It takes a village: a team working with us towards our goals, advisors to keep us out of trouble, been-there-done-that mentors to show us the way, accountability partners to hold our feet to the fire, friends and family to cheer us on and dust us off when we’ve hit the dirt.

So when I put my hand up (via a social media contact) and got the opportunity to have lunch with an Alberta business icon, I chose Sandra Sing Fernandes – named one of Alberta Venture magazine’s Top 50 Most Influential People for 2015.

A former model and graduate of New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, Sandra worked her way up in the fashion and art worlds. She is the founder and Creative Director of Western Canada Fashion Week and the Editor-in-Chief of Phabrik Magazine.

A free hour with an industry mentor? Sign me up!

I resisted the urge to try and impress her, instead laying my problems and obstacles at her feet along with my vision for the future. It worked – one hour turned to three. I got all sorts of feedback and even better, an open door to ask her about my future issues.

Who do you call for help? Do you have all the cast required for your epic production? Where else do you need support?  Leave a comment below, on Facebook or on Twitter.

To your success,
Melanie & Front Room HQ

To read the full interview, click here.

For more on mentorship and success check out the article links we’ve gathered on our Movin’ On Up Pinterest board here.  We’ve also got outfit suggestions that are corner-office ready and the handbags to go with it.

Tag! #Fail #FrontRoom #NotPorn

We need help…. Front Room clothing was created as a solution for you: a busty professional woman who couldn’t find clothing to fit your curves – all of them. Your big boobs, torso, waist and tush.Instagram #FAIL #theRPMProject #FrontRoom(1)

See all the key words in that sentence? Busty. Full bust. Curves. Boobs. They all make sense and are decidedly #notporn when we’re talking about our wardrobe essentials.

But when we describe these attributes online using hashtags, the search engines lose the context and turn your clothing solution into adult material.  (Google penalizes adult content, either removing the offending site from the search results or putting them waaaay at the back.)

We’re in luck!  We’re one of ten finalists to win up to $25,000 of professional marketing support from the William Joseph Agency.

You can help us lead from the front by Tweeting or re-Tweeting posts with tags #FrontRoom AND #TheRPMProject or simply by by clicking on the link on our site .  Each one counts as a vote for us (until October 21st).

We want your suggestions for a hashtag we full-busted professional women could own.  Why bother? Hashtags make it easier to find more content relevant to us (and less of what isn’t).  What should we call our segment of the big boob club?

With your suggestions and their marketing help, we could make sure that we reach all the ladies out there who need #uppermanagement (see, we really do need marketing help…)

Send us your ideas:


Here’s to taking over the world!
Sho & Front Room HQ

Giving Back

As smart, savvy, women of action we know that it is so important to give back.  We do it in our personal lives and here at Front Rom we’re making it a big part of our business.

There are so many people, animals, organizations in need that it can be totally overwhelming.  How to choose among all the worthy causes?  We realized that the easiest way to help is to think of ourselves first.  Say what?  Allow us to explain.

We realized that asking “How can I help <INSERT TRAGIC NEED HERE>?” can be paralyzing so asking “What do I have to give?” is easier.

That’s how we started. Besides beauty, brains, sparkling personality and of course, modesty, what do we have?

We have clothes. There are people who need clothes. Donating clothes seems like a good start.

Next question, how do we make the most impact with what we have?

Making ChangesWe’re partnering with Making Changes in Calgary. Making Changes works at “Empowering women to make meaningful contributions to the community.” And it does.

There are employment and life skills programs to support women in their personal and professional development; and two programs to help women and girls in need find clothes for work and improve their employment options.

We share the understanding that having work-appropriate clothes inspires self-confidence and can help women present their best self forward. (Almost typed ‘breast self’ there… near miss!)

We are thrilled to partner with an organization with such a powerful mission. That’s a start.

Because our founder Melanie has a big brain to go with her ample assets, she realized she could contribute more. She has joined with hundreds of other women to start a fund that will not only finance, but also support women-owned ventures. Beyond money, she is giving of herself, sharing her business-brains with other women to support their success. That’s her impact. To learn more about the SheEO movement, click here.

We  want to know how where and how you give back.  Share your favorite organizations and causes below.

To learn about more great projects and organizations, check out our Good Works page on Pinterest.

Here’s to more being more,
Melanie & Front Room HQ

At Front Room, we’re just starting out. We’re creating the best fitting work wear essentials for the busty boss lady, piece by piece. But we know you need more clothes than your 9 to 5 pieces. To help you shine in every aspect of your life, here is the first in a series of posts about the best dressed options (clothes, swimwear and bras) for full-busted boss ladies!

Big Boob Problem Solved: Sundress Your Best
We hear you sisters.  It is the dog-days of August and way too hot outside!  Some boob-friendly sundresses are required.

We don’t make sundresses (yet) but we’ll share some options from the full-busted clothing brands who do.

Yes, you’ll have to order them online.  You’re already used to doing that for the best selection for large cup bras though so no biggie.

Pepperberry has the best selection by far.  Our only complaint is that they tend to focus only on empire-waisted styles.  As an hourglass Melanie prefers a lower waistline for her best look.  But beggars can’t be choosers.

Here are a few of our faves from Pepperberry, Urkye, biu biu, DD Atelier and Saint Bustier (not affiliate links).  Yes, they’re technically competitors but we in the Sisterhood of the Shoulder Dents need lots of options so we’re happy to highlight them for you. BONUS: most items are on sale.  Enjoy!

Joanna Maxi (I own this from past seasons)

Pepperberry Joanna Maxi (Melanie owns this from past seasons) link

Zoe Stripe in Denim

Pepperberry Zoe Stripe in Denim link

Erica Shell Dress

Pepperberry Erica Shell Dress (Melanie owns this from past season too!) link









Washed Stripe Maxi

Pepperberry Washed Stripe Maxi link

biu biu Nezca Lines Maxi

biu biu Nazca Lines Maxi link










biu biu Martini Blue

biu biu Martini Blue link

Red Polka Dot

Urkye Red Polka Dot link










DD Atelier Floral link

Saint Bustier Rosalind

Saint Bustier Rosalind link









Saint Bustier Riviera

Saint Bustier Riviera link

As with all summer online shopping…best enjoyed with a cold, refreshing cocktail in hand.

Cheers to you,
Melanie & Front Room HQ

For more outfit ideas Follow us on Polyvore or Pinterest, which ever P suits you to a T.

For future posts on solutions to big boob probs, and to be the first to know when we DO release sundresses and other future styles (cocktail dresses perhaps… ) subscribe here!

Fashion is Dealing with Big Breasts – Good News & Bad

Big boobs were in the news a lot this week; Reformation launched a boob-friendly line, then there was reaction to the lack of large cup sizes and most recently a young actress shared her decision to have breast-reduction surgery.

Ms. Winter cited being really uncomfortable with all of the focus on her assets, the bullying/harassment, and feeling crappy because nothing fricking fits when you’re stacked.

We feel ya sister!  By no means are you alone in your experiences.

big boobs small boobs not happy

The grass is always greener – c/o Busty Girl Comics

My own experience is similar to Ms. Winter: I developed quite early and was treated WAY inappropriately for my age.  My first bra (at age 10, grade 5) was a 34C and boy was I bullied at my elementary school.  It made it worse that I am tall-ish  (I hit my current 5’7″ at 11). I was mistaken for 17 at age 11 and hit on by men of wildly inappropriate ages.

I was (and am) subjected to tacky and tasteless commentary from both men and women – including well-meaning friends and family! Catcalls from strangers + Are they real? How BIG are they??  I bet you don’t do yoga..har har.  Why don’t you put those things away? How long since you’ve seen your feet? sigh…

All of this goes back to why I started Front Room: because how we look dramatically influences how we feel.  Even when you’re a gorgeous young actor with the world in the palm of our hands. .. or a senior lawyer at a law firm.  Or a politician. Or an analyst on Bay Street, as I used to be.

If clothes don’t fit quite right we don’t feel great and don’t put ourselves out there as much as we should.  We absolutely MUST put our hands up because too many of us wait until we feel completely ready and let opportunities pass us by.  (See my post from last week for more.)

It is a problem that people can’t focus on our message for ogling the mammaries.  People judge us, within seconds.  So we need clothes that fit so we can be the total package, rather than the chick with the big rack… what did she say again?? Helloooo…#eyesuphere!!

One solution is a reduction.  I can’t imagine doing it though times I have been sorely tempted, pun intended.  I totally get why women do it and applaud their courage to go under the knife.

The other solution is clothes designed for big boobs.  GASP!  What a concept.
How about clothing tight enough to show you’re a woman, loose enough to show you’re a lady?
Clothing with no pulling, no gaping, and no exposure of boobs or bra sound good?  Wish granted.
This is exactly how I designed Front Room clothes to fit.

So shop now!  Give your self-esteem a boost. (Most commonly heard from the changerooms:  “Oh my GOD. It fits!  I have a waist!” often followed by a heartfelt thank you to be finally included in fashion.)

What have you got to lose? We’ve got an awesome return policy that is WAY better for our subscribers (as in free*).  So yes, you want to get on our list.

To rocking what you’ve got,
Melanie & Front Room HQ

*For prompt returns. See our Customer Happiness page for full details.

Throw Your Hands Up at Me!

The mighty Queen B. was on to something there.HandsUp_img
You read the posting for the new job or board position and think, “I couldn’t possibly.  They won’t pick me.  I don’t check all the boxes.  I’m not qualified enough.”

Let’s review, you’re:

  • One smart cookie.
  • Educated, in both classroom and industry.
  • A quick study, all that info gets sucked into your big brain like magic.
  • Dedicated doesn’t even begin to describe your work ethic, and
  • You get it.

So why aren’t you putting your hand up more?

Yes, the volume on the Itty Bitty Shitty Committee that lives in your head is going to get loud.  It’s going to ask you, “Who the hell you think you are…” Don’t let the impostor thoughts stop you before you start.  If you wait until all the boxes are checked, the opportunity might be lost for good.  As the brilliant Seth Godin says “You need to press the buzzer before you know the answer.”

What are you waiting for?

The guys don’t wait.  They barely bother to consider if they have the qualifications – as with sports, they let the refs tell them whether they should be in the penalty box or on the field.  They don’t opt themselves out first.  They put their hand up to get picked, then figure out how to get it done.

Put yourselves in the shoes of the person filling the posting.  Do you want somebody who already knows how to do everything the job demands?  No way.  They’re going to be bored and have no place to grow.  They’ll be mailing it in until a better opportunity comes by.

Sure, you might not get picked.  You might have to convince somebody how your skills translate so you’d be a great asset for their organization.  At minimum, putting your hand up increases your visibility and might lead to being top of mind for the next great opportunity.

What are you holding back from really going for?  Put yourself in the running and give yourself a shot.

To your success,

For more on this topic, read Bruce Kasanoff’s take in Forbes, “If You’re Competent, Its time to be Confident”

Full-Busted Bra Sizing Guide

Fitting anything on top of our ample accessories seemingly requires engineering and physics to get them locked, loaded and looking great in an outfit.  Why full-busted women are treated like second-class citizens (at best) or freaks (worse) is baffling.  When it comes to bras and clothes, those of us in the Big Boob Club get screwed.  We’ve got great assets!  (and we look great naked.)

We’d love to sell our Front Room clothing by bra size but we can’t, for a variety of reasons.

  • Most women are wearing the wrong size, because
  • Bra sizing isn’t standardized and is seriously effing (and unnecessarily) complicated above a D-cup. We’re going to refer to UK sizing here because US sizing is even more screwed up above a D (DD, DDD, DDDD – because anything above a D is unusual??).

We wish bras were sized by volume! As in, how big of a handful are you? A navel orange, a grapefruit, a cantaloupe, a watermelon? A navel orange would be a navel orange, no matter the band size. But nooo, a D cup is a different volume of boobage depending on the bra size. A 32D is MUCH less breast volume than a 38D, which is why you hear about “sister sizes” = equivalent breast volume across band sizes.

Not all DD's are equal

Not all DD’s are equal

Confused yet?

We’ll start backwards. You’re wearing the wrong size bra if:

  • The back of your bra rides up (that is, it isn’t horizontal at the back). Your band size is too big and you need to size down.
  • The centre front of your bra pulls away (that is, it doesn’t sit flat against your torso). Your cup size is too small and you need go up.
  • You’ve got chubby armpits or “back fat”. Quite often this is compressed breast tissue that has been squished backwards by wearing the wrong size.
  • You’ve got quad-boob: the tops of the cups are digging in to the upper part of your breast. Definitely a sign for a bigger cup size.
  • Stand up with your arms at your side. Bend your arms to form an L. If your boobs are more than halfway down to your elbow, you need a new bra with more support to hike those girls up.  You’ll thank us when it looks like you’ve lost 10 pounds instantly.

Like finding great fitting jeans, the right size (leg length and waist size) is only the beginning.  Your shape plays a huge role as well (boob shape influences bra fit, just as bum shape informs what style of jean look best on you).

Bra fitting 101 – what size are you?
Bra fitting 102 – understanding “sister” sizes
Bra fitting 201 – what shape are you?

How to find the right size for your big boobs? It takes two measurements* to get started.

You’ll need a tape measure, a notepad and pen and to get nekkid from the waist up.

  • Bend over with a flat back, measure your bust at the fullest part. Write this number down (we’ll call this A).
  • Now stand up, exhale and measure snugly under your boobs around the ribcage. Write this number down (we’ll call this B).
  • Subtract B from A. Write this number down. The difference in your full bust circumference and your underbust will determine your size.

*Remember, this is only step one. This measurement will tell you what postal code of full-busted bra country you should be looking in. Perfect fit takes a little more investigation.

Don’t be shocked if you get a number in the high 20’s. That is your proper band size and just because the local mall doesn’t carry it doesn’t mean it isn’t legit.

Prefer video?  Watch here:

Enter your numbers here: or use this chart

Bust measurement into cup size

Chart source:

Don’t be shocked if you’ve gone up in the alphabet. This is your proper size. I’m not exactly sure where we got the idea that DD’s are huge, but they’re not.

And shame on major magazines for continuing to perpetuate the myth of bra sizing, as recently as Elle’s July 2015 boob issue (their title, not ours) noting bra sizes on celebrities Alessandra Ambrosio (34B), Kim Kardashian (34D) and Kate Upton (34DD). I don’t know what their actual sizes but there is a very slim chance teeny tiny Alessandra has a 34” underbust measurement, much less Kim or Kate.  Think about it:  Alessandra maybe wears a size 26-ish jean – if she were a 34″ at the ribcage, she’d be shaped like an inverted triangle (she’s not).  BTW – Kate Upton’s agent touted her size as a 34C when I spoke to him just over a year ago. Um, no.

Back to sister sizes. As with all clothing, bras fit differently across brands and even between styles. You may need to go up or down depending on fit.

If the 34FF is feeling snug only in the band, head up to 36 and down to an F (bigger band, same bust volume). Snug in the boobage and loose in the band? Head down to a 32. (smaller band) The sister size for 34FF is 32G so you’ll need to go up to a GG to get the extra room.

Sister sizes

Sister sizes

Chart source

For extra credit, do the quiz at bratabase to learn if your boobs:

  • Have a small root or a large root? Certain underwires may be too wide or too narrow.
  • Close together or further apart?  You’ll need to watch the width of the centre front (gore).
  • Off to the side? Bras with side sling can bring them front and centre (slimming!).
  • Fuller on the bottom or the top? If you’re full on top you’re often prone to the quad-boob effect while full on bottom has a hard time with puckering.
  • Narrow or sloped shoulders? That strap slippage may not be due to fit. Balconettes will be problematic due to their wide-set straps.

You care because these differences are what makes certain styles fit better than others. (Just like knowing if you have a full bum or a flat bum will determine what fit of jean works best for your shape.)

We’ve just skimmed the surface here. For a robust discussion (couldn’t help it), see this reddit

Our favorite places to buy full-busted bras (not affiliate links):

  • Butterfly Collection – they know boobs. Just ask for help if you have questions.
  • Bravissimo – great service, even from afar. Ask questions about sizing via email and they’ll help you out.  Have their own line of lingerie and swimwear.
  • Herroom – a somewhat helpful universal bra sizer (getting back to the boob volume idea) across brands. The fact that it stops at D (D7, D8, etc.) is beyond idiotic but we applaud the idea.

We’ve started a Pinterest board of our favorite bra styles.  Check it out here:

New to Front Room?  Want more content like this?  Want early access to our sales, pre-buy opportunities for upcoming styles and *free return shipping? Get on the list here for your all-access pass.

VIP Launch! We’re Busting It Out!!

Would you like VIP early-access to the Front Room online store? Sign up below and we’ll send you a VIP password.

You’ll also get early access to our sales, pre-buy opportunities for upcoming styles and *free return shipping? Get on the list here for your all-access pass.

While you’re there, make sure you check out our awesome return policy.  Free return shipping* is another of the benefits you get for being a loyal subscriber. We can’t wait to hear what you think of our launch lineup!

We’re on Twitter, FaceBook, Instagram and Pinterest for those of you who like to get social.

To finally having great clothes for your spectacular assets,
Melanie & Front Room HQ

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