CurvyHK

Asian-chested is not an oxymoron

Archive for the category “Bloggy Posts”

Where I Fit In

I left Korea several months ago. All the good and the bad are physically behind me now. Behind me also, a culture of hyper-conservative appearance draped over a very complicated attitude towards sexuality. So, boobs? No.

Now I live back in the States! A beautiful place, awash in bikini-clad tourists and strapless dresses and low-cut shirts. Boobs? Yes, very many.

But me? I’ve been trying to find myself in Korea for three years! I found a style for me that was right. Rephrase: I found a style that worked for me who lived in Korea. Transplant me to a part of the States where the weather is always amazing and it’s constantly tourist season, and it works less perfectly.

I’m still trying to find a style that works, but I’m really happy to find that my mindset is still very “I love my body!” I am astonishingly comfortable walking around in my bikini top (yay, Freya!!) at the beach, so really all I have to figure out is what to wear when I finally get a job!

A Jab at Personal Blogging: The Antelope Blog

CurvyHK is my platform for discussing the intersection of Curvy and HK, and my revelations about physical health, body image, and beauty that have stemmed from studying that intersection.

Then it got deep and personal. Really personal.

Which was great for me, because it helped me identify and confront my thoughts. But it wasn’t great for what I had planned for this website. So here’s the separation.

I’ve moved all of my too-personal posts from CurvyHK over to my new personal blog, The Antelope Blog. I haven’t made it pretty and presentable with images yet, but that’s my new venue for introspective and lifey things. Such as… my engagement!

Hope to see you lovely readers there~

Happy New Year

This blog is not one of those that you check your schedule to see, “Hey, it’s Monday! Let’s go check out CHK’s new post.” It’s one of those that keep information up so that people can find me through search engines when they want specific information. I may not have intended it to be this way, but I’ve built this system to work.

(The above is just something that I’m trying to keep in mind for myself.)

Honestly, I don’t have the passion or expertise to blog regularly. And I only want to write when I have both.

That’s what I’m going to do!

That means that I may step a bit away from bras and breasts. The name of this site is CurvyHK, not Bras from That Girl. What I write should be what’s relevant and what’s current to me, as a woman, as a Chinese-American, as a person who’s in the life situation that I am now. (And just for the record–it’s a darn good life situation.)

Hi…

And she’s alive!!

I’m going to be honest here.

A big reason for my absence is laziness.

Another is lack of inspiration, lack of interest, and lack of willpower to sit down and type about bras. I’ve exhausted a lot of what I’ve wanted to talk about.

Another is an overwhelming backlog of “oh I should write about and publish this” ideas. The problem is, they’re only ideas and I’m unable, or unwilling, to flesh them out into legitimate pieces of writing.

Another is that I’ve just seen so many good things, so many new and informative things come from fellow bloggers that I don’t feel that my contributions are really all that necessary.

 

So, for laziness, well, that’s just something I’ve got to work through.

As for this lack of willpower, that’s actually something I should be writing about. I really have not been thinking about bras and how they pertain to my personal life, to my everyday actions and thoughts, and that’s a huge shift from just one year ago. I haven’t been paying attention and I think it’s really significant that I can and do simply go through life now without always thinking about bras and breasts. Of course, there’s still a huge part in my life for body image, especially considering how I work with supremely image-conscious students and colleagues now.

The backlog is a legitimate problem. I have little sparks of hmm, I could write about this, but for other reasons, I don’t write about them, and as time passes, the potential for them to be relevant and helpful and appealing for me to write really just slides away.

And the other bloggers being fantastic? That’s just a good thing. I think I have a shot as being good too! And then I remind myself that I have something unique to contribute as well, and it’s right in the name: CurvyHK. Power to those who are victimized by stereotype! Let’s get this blog going again ❤

Perspectives: Modesty on the Other Side

I’ve been in Korea for a while now. I love it, I’m making it my home, and I’m looking forward to the rest of my time here, however long it may be.

As I’ve grown up in a version of Chinese culture, the culture shock to me is not as great as it is to some of my fellow foreigners. There are still lots of ideas and habits here that are totally strange to me though.

Korea is a fairly conservative culture, thanks in most part, I think, to Confucian influence. However, if you look at their pop culture icons, or at the younger generation of children and adults, you’ll find tight clothing, sheer clothing, “artfully” ripped clothing, clothing that just has great “sexy” holes”, extremely short bottoms, you name it.

This is one of the most popular singing groups in recent weeks. Their image is sweet and innocent, the adorable "girls next door". Look at how much shoulder they show... and then look at how much leg they show. I don't mean to be judgmental, just surprised that this is perfectly acceptable and fits into their proposed image.

This is one of the most popular singing groups in recent weeks. Their image is sweet and innocent, the adorable “girls next door”. Look at how much shoulder they show… and then look at how much leg they show. I don’t mean to be judgmental; I’m just surprised that this is perfectly acceptable and fits into their proposed image.

However: beware if you are a normal citizen (or alien resident) parading around in the streets in a sleeveless top! Or if, who could imagine, a top that fits your shape instead of draping around it!

korean fashion cardigan fake two piece knit tops k517 Green-3Korean_Fashion_Large_Pentagon_Embellished_Loose_Sweater_with_Scarf

I googled “Korean fashion” and found these two tops to be most representative of what I see out and about these days. Long and drapey with safely concealed shoulders and zero cleavage.

Actually, it’s getting a bit colder, so there’s also this going on:

Yes, a jacket with short shorts or a miniskirt. I'm told this is also popular winter attire in Japan.

Yes, a jacket with short shorts or a miniskirt. I’m told this is also popular cold-weather attire in Japan.

Meanwhile, I’m stomping around with these risque tops that indicate the existence of breasts and shoulder skin (ooooh) and nice comfy jeans.

I'm so, so glad I went on a The Limited craze before coming to Korea. Even now it's almost all I wear to work.

I’m so, so glad I went on a The Limited craze before coming to Korea. Even now it’s almost all I wear to work. I also bought the one button-down that has ever worked for me at that store. Should have bought another…

With the weather cooling down, I throw on a sweater or jacket too, which helps with the shoulder bit of appeasing society… but I still like to have some space around my neck to breathe comfortably. We’ll just have to wait for scarf weather to come around!

Life Changes

I’m very, very, terribly sorry for dropping off the face of the earth. And while I’m at it, for very possible future droppings off the face of the earth. The past few months and the upcoming two, maybe three, maybe four months have been and will be packed with excitement in my personal life. I’m gearing up for some major changes and as such CurvyHK kind of got lost in the crowd.

Major changes, you say?

The angst-ridden post lamenting interview troubles was written regarding a position to work overseas. Unfortunately, my performance did not land me the job. However, I had the chance to interview for another position, in a different country.

People… I’m moving to Korea!!

I can’t wait. I’m trying so hard to not abuse emotionally-charged punctuation here, which I think is working, but if it dampens your perception of my excitement, let it now be known that I AM SO EXCITED.

I’ve immersed myself in both Korean popular and traditional culture for so long, I’ve studied and cried and laughed and suffered and celebrated in the Korean language, and I’ve worked (somewhat) hard to qualify myself to do the work I’ll be doing there. I know there’ll be unexpected issues, and I’ll know I’ll run into plenty of problems, but at this moment I feel like this step is one I’ve been ready and hovering to take for a long, long time.

What does that mean for CurvyHK?

To be honest, I think this will be a positive change. I’ll be busy with my first non-summer full-time job, which means I will have less time to spend here. However, I’ll be an outsider looking into Korean society, which means lots of social commentary and cultural comparisons.

I guess there’s another big topic I’ll begin to attack, which is work-appropriate attire. This is a pretty essential concept that lots of other bloggers have written about. I’ve learned a lot from them, and I plan to learn more (so keep them coming, my friends!). I’ll try to address, specifically, how I’ll need to stay conscious of the more uber-conservative work culture of Korea (or larger East Asia), but I might also work up the courage to start taking pictures of myself for this blog.

I do have a backlog of posts to get out, including those sock posts I promised oh so long ago!

But to give this post just a bit more content, give this a little thought:

Japan is notorious for popping out the occasional unconventional vending machines. The latest to hit the Internet is a bra vending machine. What think you?

(I think it’s a cute gimmick, but probably not at all useful or popular.)

Socks Are Also Quite Intimate, No?

It’s not quite that I’ve been wearing “badly-fitting socks”, but I do really like socks, and I have several pairs that are actually very meaningful to me (like the Halloween bat socks that I bought freshman year of college to treat myself and still cheers me up every time I put them on, the tabi socks I’ll talk about below, the “no-show” thin liner socks that actually still show but were free because I bought some shoes that were on clearance [which is really one of the weirder policies I’ve encountered: “hey, thanks for paying us much less for your items, let me give you free stuff as well”, the super tech-y Adidas athletic socks that I bought the day my friend was trying to convince me to buy shoes…). And besides sentimental value, there are some really unique socks that are very much worth thinking and writing about. So, yup. Socks now.

I have to do a lot of walking and standing where I currently work, and the past weeks I’m been experiencing some pain. Specifically, my last two toes of each foot were rubbing together and trying to out-blister each other.

My mind went straight to a particular pair of socks that I’ve had for a while. A tutor of mine gifted me a pair of Japanese tabi socks for Christmas several years ago, and besides having an adorable pattern, they also have a very functional split between the big toe and the rest of the sock front. The big toe is isolated and pretty well protected against… everything, I guess!

And then I thought, hey, there are probably full toe socks. I should look those up!

I’d been a customer at an online store called Sock Dreams before for arm warmers and leg warmers, and I remembered their quality products, so I made a visit to see if they carried something for me. And they did! And I bought them! And now I’m going to review socks on my bra blog!

I’ll start actual sock reviews with my next post, but first I’d like to review Sock Dreams, the store. (They very nicely emailed me their beautiful logo; click on it to visit them!) Again, it’s an online retailer for socks and similar accessories with a physical store based in Oregon. The actual products I bought last time are long gone (makes sense because this was years and years ago). However, both that experience as well as my recent one were very pleasant. The ordering process is clean and simple. Registration is optional for placing orders, and standard shipping is both fast and free in the US. Payment options include CC and Paypal.

There’s also a superb customer-based aspect of this website/company that I really appreciate. For pretty much every single product on their catalog, there’s a (seemingly personally written) description of known sizing, fit, and material facts. Is it prone to tearing or snagging? Is it stretchy enough to fit feet of a wide range of sizes? Details like this make the store super personable and make me strangely agreeable about forking over as much as ten bucks for a single pair of socks.

Stay tuned for a set of three reviews of Sock Dreams purchases: Injinji Lightweight RUN Toe Socks, Basic Five Toes, and Silk Ballerina Toes. (links will be updated as posts are published)

Wishful Thinking

I’ve been working on noticing the kinds of clothes that look good on me, and how garment fit works in general. Although my progress is slow and not very steady, I like to think that I’m learning something.

For example, I know that even if it were in stock and stocked in my size, this dress, adorable as it may be, would look very very different on me than on this model:

ASOS Bunny DressIt sucks that I like it so much and that I actually think I’d look good in it (two things that don’t often happen, especially with a dress), but I’m realizing just looking at the design of the dress that the upwards-pointing waist would wrap under my breasts in a very “HERE WE ARE” way, probably east-westing them, which would add to pulling that middle slit even farther apart. Nope, we’re done window-shopping this dress. (But aww bunnies, right?)

Well, Sometimes Things Show When You Wear Them

Thanks to George Takei. I love this guy; he’s witty and adorable and passionate about awesome things. Also, he shares lots of funnies on his Facebook page.

Your strap is showing.

Back before I learned about bra sizing, my straps were constantly falling over, so if I wore T-shirts or other short sleeves, they’d fall right out. One time, my friend commented, “Your bra strap is showing. How sassy!” It was just a fun “hey just so you know” with a “let’s make this less awkward with a joke” comment, but it is memorable. Bypassing bra-fitting issues–so my bra strap is showing. So what?

Not that I mind(ed, then and now) him mentioning it. It’s absolutely appreciated, just as I appreciate “hey your shirt’s ripped in the back”, “your kitchen’s on fire”, “there’s food in your hair”, and “there’s a monkey on top of your head”. But society-wise, culture-wise, (and a nod to the Modesty Panel: modesty-wise) what’s the big deal about a bra strap peeking out, intentional or not?

Just to avoid throwing these questions out to the Internet!wind and leaving them hanging, I’ll contribute an attempt to address it. It’s a big deal in Chinese culture for any type of undergarment to show. (In TV shows and movies depicting historical China, they’ll imply intimacy between characters by showing them waking up in their undergarments, which are pretty much the same things as normal clothes except undyed/white. How scandalous!) My female relatives in Hong Kong would definitely not hesitate to point out a wandering bra strap with “you need to put that away”.

(Funny anecdote unrelated to bras: Remember the VS shirts I raved about once upon a time? My cousin-in-law called it a “deep V”, and I can’t help chuckling every time I think of this shirt being categorized as deep anything.

Well, yes, it’s more revealing on me than on other possible wearers due to my bust, but if I had to define “deep V”, I’d first be thinking about the shape of the letter V which personally has to at least be an acute angle. This shirt? Maybe a hyper-shallow V if you want to call it a V at all. Seriously. The neckline is practically a flat line. [I just very nerdily measured the image against a protractor and it’s 135°. Nowhere near acute!])

(Still laughing.)

Anyway, to conservative members of the Chinese population, and to more “radical” ones (the “deep V” cousin-in-law is considered extremely modern, radical and hip), visible bra straps are an absolute no-go. I’m not sure what it would indicate to them, though. Laziness? Promiscuity? Lack of self-respect, or respect for others? Probably all of the above.

 

Edit: An interesting thought occurred to me. The people who object to visible bra straps are, logically, very likely to be the same people who object to visible/apparent nipples, for the same reason. How counter-intuitive, that these two oppositely related situations provoke the same social reaction!

Spoke Too Soon

Either that or I jinxed myself last time by saying that the eczema hadn’t come back since the first time. That’s right, she’s made a second appearance! Far from full-blown; it’s a mild outbreak (for now. *knocks on wood*). But it’s itchy and uncomfortable and not very pretty and more than enough to send me into a flying panic.

I have to say, though, I think that blogging here has done wonders for my self-perception and confidence. Yay, right?

In other news: I have been spending way too much time and money on ebay lately, but I’ll justify my splurges this year with the facts that I’ve gotten good quality stuff (upgrading my clothing with nicer blouses) that should last me relatively forever (yay awesome CDs and comic books, and for not having to pay rent yet).

Also, I finally scored a Deco! I’m really excited, although I feel really bad for the person I outbid.

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