This month, we’re headed south—to South Carolina, that is—with amBRAssador Jeanette. She’s got the inside scoop on what to see, do, eat and drink in Charleston.
If you like good food, good drinks, architecture and history, it’s the perfect place. The later you go in summer, the hotter and steamier it gets.
Where to stay in Charleston
I went with a few college friends to visit our friend Shaun, who lives there. We stayed with Shaun in the Avondale section of Charleston, less than 15 minutes from downtown.
Consider looking into the Vendue Hotel. It’s a cool boutique hotel dedicated to art—there’s even an artist in residence—right smack in the middle of the action. It’s reasonably priced, exceedingly beautiful and has a rooftop bar.
Summer is half over, half gloriously ahead—we’re still all about endlessly lounging on the deck and weekend trips to the closest beach. That doesn’t mean your bathing suit shopping days are done. In fact, right now is an ideal time to score some serious bargains to round out your aquatic wardrobe.
We asked Bare Necessities swimwear buyer Megan Puma to curate her favorite under-$100 swimwear options in four must-have categories. Read on as our in-house expert helps you find the best bathing suit buys.
Stephanie Makrias’s Having a B.R.A. (Before – Revelation – After) Fit search for a swimsuit was textbook trial and error. As with April Compertore, finding the right fit and support mattered more than troubleshooting her bra size and, as petite as Stephanie is, not everything worked as expected on her figure.
Stephanie, the copy chief at Entrepreneur magazine, had never tried a bra-sized swimsuit before. She flagged a dozen possible suits—solids, prints, bikinis, tankinis, one-pieces—for upcoming trips to the Jersey shore and to visit her father in Florida. “From experience, I know you have to try on a million to find one,” she said. “This process is somewhat terrifying, but I trust I’m in great hands.”
amBRAssador Brittany assured her of it: “Especially with a swimsuit, our main interest is your comfort. If you’re not completely comfortable, that will come across in whatever you wear. I’m here to make sure you’re feeling confident along the way.”
Ladies, ye of the larger chests: Gather ’round, because it’s time to figure out the best suits for us to wear this season. We know that we’ve got a different, ahem, set of problems than many of our sisters.
I’m with you; I am one of you. I, too, have heard the friends lamenting about how they wish their chests were bigger, not realizing the #struggleisreal to find something that doesn’t make you overly matronly…or overly sexy…but just right.
Today, on the eve of July 4th and not a moment too soon, we’re coming to grips with some of our gripes and getting stellar advice on flattering options for the curvaceous among us from swimwear buyer and resident expert Megan Puma.
The next Bare Necessities staffer who hit the road is Kathy Hein, our director of customer service. (Last month, we traveled vicariously to Puerto Rico with Tera Gallagher.) Let’s check out what there is to do up in the Adirondack Mountains, shall we?
Why Lake Placid
We always do a beach vacation, but my husband isn’t exactly what you would call a beach person. So this year, we decided to do a mountain vacation.
Where to stay in Lake Placid
We stayed in a junior suite at the Whiteface Lodge. The Lodge is amazing. It has a bowling alley, movie theater, spa, indoor/outdoor pools, game room and a couple of restaurants.
For hair and makeup artist Bruce Dean, a typical day is never typical. He could be working with magazines (Vogue, Elle, Paper, Playboy, Men’s Health), models (Robyn Lawley, Lauren Mellor, Sean O’Pry), musicians (Missy Elliott, Cyndi Lauper, Gwen Stefani, Maroon 5), actors (Amy Poehler, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon, Sandra Bernhard, Paul Rudd, Alan Cumming), Broadway stars (the casts of Bombay Dreams, Steel Magnolias and Heathers) or us here at Bare Necessities.
That unpredictable mix of high-pressure, high-profile work could be a recipe for burnout, but Bruce’s easygoing, charming demeanor—he treats the talent with the same respect as the rest of the crew—ensures he takes it all in stride. Bruce, who learned how to do makeup growing up in Ventura, California, by practicing on himself and his younger sisters, is equally happy to glamorize the elite as he is his friends. He’s just as comfortable on the red carpet as he is (wait for it) quilting at home in Spanish Harlem, New York City. Though he has the world’s best products at his fingertips, it’s only fitting that, as a makeup artist, he says his perfect day must include “making someone smile.”
Read more about the man who knows how to bring out the best in anyone, inside and out.
Sexy is in the eye of the beholder, so when it comes to swim season, there’s more than one way to make a splash. As with so many things in life, it all comes down to attitude and personal style. Sexy can be as subtle as it is bold and brazen: “Sexy swimwear can sound intimidating, but it really doesn’t have to be at all,” says Bare Necessities swimwear buyer Megan Puma. “For example, if you opt for a one-piece with sheer mesh panels, you’re fully covered, yet the overall look still reads sexy.”
Consider this summer your personal platform to show as much—or as little—skin as you like. “The most important thing is your comfort level,” says Megan. “If you feel hot, you look hot. It’s as simple as that.” Here are her picks, arranged from smoldering to blazing hot.
April Compertore, 35, is never not on the go. She’s a meeting planner and a mother of two little girls, and both roles keep her on the move. As a former professional touring musical theater performer, though, she’s used to it.
These days, April is always up for “giving my daughters experiences,” which, in the summer, usually translates to getting into a swimsuit and hitting an amusement park or town pool. And she definitely wouldn’t mind parking it for a few days in a lounge chair on a Caribbean island for her ten-year anniversary with her husband later this year.
For all these reasons, April was game for Having a B.R.A. (Before – Revelation – After) Fit, the swimwear edition. While she wasn’t far off in terms of bra size, she was missing the style and support a bra-sized swimsuit can give and the precious free time a personal shopper could save her.
Andrea Cronberg’s life hasn’t always been nonstop glitz and glamour. Her first job was as a house cleaner. Andrea grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago and started modeling in grade school after a family friend noticed her at a Fourth of July party and suggested she give it a go. Andrea got signed in Chicago and, after stints in Milan, Germany and Miami, eventually moved to New York City.
In her free time, the fitness fan—Crossfit is her workout of choice—is involved in charity events with Goodeed, and she’ll never turn down a Friday Night Lights marathon. Let’s get into it with Andrea and the modeling industry, shall we?
Having a B.R.A. (Before – Revelation – After) Fit is headed on vacation. Out of office. Having a moment in the sun.
Now through August, we’re delivering bra-sized swimwear success stories. And we’re kicking things off with Danielle LaBarbera, a 34-year-old life insurance agent and single mother to a 14-year-old daughter.