Earlier in life, our petite power figure Emily Lau was a television writer/producer in California, forever on the prowl for bras that served her 32B chest. She could only find “glorified training bras” or those with “push-up padding that felt like pillows on straps,” she said. “Nothing really fit my smaller body type properly. I wanted a bra that gave me shape as well as looked good, especially when I wore wrap dresses and deep V-neck T-shirts. I still wanted to look like my natural self, just with a little more cleavage.”
Ninety-nine percent of us would have given up and settled for either uncomfortable or unattractive bras, but not Emily. Somewhere inside her, a wire tripped; she believed she could do better by women like herself. So in May 2007, The Little Bra Company—where “good things do come in small packages”—was born.
“I loved my career, but I had a real passion for lingerie that I’m happy I pursued.” As are we.
Meet Tera Gallagher. She’s our premium brands assistant buyer here at Bare Necessities, and not even she was immune to the scourge of wearing the wrong bra size.
Reader, we hired her anyway.
And on Tera’s second day on the job, we saw to it that she was Having a B.R.A. (Before – Revelation – After) Fit.
Among lingerie devotees specifically and appreciators of beauty and style in general, Dita Von Teese needs no introduction. She is an iconoclast and an icon, a modern muse and of another era entirely, a larger-than-life dynamo in a soft-spoken, petite package.
Born Heather Sweet, the self-described “mediocre-looking blonde girl from a farming town in Michigan” fell under the spell of Hollywood’s Golden Age of Cinema and, at a time when the rest of America’s youth was grunging out in flannel and combat boots, set out to remake herself in its raven-haired, red-lipped image. When she discovered that many of the glamorous screen sirens she admired were also dancers, she adopted her stage name and learned the art of the striptease. Since 1992, Dita has been synonymous with burlesque and can be single-handedly credited with its revival. Everything she touches, from her Swarovski crystal-bedecked sets and couture costumes to her lingerie collection and new hosiery line—reflects her impeccable eye for detail.
This past month, hours before the final sold-out New York performance of her latest show, “The Art of the Teese,” Dita visited Bare Necessities to tell us firsthand about her collection—both iconic styles (like Madame X) and new additions (like her Instagram fan-selected shade of emerald green)—and how she turned herself into a Power Figure. Read on for our exclusive interview.
For three days in February and March, more than 450 of the world’s leading lingerie brands converge at CURVE New York, a trade show that takes over the gigantic Javits Center in New York City. Buyers and members of the press, Bare Necessities always among them, walk row after row to check out the latest from longtime favorites and discover new rising stars in the lingerie industry.
Here are the 2017 lingerie trends we spotted at CURVEXPO New York that got us super excited this season:
Welcome back to Having a B.R.A. (Before – Revelation – After) Fit, real stories of game-changing bra makeovers. Our expert amBRAssadors are here to help women who settled for “good enough” long ago to finally find the bras for them. Over the phone or via email or chat, they use their experience to triage your fit issues and narrow the field of available options. The results are nothing short of staggering, not to mention stunning.
As it turns out, one good makeover begets the next. After we shared Leann Dawes’ bra fit makeover on social media, we received one comment we couldn’t resist:
“Bet you can’t find a bra to fit me!”
Challenge accepted, Rebecca Mazzarella.
There’s something to be said for the effortlessness of one-and-done. When it comes to the beach or pool, you can always count on cute one-piece swimsuits to be flattering, chic and easy to wear. Though one-pieces used to be accompanied by a certain stigma—they’re only for grandmas, or to cover up body issues—these days, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. (To wit: Last Independence Day, 26-year-old Taylor Swift and her squad rocked red, white and blue one-pieces that just about broke the Internet.)
“One-pieces are great because they give you as much or as little coverage as you want. What’s your comfort level?” asks Bare Necessities swimwear buyer Megan Puma (at left). “Every trend imaginable now comes in the one-piece silhouette. The cut came back with style to spare; it’s not frumpy. Now it’s possible to be stylish and covered. Maybe even more so than in a bikini, you’re making a strong visual statement in a one-piece suit. And they can do so much more for your figure, too. Because no matter what you’re wearing, you can’t look good if you feel uncomfortable.”
Megan especially loves their versatility: “I like how you can incorporate a one-piece into an outfit, from festival fashion to going out to dinner. In this case, you can have both fashion and function.” Here are a few of her favorite stylish one-piece swimsuits for the season….
Alyssa Riley has been modeling since she was 14, when she landed her first-ever job for Kohls. In the decade since, she’s modeled for Covergirl, Guess, Saks Fifth Avenue, Crest toothpaste…the list goes on. “Chicago was the closest city with the most opportunity, so I graduated from high school at 17 and signed with Ford Models so I could fully devote myself. It’s been an interesting world to grow up in,” says Alyssa, “but my family keep me grounded—my parents are my biggest fans. I’m thankful to them for trusting me at a young age and for being there when I needed them.”
A Capricorn whose nicknames include Lys, Toad or Jubilee (“long story”), Alyssa aptly fits the model profile: outgoing, ambitious, confident and street-smart, though “I’ve been known to walk on set wearing something backwards every once in awhile,” she admits.
Growing up in Ohio, Alyssa was an athlete—she played volleyball and was trained in classical ballet—and a “pro babysitter: I love kids and taking care of people.” After bouncing from city to city for work, her life is more settled now. She lives in New York City and spends a lot of time in New Jersey, where her boyfriend lives. “I’m obsessed with cooking and being outdoors—my happy place is Montana—so it’s nice to have an escape from the city. I love weekends spent relaxing at the house, having amazing wine and cooking dinner for friends,” says Alyssa, who credits her great-grandmother for teaching her to cook and bake.
In her downtime, Alyssa is likely reading a good book (currently The Hôtel on Place Vendôme: Life, Death and Betrayal at the Hotel Ritz in Paris) or having a Sunday Netflix marathon in her favorite Calvin Klein boy shorts and sports bras (“I wear them as pajamas”). Says Alyssa, “My favorite campaigns to shoot are swim and lingerie. I absolutely love the beach and working outside; I feel my most beautiful when I’m on the beach in my bikini. And I always feel sexy and confident shooting lingerie, especially anything from For Love & Lemons. They make such beautiful detailed pieces. To me the contemporary department is the most fashion-forward, cool and appealing.”
We all deserve to feel loved, worshipped and adored on Valentine’s Day, whatever our relationship status, period, end of story. To some extent, that means dressing the part—if you want to feel special, you’ve got to exude special.
“Luckily, you can’t really go wrong with lingerie,” says our boudoir buyer Krista Molinaro. “It’s easy to shop for because the fit is more forgiving than precise, and your choices are basically black or red.” Start your Valentine’s Day state of mind with a sexy lingerie foundation, then extend the fun all week—make that all winter—with novel 3-for-$30 panties. A lingerie wardrobe like this isn’t just for February 14th, Krista notes; feeling desirable is good for you year-round.
Teddies, also known as bodysuits, continue to be a major trend (shown above: the Idalia playsuit by L’Agent Provocateur). The same goes for sets with multiple pieces, which include cheeky accessories like garters and garter belts, eye masks or cuffs. Whether you gravitate toward understated, frilly or edgy Valentine’s Day lingerie, hey, this is the time to dress to thrill.
Let us be the first to wish you a happy Galentine’s Day! We’re saving the chocolates, roses and lingerie for V-Day next week; now, we raise a platonic toast to all the women in our lives we most admire.
WHAT IS GALENTINE’S DAY?
Galentine’s Day was officially recognized by Leslie Knope, the fictional heroine of the sitcom Parks and Recreation, who declared it “…only the best day of the year! Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home and we just kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies. It’s like Lilith Fair, minus the angst, plus frittatas. February 14th is about romance but February 13th, Galentine’s Day, is about celebrating lady friends. It’s wonderful, and it should be a national holiday.” As is true of just about every one of Leslie’s passionately poignant utterances, we couldn’t agree more.
And it seems we’re not alone—per U.S. News, we spend an average of $146.84 on Valentine’s Day-related gifts. But you don’t need to break the bank to show your lady loved ones you’re thinking of them. Here’s the pretty proof:
Melanie Buck, 27, is pursuing her Masters in counseling for mental health and wellness, and she works part-time at SWERVE Fitness, a team-inspired spin studio, and as a business manager for a wellness coach. The most remarkable thing about all this: None of it would be true if it wasn’t for her 180-degree diet and fitness transformation.
“I think I was in denial for a long time that I had a problem, but I consistently gained weight for three years after undergraduate school. I finally realized I was really unhealthy and needed to do something about it,” says Melanie. “I honestly just couldn’t live the way I was living anymore.”
Since 2015, Mel has lost 175 pounds.
“She’s having so much fun,” says Roz, Melanie’s incredibly supportive mom who accompanied her to Bare Necessities for her transformation photo shoot. “Her weight was getting in the way of the life she wanted. The changes were all her idea—the surgery, what she ate, how she exercised—and she changed everything. It all went hand-in-hand, and she saw how much better she felt. It’s been inspiring to watch her.”
Here’s how Mel did it….