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….
Truss (noun): structural frames based on the geometric rigidity of the triangle
Trussed (verb): tied, bound or fastened
Trust (noun): confidence; a thing on which one relies
Bras are impressive feats of architecture in their own right, but they haven’t changed all that much in the last, oh, century. That is, until Trusst Lingerie came along.
The renegade bra company was co-founded a little over two years ago by Sophia Berman, CEO, and Laura West, chief product officer. This month’s Power Figures studied industrial design at Carnegie Mellon University, met later in life at a design firm and—both crafty and interested in textiles—soon found themselves wondering if bras couldn’t stand to be improved. Reinvented, even.
“We were talking about how much bras suck, how the underwires stab you, straps dig, and we said, ‘There’s got to be a different way to do this,’” said Laura. “The underwire isn’t a totally flawed system, but we knew there was room for improvement—for all women.” The general public seemed to agree: Their 2015 Kickstarter campaign raised $80,000, flying past the $25,000 goal they set.
Here’s hoping your holidays are healthy and happy! For our “Give the Gift of a Lift” sweepstakes, which wrapped up yesterday, we asked you to tell us what special person in your life deserves a pick-me-up at this most wonderful time of the year. In your thousands of nominations on Facebook and Instagram, you spoke reverently of the everyday heroes who make your worlds go ’round. We loved when you tagged someone—and got tagged back. We loved when you selflessly volunteered to give the entire prize ($50 for you, $50 for them) to your better half. We loved that no emoji was spared.
We sincerely thank you for chiming in and, more than that, for inviting Bare Necessities into your lives. You are hardworking students, tireless mothers, dedicated employees, long-distance friends, indispensable support systems and much more. It’s clear we share the mission of lifting women up.
This week, we’ve collected some of the heart-warming entries we received; you can find more using the hashtags #givealiftgetalift and #bnsweepstakes. It just might give your spirits a little boost, too.
Seventeen years ago, when Freddy Zappe started answering the phones at the bra company that would become Eveden—renowed for its full-bust brands including Elomi, Fantasie, Freya and Goddess—she hadn’t the slightest idea what she was doing. Today, she’s among the most revered bra fit experts in the world.
A model-dancer-actress accustomed to traveling the world, Freddy had zero sales or lingerie experience, but when her mother was diagnosed with cancer, Freddy returned to New York to be with her. “I had to work for my own sanity. You can’t sit by someone’s bedside constantly; they don’t like it. I thought I’d do it for a few months and see what happened.”
What happened is this: Freddy became a Power Figure. She’s still traveling the world, this time as Eveden’s national fit specialist. Every day, she asks of herself, her industry and the women she meets the same question: How can I fix this?
“It’s endlessly fascinating,” Freddy says. “Women come in all shapes and sizes, and because we have the tools to fit full bust and full figure—we now go from A to K cup, from a 28 band to a 56 band—we can fit virtually everyone.” Here’s how….
To many of us, summer camp is child’s play. Ali Leipzig, 29 (top left), and Michelle Goldblum, 32 (top right), beg to differ. That’s why they founded their own sleepaway camp for grown-ups in 2014.
With outposts in New York and California, Soul Camp is an all-inclusive wellness retreat where up to 300 campers—65% of them women—say see ya to their families, routines and smartphones for four days. The trade-off: access to dozens of workshops, classes and seminars (everything from stand-up paddleboarding to essential oils 101) aimed at nourishing body, mind and spirit.
When life is a treadmill going a million miles a minute, it’s liberating to know you can press pause to reconnect with the things that stoke your inner (camp)fire. As it turns out, more often than not, those things tend to be simple pleasures like strolling down a country road, losing track of time floating on a placid lake or talking for hours with a new friend. Often, the best thing you can do as an adult is to remember what it’s like to be a kid again.
At Bare Necessities, we’re in the business of supporting women en route every day to their most authentic selves. Some days, that means putting on your big girl panties and daring to do things differently. That’s why we think Ali and Michelle are such Power Figures—through Soul Camp, they’re uplifting women in their own way.
In time for Labor Day, we talked to Michelle and Ali about how they arrived at their aha moment, made it happen, found freedom as their own bosses and continue being besties while (gasp!) mixing business and pleasure.
Whether you feel hot and/or bothered, summer’s heat encourages disrobing. So how to be sexy when it’s sweltering out? We had an R-rated conversation with Krista Molinaro, our sexy lingerie buyer here at Bare Necessities, to get some advice on more risqué lingerie.
“Ever since the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy came out a few years ago, sexy has been booming,” Krista says of the series that cast a new light on the dark art of seduction. That said, showing off your sexy side will always be important—humankind depends on it! Here’s the happy twist: Coy and coquettish to brazenly risqué lingerie, it’s all about what you find sexy. “We’re just here to help make it happen,” Krista says.
Less is definitely more, she advises. In the heat, you really want to wear as close to nothing as you can. Read on for her take on how to conjure up your seductive side in more risqué lingerie. (Fair warning, links definitely NSFW.)
We first met Alissa Wilson at Bare Necessities back in February when she stopped by to cover the launch of Ashley Graham’s lingerie collection, and we were instantly smitten kittens. Undaunted by the slush and cold, she turned up in red suede heels and leather pants. Personal style? Check. Knowing thyself? Check. Confidence, chutzpah and charisma? Triple-check.
Alissa is the founding editor and editor-in-chief of Stylish Curves, a blog that aims every day to “bridge the gap between straight and plus sizes by showing plus-size curvy women that they can dress just a fabulous as straight-size women do. We live in a world that wants plus-size women to be unhappy with their bodies, and Stylish Curves believes that every woman should learn to appreciate and love their bodies no matter their size.” Um, yes.
Alissa always dreamed of a career as a fashion writer and, as a plus-size woman, she knows how hard it can be for anyone north of a size 14 to find chic clothing. Initially, she started the blog as a shopping resource to help others see where they could get the latest trends and celebrity styles in their size. “I’m happy with my body,” she has said. “It’s others who are not.” With a background in finance and retail, she’s uniquely positioned to make heads or tails of the fashion industry which, at times, can be confoundingly slow to stay in step with reality. That’s why she’s worked on branding campaigns with JCPenney and gotten noticed by Essence, Glamour…and Bare Necessities.
Athletic prowess aside, this is what’s really at the heart of every Olympian.
In an era of unfathomable turmoil roiling the world, today we get together to celebrate humanity’s finest attributes. The games are so much more than a spectacle of Herculean feats of strength; they’re a macro lesson in unity, humility, bravery, teamwork and good sportsmanship. The whole is way greater than the sum of its parts, and we’re rarely more aligned as a planet than this time we spend together every two years. The center holds.
It’s especially a time for the world’s women to shine. We cast aside our differences and focus on the commonalities in noble pursuit of the purest form of competition. Our mission at Bare Necessities is to lift women up, so you’d better believe we’ll be glued to our TVs until the 21st, marveling at their abilities, collecting new role models, hitting replay on our DVRs, cheering real loud and feeling extra patriotic.
As we embark on the road to Rio, we’re paying homage to these awesome athletes—right now, their spirit and fun and playfulness are making our days brighter.
“This campaign was inspired by the champion in every woman,” says Susan Ferenczi, creative director at Bare Necessities. “She’s a modern superhero with attitude, fearless and always in style.”
After all, the sky’s the limit.
I remember the last time I looked good in a bikini. It was a tiny string number—pink with multicolored polka dots—and all eyes were on me.
I was 3 years old.
Since then, I’ve had a tumultuous relationship with swimwear. (I did wear a bikini twice on spring break my junior year of college: My Puerto Rican besties are the most beautiful and body positive girls on the island and, if only for a week, I drank their Kool-Aid while we frolicked in the Caribbean surf.)
Truthfully, no part of swimsuit season has ever been easy for me.
In this era of democratic fashion, no one needs to settle for mom jeans or sensible shoes and, for the record, the same holds true for swimsuits for moms. Just because someone calls you “Mommy” doesn’t mean you have to banish “bikini” from your vocabulary. Brooke here, editor of Bare it All, and I speak from personal experience. Let me assure you, it’s possible to look like the cool mom you are, even in a swimsuit.