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.”
Continue Reading Stephanie’s Bra-Sized Swimwear Makeover: From 32D to 32DD
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.
Continue Reading Postcards From Paradise: Travel Tips for Lake Placid
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.
Continue Reading Stylist Confessions with Bruce Dean
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.
Continue Reading April’s Bra-Sized Swimwear Makeover: From 34DD to 32DD
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?
Continue Reading Top 10 Model Confessions with Andrea Cronberg
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.
Continue Reading Danielle’s Bra-Sized Swimwear Makeover: From 36DD to 38FF
We’re taking this show on the road! Bare Necessities staffers are on summer hours, living their best lives out in the world and sending back virtual postcards from paradise with all the travel lowdown on their warm-weather destinations.
The first one to pack a suitcase and turn on her out-of-office message was Tera Gallagher, our premium brands assistant buyer, who just got back from a week in Puerto Rico with her fiancé, Matt, and another couple. We grilled Tera for insider intel, should a trip to this affordable, incredibly beautiful Caribbean island be in your future.
Check back all season for more wanderlust-inspiring reports from near and far.
Continue Reading Postcards From Paradise:
Travel Tips for Puerto Rico
Historically, being a size 14 African-American woman hasn’t always been a recipe for supermodel superstardom. Fortunately, no one told the inimitable, stunning Precious Lee that.
Precious became the first black plus-size model to star in the storied Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 2016. You may also recognize her from a long list of envelope-pushing Lane Bryant campaigns (#ImNoAngel, #PlusIsEqual and #ThisBody), or from the pages of American Vogue, yet another groundbreaking first. All this came after her former agent tried to convince her to change her name to make herself more marketable. It’s clear that living authentically and without compromise eventually pays dividends.
Shaneek Anderson, our own marketing project planner, got the chance to sit down with the Atlanta native on the set of our latest Elomi shoot, which couldn’t have been more apropos: The concept is about deciding who you want to be every morning when you head out the door. Precious caught us up on her life not only as a model but as a diversity advocate, aspiring actress and would-be lawyer. You know, in all her spare time.
Continue Reading Top 10 Model Confessions with Precious Lee
Back in 1992, when two friends couldn’t find comfy nursing bras that were also fun or fashionable, they sat down at the kitchen table and made one—out of leopard print fabric, no less. That’s how Bravado Designs was, well, born.
Fit and comfort are paramount to this brand by moms, for moms. “We get it: Breastfeeding has its ups and downs. We want to help women feel comfortable and confident with maternity and nursing bras that make sense for this crazy, exciting stage in life,” says Tara Hoth, head of design. “We firmly believe bras shouldn’t be bland. We offer fun colors in addition to classic beige and black, and a little bow, polka dot or print isn’t out of the question.”
Like Bare Necessities, Bravado Designs is “pretty much obsessed with fit,” says Tara. She and her designers are black-belts when it comes to feel-good fabrications and sanity-savers like easy-release clasps and cups that fully drop down for those zonked-out 4 AM feedings. (Look for band sizes 32-46 and cups B-M.)
What’s extra cool: an innovative Test Wearer program in which real moms road-test the bras and nursing tanks, from new prototypes to existing designs. Their input helps Tara’s team fine-tune the details that make all the difference. And since necessity is—pun intended—the mother of invention, here’s what’s new and exciting for moms right now from Bravado Designs:
Continue Reading Guide to Bravado’s New Arrivals: Our Best Nursing Bras for Moms
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.
Continue Reading Emily Lau, Founder of The Little Bra Company, is Standing up for Small Chests