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Inner Beauty

Behind the Seams, Confessions, Inner Beauty

Top 10 Model Confessions with Nina Daniele

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Nina Daniele (“‘Nina-Marie’ if my mom is mad at me”) grew up in Pelham, north of the Bronx in New York City. “It’s one of those towns you don’t appreciate until you have to be an adult and pay your own bills. As a kid, you’re bored AF,” she told us behind the scenes during the Fall Hot List shoot of some of our coolest bras and bodysuits. “I spent countless summer nights driving around with my friends, hanging out in the parking lot of the 24-hour Dunkin’ Donuts, stealing donuts out the back door since I think collectively we had about $5.”

She’s come a long way. Nina started modeling about seven years ago, while she was still in college. She planned to join the Air Force post-graduation, but her boyfriend convinced her to try modeling first: “I’m so happy he did because I don’t know how long I would have lasted!”

At Bare Necessities, we’re glad, too. The woman the lens loves gets her workouts from pole-dancing, her style inspiration from Aerosmith and has amassed much wisdom since her donut-filching days. Such as…

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Inner Beauty, Power Figures, Relationships

Nitika Chopra on Learning to Love Yourself

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Nitika Chopra has empathy like some of us have parking tickets or high heels—in spades.

First, she’s a global citizen. Born in Ohio, she moved to Cairo, then Singapore, back to Ohio, on to New Jersey and Hong Kong and, for the past 16 years, she’s called New York home. She’s seen the human condition around the world, and the differences we share in common.

But moving a lot didn’t help her escape her personal conflicts. Nitika hated her name, endured a painful and debilitating case of psoriasis for a decade from age 10 and was divorced by her twenties.

Now 36, Nitika is not only all grown-up but fully self-actualized. As the host of Naturally Beautiful, a talk show that ran on the holistic lifestyle channel Z Living, she referred to herself as a “self-love guru,” and few have learned the hard way better than Nitika how to show oneself grace.

“I’m committed to helping others access tangible self-love. It’s such a buzzword these days, but the more I talk to people, the more I realize that most of us have no clue what it is, what it looks like, what it feels like, what it means. My mission is to make it tangible, to help them feel like they can achieve it. I use every avenue I can—my blog, my social media—to share the journey I’ve been on.”

We got philosophical with Nitika to find out how one gets from the lowest lows to the highest highs in the same lifetime.

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Health & Wellness, Inner Beauty, Relationships

Guide to Bravado’s New Arrivals: Our Best Nursing Bras for Moms

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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:

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Health & Wellness, Inner Beauty

Melanie Buck’s Weight Loss Transformation

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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 ideathe 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….

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Inner Beauty, Power Figures

Sophia Berman and Laura West, Founders of TRUSST Lingerie, are Reinventing the Bra

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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.

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Inner Beauty, Relationships

Give the Gift of a Lift Sweepstakes: You Told Us Who Deserves a Holiday Pick-Me-Up

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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.

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Inner Beauty, Personal Style, Power Figures

Freddy Zappe, Bra Fit Specialist, on the Art of Bra Fitting

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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….

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Inner Beauty, Power Figures

Soul Camp Founders Ali Leipzig and Michelle Goldblum

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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.

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Inner Beauty, Personal Style

Risqué Lingerie: Summertime Sexiness

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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.)

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Inner Beauty, Personal Style, Power Figures

Plus-Size Style Inspiration from Body Advocate Alissa Wilson

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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.

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