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Personal Style, Power Figures

Sarah Chiwaya, Fashion Trendsetter, on Staying Body-Positive


Sarah Chiwaya, the blogger and founder of Curvily and the associate fashion editor at Plus Model Magazine, walks the proverbial walk and talks the proverbial talk.

Curvily is about fearlessly bringing plus-size fashion to the fore where it rightfully belongs and, when Sarah came by our photo studio to show how she would pair some of fall’s trends with bras that really fit, that’s just what she did. As soon as the flashbulbs started popping, Sarah owned the place. She knew what she wanted, going so far as to schlep in her own accessories to finish each look. Sarah did not for one second flinch at a plunging neckline or shy away from a sheer shirt and, in her conversations off-set, dazzled everyone she met with her passion, wit and boldness.

Her message—wear whatever you want if it makes you feel great—was deeply resonant and inspiring and, what’s more, she wants the same for you, too. It starts with one’s own self-confidence, and it ends with fixing the way women are depicted in modern society and in the media. Her life’s mission is to actually bring about those changes. Sarah is more show than tell, and we got right away that we were in the presence of a Power Figure out to do no less than change something about the way the world works.

We dug deeper with Sarah to find out how she got to be so fearlessly self-actualized, what she’s seeing in the industry and what literally keeps her up at night.

Continue Reading Sarah Chiwaya, Fashion Trendsetter, on Staying Body-Positive

Behind the Seams, Personal Style, Relationships, Swimwear

Postcards from Paradise: Travel Tips for New England


Brooke here, editor and writer for Bare Necessities and the Bare it All blog. I’m wrapping up Postcards from Paradise, our summer travel series, with some notes on New England for your next trip to the compact yet super-scenic Northeast.

Here’s the mini guide I’ve compiled for Newport, Rhode Island (where we go every year), and Cape Cod, Massachusetts (where we finally ventured for the first time). Here’s hoping this summer hasn’t totally eclipsed you yet. Happy trails!

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Behind the Seams, Confessions, Personal Style

Top 10 Stylist Confessions with Kirsten Bode


Kirsten Bode, who goes glamorously by her last name (“Sounds like bo-dee. It just stuck.”), is a creative to the bone. She’s an artist, photographer and—when it comes to partnering with Bare Necessities—stylist.

Some of her body-painting works appear in Howard Schatz’s book 25 Years of Images, and she recently collaborated on Visceral: The Dark Side of Love, Lust and Infatuation, contributing a film noir-style story about two men in love in the 1940s. Says Bode, “I like my work to have a message behind it. It’s my language; it’s how I speak to people. I’m always surprised at what people get from my work.”

Of course, when you wear as many hats as Bode does, equilibrium can feel elusive. “Balance is the hardest part, but I get excited to problem-solve. I’m grateful to do something different each day, whether it be hair and makeup or painting and taking pictures—I’m just happy to be creating,” says Bode. “Plus, I find that each process feeds the others when it comes to ideas and concepts.”

Read more about her days, her work and what feeds her free spirit…

Continue Reading Top 10 Stylist Confessions with Kirsten Bode

Ambrassadors, Personal Style, Pop Culture, Swimwear

Big Boobs on the Beach: Top Problems, Solved


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.

Continue Reading Big Boobs on the Beach: Top Problems, Solved

Personal Style, Pop Culture

Model Contest: Curvy Kate’s Star in a Bra Model Competition


Ever flipped through a fashion magazine, looked up at a billboard or watched a commercial starring a woman wearing lingerie?

Thought so.

Ever wonder what it must feel like to be that model?

Now’s your chance to find out.

Curvy Kate, the D-K cup lingerie and swimwear brand from London, has crossed the pond to search America for its next model. And seeing as how Curvy Kate has never once used professional models in its campaigns, well, this is the part where you come in.

Continue Reading Model Contest: Curvy Kate’s Star in a Bra Model Competition

Behind the Seams, Personal Style, Swimwear

Postcards From Paradise: Travel Tips for Charleston


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.

Why 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. 

Continue Reading Postcards From Paradise: Travel Tips for Charleston

Personal Style, Swimwear

Gorgeous Swimwear $100 and Under


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 three must-have categories. Read on as our in-house expert helps you find the best bathing suit buys.

Continue Reading Gorgeous Swimwear $100 and Under

Behind the Seams, Personal Style, Relationships

Postcards From Paradise: Travel Tips for Lake Placid


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

Behind the Seams, Confessions, Personal Style

Stylist Confessions with Bruce Dean


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

Personal Style, Swimwear

Sexy Swimsuits, from Mild to Wild


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.

Continue Reading Sexy Swimsuits, from Mild to Wild