Monthly Archives: August 2015

Opera Season! Don’t you need new Concert Attire?

Patricia Heller of the San Francisco Opera

Patricia Heller of the San Francisco Opera

It’s here!  2015 is fast fleeting by, and suddenly, it’s Opera Season!  We’re very excited at Brava! to see so many items from our Performance Attire Collection assembled in one orchestra!  This Season’s favorites include the Diana Dress, Shirred Ankle Pants, Wrap Pants, 3/4 Sleeve Flower Crop Tops, Flower Skirts, 3/4 Sleeve Cowl Neck Tops, Eight-Panel Skirts, and Long-Sleeve Boat Neck Tunics.

We’re making our Orchestra member clientele feel cool, comfortable, while looking so elegant in their Brava! Performance Attire! This can only have a positive affect upon overall morale, which means we’ll be making beautiful music!  We look forward to a wonderful 2015 Season!

Brava! Adds Accessories

Linda Lee Pratico, Jewelry Designer

Linda Lee Pratico, Jewelry Designer

Brava! is very happy to announce that we will be showing the beautiful jewelry designs of Linda Lee Pratico!

Champagne Coin Pearls and Crystal Necklace

Champagne Coin Pearls and Crystal Necklace

Pink Pearl Strand

Fresh Colors for Fall!

We are very excited to announce that Brava! Fashions has a unique agreement with our fabulous boutique designer, Carole Wang!  Carole will be doing special designs just for Brava! Fashions’ unique clients!  We’re in the process of choosing our lush color palette, which will offset our great Basic Black.  Carole’s new designs include fun Fleece outerwear of Cotton and Bamboo, and new tea-length dresses which whisper romance and classic elegance.  Stay tuned for updates!

Taking orders now for these elegant Three-Quarter Wrap Jackets with Bamboo Button closures in Purple and in Teal Sizes XS-3X; $225.00.  I’ve got one, and I wear it everywhere, including the opera!

Purple Fleece Jacket

Purple Fleece Jacket

My Love Affair with the Color Purple

Me 012015 purple

It’s a strange irony that Brava! Fashions really started with my search for the color purple.  I was trying to find something comfortable to wear, which packed well and was also versatile in that I didn’t know exactly I was going to be doing on my trip back home to Connecticut.  I found the exact color top I wanted, which also happened to be in 95% Bamboo/5% Spandex.  It fit.  I bought it.  Then I went back and bought a skirt.  Then another piece, then a wonderful Purple Fleece Jacket with a charming Bamboo Leaf Button Closure to top it off. I was hooked.  The irony is that I usually wear so much Black.  And when the idea came for Brava’s Performance Attire in Concert Black, I was wearing this Purple color.Purple hair put up

I love Purple, so much so, that this year after my hair dye fiasco when my hair literally turned Purple, my daughter suggested I keep it.  I don’t think so, Dear.  Not at my age.  I think the color Purple belongs in one’s closet.

However, I am very happy to be able to offer a limited number of 3/4 Length Wrap Cotton and Bamboo Fleece Wrap Jackets  for Fall, 2015.  High-collared with a charming Bamboo Leaf Button, we will have these in Purple and our popular Teal for $225.00.  Email me for details. Purple Fleece Jacket

What Were You Wearing When…?

Some moments stand out clearly in my mind, more so when I think about what I was wearing when they happened.  I still have the dress that I wore the night, almost twenty-five years ago, I met my husband.  I’ll never see a size 6 again, but that dress is a cherished possession.  It’s a strange deep lavender color, in a strange fabric, and it has a cowl neckline with small weights attached to it on the inside, so it hangs perfectly.  It’s one of those dresses with no “hanger appeal”, but once it’s on….  Actually, it reminds me of Brava’s Carol Ann Dress, minus the weights; it has the same straight silhouette, very flattering.  The focus is on the face, rather than on some busy style or print.

At Brava! we believe in helping you create your own memories.  We offer a complete size range from XS to 3X, and anything in-between.  You can choose your own styles, and we can customize any of them to suit your particular body-type and need.

Shirred Ankle Pants

Shirred Ankle Pants

A couple of months ago one of our new clients asked if we could do a rush order of our popular Shirred Ankle Pants for a special occasion.  We could, and we did.  I delivered her order personally and waited while she tried them on with her Three-Quarter Sleeve Crop Flower Top.  When she returned, fully-dressed, I was stunned at the change in her.  She looked incredible.

She asked, “Do you think this is dressy enough for Carnegie Hall?”  I assured her that it was, not wanting to embarrass her with too many compliments.  But I was really moved.    I couldn’t stop thinking about the real change in the way she carried herself.  Yes, it was good enough to wear onstage at Carnegie Hall.  She looked lovely.  I only wish I had taken a photograph.  This is what Brava! is all about; helping women feel good about themselves.  She will always have that moment.  And she will always remember what she wore.

If there be Sequins…

Emerson TV

Emerson TV

In the really early days of television, my family owned a small, small screen Emerson.  The tiny tube was ensconced in a blonde wood box that had Bakelite dials on the front, with an alien antennae perched on top.  No remotes back then, and only black & white, with three or four stations made up our choices.  Apart from the excitement of “Captain Kangaroo”, there wasn’t much to offer a really young child.  However, I remember one exciting day, when I was told that my sister was going to appear on television.

Evelyn was working at the Hanover Modeling Agency in New Haven, Connecticut, teaching modeling classes.  She was going to model evening gowns on some local program.  We could hardly wait until she came on.  When she did, however, I burst into tears, thinking that now I had lost her.  She had somehow gotten into that box and couldn’t get out.  It sort of ruined the day for my poor mother.  Evelyn wore some kind of sequined gown, and stood out from the others.  The TV lights hit those sequins, and made them sparkle.  She seemed to emanate some sort of magic.

Later she told me that when faced with a decision about what to wear, there were a couple of rules one should follow.  The first rule was, if there are sequins. wear them.  The second one was  never tp dress down for anyone.  I’ve kind of thrown out the sequin rule, this being over a half-century later, but the second rule has stood me in good stead all these years.  Never dress down for anyone.  Period.  I’ve broken this rule several times in my life, and these particular times stand out in my memory as personal social disasters.

I’ll just tell you one of these times, concerning a barbecue at my then-boss’s home.  Stupidly, I assumed that a pair of jeans would be fine, but this was a Marin party, disguised as a barbecue.  No one but I was wearing jeans, and I felt like an idiot.  My boss’s stares clearly told me she didn’t approve of my outfit.  I guess she thought I should have known better.  I’m sure my sister, Evelyn would have known instinctively that high-end sportswear would have been more appropriate.

These days I don’t wear jeans very often; but nor do I dress in sequins.  My closet is well-stocked with Brava! elegant Casualwear, which is always appropriate, and always looks good.  When others are confined in their overly-constructed, stiff dressy clothes, I sail through the day or evening, comfortable, unwrinkled and nonplussed.  I think my sister would have been proud.

Dancing in a “Hot Wind”

My mother kept a lot of mirrors, in every room, in her apartment.  As she grew older, Missy became somewhat vain.  She shed pounds, as she shed a husband or two, and never looked back.

In the days before Pinterest, Missy hung a real bulletin board on the wall near her closet.  She’d cut out photographs from magazines, and tack up the looks she thought she might copy.  But no matter what glamorous styles were on that board, for every day, Missy wore a uniform of sorts, a denim or corduroy skirt and a cashmere sweater.  She only went to the back of her closet two or three times a week, when she’d pull out some fancy dress to wear to the dance with the boyfriend of the moment.

This was all when she was in her eighties.  By this time in her life Missy knew exactly who she was, and liked what she saw reflected in her mirrors.  She was the excellent dancer, who wore all the pretty clothes, and stole all the men, even the younger ones.  She knew the other women at the dances were jealous because she was thinner, and knew how to dress.  I once had to defend Missy’s joie de vivre to one woman who complained about her.  My mother’s self-confidence was hard-won, and long-overdue.

Her father owned a farm in Connecticut, and was a harsh, abusive man who drank.  At a very young age, she and her friend, Ann Corio, ran away from home to join the Ziegfeld Follies.   Missy was dazzled by glamour, and the idea of being able to dance for a living.  She didn’t make it to Manhattan though; becoming frightened, she turned back.  Her friend, Ann Corio, however, became a famous strip-tease artist, later worked in Hollywood,  and was considered the last Burlesque Queen.  My mother named my sister, Evelyn, after Ann Corio’s daughter, although she didn’t feel comfortable contacting her after she’d become famous.

Ann Corio

Ann Corio

My mother survived another few years on the farm, then married the first man who asked her, a handsome Italian, Frank Scirocco, who danced well.  She might have thought about twice about this, had she known his name meant,  “hot wind”.  There wasn’t any dancing in my mother’s life, then, with the Depression snuffing out the hope of living a glamorous life.  Her life for the next twenty years was a hot hell.  Her husband drank, and beat her.

My father came to her rescue, but that’s another story.  He was a much better husband, but he didn’t dance.  So, dancing was put on hold for another forty or so years.  And when most people would have given up on their really old dreams, Missy pursued hers in her late seventies.  She took dancing lessons, where she met Karen Black’s mother, Peggy Ziegler.  Peggy and Missy would put on their false eyelashes, pretty outfits, and cruise around looking for fun.

Missy found a  new boyfriend, Bernie, who serenaded her at night over the telephone, and knew how to tango.   She entertained a lot, and partied with Peggy and their  friends.  Missy found herself, finally.  She was still happy and active into her 90’s, telling people that dancing keeps you young.  At 98, she suddenly came down with pneumonia.  Fighting to the end, she was mad at having to miss the dance that week.  She passed away on Thursday, the day of the dance.  I think of her, at eighty, up on that stage in Old Town, San Diego, Bernie dangerously dipping her in their last tango, happy at last.

Missy would have loved our Brava! dresses, perfect for dancing.  Elegant, easy-care, packable and static-free, the bamboo fabric drapes well, and swings with every movement.  Brava! dresses might have been designed for Missy’s dances, and for the hot wind in her blood.

Ready for “Ruddygore”?

The Lamplighters Music Theatre’s auditions for “Ruddygore” are coming up!  Are you ready for your audition?  This very popular Gilbert & Sullivan operetta has all the ingredients for fun, ancestral ghosts, a witch’s curse, lost love, a madwoman, a love triangle, a ridiculous plot and beautiful music, costumes, clever sets, and excellent performances.  Be a part of the controlled chaos…audition!

Okay, you’ve chosen your song; have two contrasting songs ready.  You’ve familiarized yourself with the plot.  You’ve checked out the Lamplighters videos on YouTube.  Are you ready?  All the rehearsing in the world won’t help you if you don’t make an impression in the first thirty seconds of your audition.  Of course you shouldn’t carry in anything resembling a “prop”; not even a water bottle.  No costumes.  You should be neat, clean and appropriately dressed.  Your clothing should be flattering, and fit properly.  It should be comfortable, and make you feel self-confident. Avoid really extreme high heels, especially if you can’t walk in them.  Flat shoes are fine, providing they’re in good condition, but please, no sneakers.

Brava! Fashions specializes in Performance Attire for women in the Performing Arts.  We understand your particular needs, and can help you present yourself in the best light, whether it be in the orchestra pit or during the audition process.  Our clothing is made from natural fiber, like Bamboo, which is wrinkle and stain-resistant; has no static cling.  It’s comfortable, fashionable without being trendy, affordable and attractive.  We fit sizes XS-3X, and we can customize your clothing, and deliver special orders with a quick turnaround.  Private fittings and showings can be scheduled.  Let us help you land that role in “Ruddygore”.

You’ve got at most, two or three minutes to show off your incredible talent to the auditioners.  Make them sit up and take notice.  Spend your time working on your audition songs; not worrying about your wardrobe.  Let Brava! do that for you.  Contact us at

Contact the Lamplighters Music Theatre at for an audition.  Then call us at Brava!

Break a leg!Ruddygore ghosts 2006

Over-Fifty with Flair

We have always known that we are constantly being judged by someone, somewhere.  Our hair, our faces, our bodies, or our clothing; nothing is ever perfect, but usually the harshest criticisms come from within ourselves.  We’re not tall enough, young enough, thin enough; the list is endless.  Recently there has been a much-needed backlash against this mostly unfair censure of ourselves.  It’s about time we stopped the self-hatred caused by outmoded social concepts of beauty.

Women of a “certain age” are more beautiful with those lovely, laugh lines.  Bodies change as we grow older; our waistlines thicken, but our legs get thinner.  Sometimes it’s a tradeoff.  It’s really a matter of attitude, and attitudes are not so difficult to change.  The key is feeling at peace with oneself.  Our taste in clothing, and how we want to present ourselves to the world also shifts.  We, at Brava! say, “Embrace the new you!”

We are happiest when we look our best. Self-worth needn’t be tied up just in how others perceive us.  When we get a new hairdo, or a new outfit, there is a lifting of our spirits.  This translates into how others view us as well.  Are we not attracted to people with positive attitudes?  If buying a new dress make us feel more positive, then we say, “Do it! Do it with flair!!”.

At Brava! we’re saying a lot of positive things these days.  We’ve added several interesting new styles to our dress line.  Besides the classic Diana dress, we now have Patty, Cleora, and Carol AnnThese dresses are flattering to many body types, and appeal to different age ranges.  How do we do this?  We look for what we like, what fits our bodies and our needs.  Our current Brava! clients range from 23 to 67 years old.  They are musicians, singers, writers, counselors, home-makers, actresses, office professionals, designers and artists.  We know what makes women happy, strong and confident.  Brava! listens.

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