Category Archives: Our Story
I think I have never liked dressing to please others; I have always dressed to please myself. But sometimes societal constrictions force us into changing the ways in which we perceive ourselves. Sometimes one has to put one’s bluejeans aside and simply dress up for that play, concert or party or meeting. It’s a sad fact, but we do what we must.
I love comfort, but I would never wear my pajamas out in public. But this is really the initial thought behind starting Brava! I was looking for something that packed well and traveled easily, no-ironing or worrying about wrinkles. I found these great Bamboo pieces from Bay Area designer, Carole Wang. I thought they were pretty, and I wore them out to dinner one night. Now usually when I come home after dressing up for some occasion, I can’t wait to change out of my clothing into something more comfortable. Not this time. I forgot to change. and I knew I was onto something. I returned to the little boutique to buy more pieces. Selection was limited, so I bought what I could, but I wanted more.
Months later, I decided to investigate the possibility that a lot of other women would be interested in feminine, practical, ecologically sustainable clothing too.I did an informal survey, the results of which led to Brava! I now lead a
busy life, spreading the word to theater performers, orchestral musicians, housewives, and business professionals, and mothers. Brava! clients are all ages and all sizes, but we all share one important thing in common – we’re comfortable!
I came across this old photograph from my niece’s graduation in 1977. My mother, Missy, is sitting next to my father, Edward. She’s exactly my age in this photo. And, she’s dressed in a purple knit outfit, a bit like our Brava styles. When did I become my mother?
I often wonder what my mother would say about Brava, and how she’d like our designs. I see very clearly now, that she would have loved them. Like me, she would have embraced our feminine styles, their comfortable and easy-care practicality. I’m sure they would have brought out Missy’s “Twirl Factor”, and caused her to start singing her favorite song, “Pretty Woman”. I can see her now, sashaying around the room, decked out in our Plum Flower Skirt and Shawl Collar Top, flirting with the vision of a hapless Roy Orbison, laughing. I miss you every day, Mom.
With Brava’s upcoming in-home Fashion Shows, comes that feeling of excitement! I am thankful that Brava! is still in its start-up phases, because that means I can still participate in the fun of fitting our models, and accessorizing their outfits with our Fashion Director, Carol Campbell. This means we get to personally introduce Brava! to new clients, and to watch them discover this wonderful Bamboo fabric and the beautiful designs we offer, exclusively from Brava!
It begins with choosing our models. Our Affiliates, who actually hostess the in-home parties, suggest a few of their friends who might like to do an informal fashion show. This is always interesting, because a lot of women are unused to having a lot of attention. Most of them have never even thought about modeling, even though they are attractive, accomplished and creative. They are used to thinking of models in the traditional sense of the impossibly thin, air-brushed mannequins in the magazines.
It’s the reaction of, “Who me? Model?” They always have their reasons; too fat, too thin, not tall enough, too old, too shy, etc.
“Nonsense!” I tell them. “You’re perfect, exactly the type we’re looking for!” I mean this, sincerely. What type are we looking for? Real women. Real women with their imperfect beauty. (I can make you shine!) Let me tell you, the women I know are incredible people! Dynamic, hard-working, talented, multi-faceted, intelligent, sensitive, strong., and beautiful. They are singers, actresses and musicians. wives, mothers, doctors, nurses, lawyers, artists, designers, and business professionals.
And once our new models get to try on their first outfits, I see it happen, over and over again – the Twirl Factor! Brava’s fashions are so feminine, so comfortable, so flattering, so fun to try on, it’s not unusual to see a model’s face light up as they twirl around and around in front of our Oval Mirror! They feel good; they look great! And since Brava! fits sizes XS-3X, and takes special custom orders, we fit everyone, every body type.
So, what does it take to become a Brava! model, and to see your own reflection in our Oval Mirror? Sign up to become an Affiliate, or to be a guest at a local Brava! in-home Fashion Show. Be yourself! Be brave! Be Brava!
I admit it; I’m somewhat OCD, but usually about clothing. My outfits must match. If I buy something new, the rule is that it must match, or at least coordinate with two or three other items. This has stood me in good stead for years. If I could have things my way, the lining of my suit jacket would match my blouse, which would match my purse and shoes, and even my lipstick. I do prefer, however, that my cats, Ling-Ling and Ding-a-Ling, match.
So, now I have to deal with something which does not match – anything.
Squeak is a rescue cat. Although born in the back seat of a vintage Mercedes convertible, she was brought to the shelter because no one wanted her. We already had Ling and Ding, but we decided to adopt Squeak, since her brother and sister had been taken by a friend. We felt sorry for this funny-looking Tortoiseshell kitten. My other cats were not amused. My issue? Her paws don’t match.
Although I have repeatedly tried to discuss the situation with her, she continues to behave as if she doesn’t care. She’s taken over the house, made friends with the neighbors who walk by, jumped into the mailman’s van, and has charmed her way into everyone’s heart. So what if her paws don’t match? Squeak is part of the new order. Nothing on her matches; nothing really fits. She’s happy, and she makes us laugh every day. It’s starting not to bother me either. Let’s throw caution to the wind – perhaps I’ll wear two different pieces of a suit together. Maybe my nail polish will clash with my lipstick next week. Who knows? Thanks, Squeak!
I think we all need some help at times. I know I do. I always feel bad when I am not in a position to help someone when they really need it. Brava! is not just a company that sells clothing; it’s a company with a conscience. I want to help people. I want to pay it forward.
For this reason, I’m attaching links to some websites my friends own. I believe these links are relevant to the Brava! creed, and I encourage people to check them out. If you look, you’ll see a pattern here. One of my favorite companies is The Lamplighters Music Theatre. I became involved with these wonderful, talented people over ten years ago, through my daughter’s love for the performing arts. They’re like family to us now. I serve on the Lamplighters Music Theater Guild, happily, and lend my fund-raising efforts towards this excellent theatre company with my whole heart. I love their educational programs which introduce children of all ages to the magic of Gilbert & Sullivan, and musical theatre, the best kind. My daughter’s life was changed forever the first time she saw “H.M.S. Pinafore” at Yerba Buena. Little did she know at the time that she would appear in “Pinafore” on that very same stage within a few years. Happy days!
Every time someone spends with Brava! the Lamplighters Music Theatre receives a percentage of my sale. It’s a win-win situation. Check out this season’s fabulous production of “H.M.S. Pinafore“! If you haven’t seen it, you’re in for a treat. If you have, some of your old favorites are back, and some new stars are in the making. Photograph by Craig Hudson Photography, 2010.
Back to my sister, Evelyn, who was so much a part of me. We were always on each other’s side, always loving, but honest with each other. We had a saying about someone who seemed to have thrown together an outfit which shouldn’t have worked, but somehow did. “She gets away with it!” This meant that neither of us could wear something that outlandish or in such poor taste, but that other woman could. I can still see her pronouncing this dubious compliment, a wry smile on her lips.
Getting away with it. Was this something to be envied? Sometimes. And yet…
Then there are the people who manage to do more than just get away with it. Sometimes, while on shopping expeditions, Evelyn and I used to follow people with whom we became intrigued. We weren’t stalking, and we weren’t being catty. We merely wanted to further study these people to see why their outfits worked so well.
Which all leads me back here. Just why do some people have the ability to seemingly throw on a couple of pieces of clothing and have it all come together and look perfect? I have, on rare occasions, possessed this ability. I was told so, but not by my sister. If we were going out somewhere, Evelyn would work on me until I passed inspection. “All right,” she’d say, adjusting a scarf or lapel. “You’ll get away with it!”.
These days I want more than just to get away with something. I want to look my best, feel comfortable, and feel confident. I really don’t care about fashion trends. I know who I am. My sister told me. I have forsaken most of my other clothes to wear, almost exclusively, the Carole Wang Collection from Brava!
Welcome to our new website which is currently UNDER CONSTRUCTION.
Brava! was originally created in January 2015 to design and sell women’s fashions specifically focused on the unique needs of female orchestral musicians, singers, and others in the Performance Arts. Due to high demand, we have expanded our line to include casual wear for a wide range of professional women.
Our Performance Attire is both stylish, and optimized for the unique requirements of those in the Performing Arts. Brava! is unique in our personal commitment to our clients’ professional needs.
Our Casual Wear augments our original fashion line with coordinating styles in the latest colors to create a complete wardrobe.
For Brava! customers who have limited time to shop, we offer In-Home Fashion Shows, Personal Wardrobe Consultations, Private Fittings, and Custom and semi-Custom Clothing. ( Purchase Now)
- Home fashion SHOWS and PARTIES hosted by our Brava! Affiliates in the comfort of their homes.
- Personal Consultants who meet with our clients individually to serve their specialize needs.
- Via Phone (650-238-7260)
- Online Website (under development)