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.

Fun with Friends!

Every time we think about the Brava! Affiliate Program we have to smile.  Our in-home Fashion Shows and Trunk Shows are really fun!  They provide opportunities to get together with your friends, enjoy refreshments, and talk about the exciting Brava! fashions. Your friends model these great clothes, and then  your guests try them on. It can be as formal or as casual as you like – and you have the choice between a Fashion Show or a Trunk Show.

You can hold anything from an afternoon tea, to a cocktail party – it doesn’t matter!   Just as long as you’ve got your friends around you, and you’re all comfortable. For a Trunk Show, your Fashion Consultant at Brava! will provide the clothing samples and make an informal presentation in your house.  Then you and your friends can try things on, and discuss what works for you.  You can have custom-fittings and special orders.  Brava! does all the work, while you have all the fun!

A Fashion Show involves your participation.  Because a Trunk Show is limited to sample sizes, there isn’t as much opportunity to try things on, so some Affiliates prefer to put on a Fashion Show with their friends.    A few weeks before you’ve set a date for your Show, your Brava! Consultant will meet with you to discuss arrangements and to give you your Affiliate Packet.  This Packet will include a price list, your Affiliate Agreement, and some information about Brava! with some handy tips about entertaining and putting on the Fashion Show or Trunk Show.  Your Fashion Consultant will assist you with pulling together outfits if you’re planning on having your friends model.   The day of the event is the most fun!  That’s when the “twirl factor” really comes into play!  And we think your friends will be as crazy about Brava! Fashions as are we!

Ask us for details!  We’re setting up our Show schedule for the Holiday Season, and through 2016 right now.

Wine and Tea Event

Wine and Tea Event



Lots of Leggings!

We’ve got lots of leggings!

You might think you already own enough leggings, but these are so comfortable, and will match your Brava! tops so perfectly, you may just throw your others away!

Regular Length Leggings in Black

Basic Black Full-Length Frankie.

95% Bamboo /5% Spandex

Sizes XS-3X – $78.00

The “Little Black Dress”

Coco Chanel (circa 1926) in the original little black dressIn 1926 Coco Chanel created the “Little Black Dress”, a ready-to-wear, practical, sophisticated dress, one could wear all afternoon, and then on into cocktail hour.  Originally designed in wool with long sleeves, this dress proved so popular that it soon appeared in a variety of styles,  in different fabrics.  The little black dress became a central focus of our modern outfits, both for day and evening wear.

Most of us have, in our closets, that one dress which gets us through almost any occasion.  I, myself, own at least three or four little black dresses.  Recently, while rummaging through a varied collection of items at a clothing exchange, a friend and I discovered a black sheath dress, hanging with the other colored dresses, low-key, yet desirable.  We wanted that dress; it was going to fit one of us, or one of our daughters.  But when we were able to get back into the room to make our selections, that nice dress had mysteriously disappeared.  Someone had broken the rules and stashed it away.  It seems that everybody wanted that little black dress.

I have always understood its mystique.  When I was still a teenager, and an avid reader of Vogue, I chanced upon an article with an intriguing title, on how to “look very, very rich”.  I read this with interest, understanding that truly great fashion never goes out of style.  Real style involves a sense of timelessness, self-confidence, quality and design.  And, that the most important item in a woman’s closet, was the little black dress.  In this case, they were referring to the sheath dress, sleeveless and knee length.  When I finally made my trip to Paris, I was wearing my own little black dress, and feeling very fine.

Because a large part of our Brava! business is Concert Black, we are very aware of the need for classic silhouettes, for modern, practical versions of this standby.  In collaboration with our designer, Carole Wang, we’ve developed up a few dress styles, each of which is available in our Performance Attire Black  95% Bamboo/5% Spandex fabric.  Not surprisingly, our initial foray into the little black dress, our “Diana” style, is tea-length, has long sleeves, a simple neckline, and bears a resemblance to Coco Chanel’s iconic style from 1926.  This dress looks good on everyone, and is fast becoming a staple in Bay Area musicians’ wardrobes.

A little black dress can impart its mystery and sophistication to the wearer.  It can boost one’s self-confidence.  You know you’re dressed appropriately, and impeccably while wearing your little black dress.  You needn’t worry about how you look; you can concentrate on more important things, like work, and making beautiful music.

Our friend, Barbara wearing the

Our friend, Barbara wearing the “Diana” Dress.

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