Bali Style Summit 2011

This year the Bali Intimate Apparel company invited 20 fashion bloggers to NYC for their Style Summit. The following day they hosted magazine editors for a similar Summit. There Bali presented company history, corporate culture, new products, philanthropic efforts – and featured celebrity stylist Jen Rade as well as a makeup session with Moani Lee. Attendees had professional bra and shapewear fittings, and received goodies including MAC cosmetics and Bali intimate apparel.

I was thrilled to be included on the short guest list of bloggers at the 1st day Style Summit. I arrived in NYC early on a Monday morning and had the day to roam the city with an old friend. After lunch in Chelsea, photos at Washington Square Park and getting lost in Times Square, I returned to the Paramount Hotel to settle in and get ready for dinner.

12 bloggers and a handful of Bali employees and PR reps broke bread and broke the ice at Thalia. (I had a crab cake appetizer with grilled pineapple salsa, mushroom duxelle ravioli fresh pasta with aspargus, grana madano cheese in a truffle sauce and a bit of creme brulee.) At dinner I sat between Chassity of Look Linger Love and Natalie of She Takes on the World. Nearby were Nancy and Brianna from Bali who loved to gossip about our thoughts on all things worn under there.

On Tuesday we took a van to the Bali offices and started at a breakfast spread. (Obviously they remembered to feed us). As at dinner, we had assigned seating once we entered the meeting space. I was next to the adorable Lindsay from Prior Fat Girl.

Bali had provided iPads for each of us for the day, but they had some kind of password protection so we couldn’t live Tweet, but Lindsay figured out how to circumvent that and we Tweeted away all day! Tables placed in a U-formation not only allowed us to see each other and hear each other, but also created a makeshift runway for models to present Bali products!

The theme for the event was LBD, which in the fashion world often means “Little Black Dress”, so that was the icon for the event, but here LBD stood for “Live Beautifully Daily”. Bali believes in beauty from within – and women finding beauty every day, and in their every day lives, to live richer lives and find confidence in everything you do. As do I!

We started by going around the room to say off the top of our heads what “Bali” made us think of. Many of us had a view of Bali supplying only classic and mature styles, and they were out to prove us wrong today! Although many Bali products stand the test of time and have been top sellers for YEARS, they have also made room for new technologies, styles and patterns while remaining affordable and supportive. One blogger said her mom took her to buy a Bali bra for her very first bra!

My favorite set shown at the Summit

Our brief background history lesson on the Bali Company, part of the Hanes Brand group, included a slideshow of vintage Bali ads that we all loved. Their mission hasn’t changed much over the years – beauty coming from confidence has always been a theme for Bali. The Bali Double Support Bra, which includes 2 layers of fabric instead of foam lining to add shape and support, was introduced in 1980 and is still a #1 seller today! The Skimp Skamp panty introduced in 1993 is a #1 seller as well. It’s high waisted, retro look is imitated these days by Lady Gaga and Katy Perry.

Bali was the first brand to offer “concealing petals” – a bit of fabric at the front of each cup to conceal the nipple. They like to think of their products as providing beauty for her, as opposed to sexy for him – but the models sure looked sexy in those bali products! From new bra fabrics to stretch lace shapewear, the look of things to come for Bali is quite pretty!

Not only does Bali focus on confidence, they do it without breaking the bank. Most of the bras we saw were $32-$36, and are sometimes discounted down to $20. Where can you find Bali? Not often at the high tier department stores like Bloomingdales, and not at the mass chains like Target, but at the mid-tier stores like Kohls and Sears – in most malls across the US.

For the past 3 years Bali has donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and they plan to continue those efforts as well as introducing a new charitable institution that Bali Facebook Fans may have the chance to vote on! To be able to cast your vote, follow Bali today!

Bali has also done research on mother-daughter co-shopping. I adore this mindset on parenting. Not all moms are comfortable bra shopping with their daughters, or are ready for their daughters to wear bras every day even when it’s obvious to others that it’s time. I also find many moms forget that girls need more than just a basic t-shirt bra. Formal attire may require a black or strapless bra, and sport or PE at school may make a great sport bra a necessity. Don’t skimp out on this part of being a mom your daughter can rely on. She can sense when you are uncomfortable, and she needs to be able to trust you with decisions like these! Shop together at a store that has smaller sizes – Kohls is a great one – and be sure to buy enough bras to keep her covered even if she forgets to do her laundry.

Bali also mentioned that their top size sold is 38C. Looking at the average size of an American woman, along with all the research being done from bra interventions, we can almost guarantee that this is a WRONG bra size for many of these women. Over 80% of women still wear the wrong bra size, and are often too large in the band size, causing the back of the bra to ride up, the shoulder straps to flop off throughout the day, and the cup to be less supportive. If this is you, go DOWN a band size and UP a cup size. It’s just a letter and a number, and no one needs to know what size you are wearing! But the right silhouette underneath makes all the difference for your posture and wardrobe! If you need help finding your size, check out this article.

Bali spent part of the day focusing on shapewear. Most people think of these figure-enhancing garments as being hot, rubbery and never staying in place. No one wants shapewear rolling up or down under their clothing leaving a tell-tale sausage line! But shapewear can be modern and beautiful – so beautiful that you may even want it to show! The #1 selling Bali shapewear piece is the torsette. This slims the torso in front and back, but is open at the chest so you can wear your favorite bra underneath. The new Bali products will offer not just firm control, but “moderate control” made from a fusion fabric that is sleek and silky. A challenge we made to Bali – shaping swimwear sold by cup size.

There was a bra problem many of the women agreed about – full cup coverage bras creating a gap between their breast and the cup fabric. This usually doesn’t happen in a demi cup bra or balconette bra. Why? Because many women lack volume at the top of the breast, and a full cup bra is the only bra that reaches the top of the breast. A bra that is cut lower on the breast, or “lower platform” can solve this problem. If you have full, round breasts you probably won’t even experience this.

There was also a misunderstanding about minimizer bras. They aren’t just smooshing breast tissue to hold big breasts in tighter. They move tissue into other parts of the bra cup and fill up all the gaps, so switching to a minimizer bra could also solve the “gap” problem above.

Women who find they are between 2 cup sizes or have 2 different sized breasts can look for a stretchier cup. A flexible fit, or even a wire free stretchy bra, allows the bra to conform to your shape instead of the other way around.

One Bali bra rep quickly earned the nickname of “The Bra Whisperer”. She did a great job of demonstrating how to properly put on a bra. This is NOT what she did. We’ll have to make a video showing you the Bend and Wiggle she did, like the Elle Woods bend and snap! Some of you are still putting your bra on backwards – hooking the loops in front, then swooshing the bra around you so the hooks are in back. This ruins the elastic over time, she warned!

Celebrity Stylist Jen Rade was up next – over lunch – with info about shapewear to maintain a sleek silhouette (everyone in Hollywood is doing it) and cleaning out your drawers and closets. She was recently told that she was “put on Earth to empower women”, and she agrees whole heartedly with this theory. “It’s a mitzvah [good deed] to give those old clothes away!” She reminded us. “Why would you update your hair and wardrobe but not your undergarments?” Buy new bras when the elastic gets bad or your boobs look dumpy! What inspires Jen, stylist to the likes of Cher, Pink and Angelina Jolie? “I’m into color, texture and people for inspiration.” She says. Although she is invited to fashion shows all the time, she likes to block out what’s happening in the mainstream fashion world. “I like to live in my bubble where I’m inspired by what I think. I’m visually stimulated all day long.”

When people ask her if she is a stylist because she is into clothes, Jen says, “I’m not into fashion, I’m into people who wear their clothes with confidence!”

I asked Jen about layering. It’s hard to layer – like all the fashion advice tells you to – when you live in HOT Florida like me. “Layering doesn’t have to be about layering clothes on top of each other.” She corrected. “Layering is about bringing different textures into your outfit. Layer with accessories like a belt or necklace, or a lace cami peeking out from your top.” This made so much sense to me!

After Jen had to go, we watched Kristin from Fashion.Style.Beauty get her makeup done with MAC cosmetics by makeup artist Moani Lee. She walked us step-by-step through a casual look, daytime look and evening look as Kristin modeled beautifully. Her best tip – smudge your eyeliner with an actual small brush with bristles. Then your eyes look almost complete before your shadow has even gone on! We all had a complete set of e.l.f. cosmetic brushes waiting in our Bali tote bags along with MAC eyeliner, a custom colored MAC eyeshadow quad-palette and MAC lipglass. Moani had looked at our photos before we came and chose the best colors for each of us. “MAC has the blackest black eyeliner!” was her 2nd best tip of the day.

Everyone had a brief interview with Bali, and Nicole from Momtrends interviewed a lot of the women their for her blog too.

Everyone had Bali Intimates products in a tote bag to take home, but at the end of the day we could have a professional fitting done to be sure we had the right sizes. I had 3 bras and 2 pairs of panties in my bag, and I will be reviewing them all this summer!

LBD Bloggers on Broadway

That night Bali gave us a gift card for dinner, and I hit Sushi Samba with Natalie from She Takes on the World. I recommend their Shishito appetizer and Green Envy sushi roll. By 7:15 we were all back in the lobby of the hotel in our LBD’s ready for a Broadway show! We saw Anything Goes, just days after the Tony wins, and the audience was full of love for the cast and crew! Sutton Foster rocked the stage with her looks, singing, dancing and ability to not take herself too seriously!

I spent 2 more days in NYC catching up with friends & cousins, strolling through Central Park, and learning about more lingerie trends.

Seen on the street: lots of feather earrings, cropped blazers, dressy shorts with a full leg and nude sandals with ULTRA HIGH HEELS! How do those women walk around the city in those all day?? I’ll never know! But the cropped blazer from H&M managed to come home with me and I brought feather earrings home for all my “girlz”!

Bali provided product and travel and some of the photos in this post. The opinions are my own.

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