Real Talk With Katie Berger, Swim Buyer

It may be getting colder outside, but our buyers are already thinking spring! Get REAL with Katie Berger, #AerieSWIM Buyer! Read on to learn more about how she helps to plan Aerie’s line each season, her forecast for spring swim and what #AerieREAL means to her.

Real Talk With Katie Berger, Swim Buyer

What are the responsibilities of a buyer? 
A buyer is responsible for strategizing the number of styles we can have in the store and online, along with the types of silhouettes and fits we would like to offer. Buyers work hand-in-hand with a design team that is specific to swim (though they dabble in other areas as well), who designs into our style requests. We then collectively build an assortment that we believe our customer will have to have in her closet (or swim drawer!).

Buyers track the sales trends of the business from week-to-week (and on occasion, day-to-day) to give us insight for future deliveries – if the customer doesn’t love it today, will she love something similar in a few months? A lot of the job comes from instinct, and knowing what your sales history tells you along with new trends you see coming our way! This job uses both sides of the brain… and I LOVE it!

What trends are you forecasting for swim in ’16?
We are still in love with strappy swim, but we also LOVE the 70’s vibes in swim – ruffles and crochet, one-pieces, crops and teeny tiny bottoms. I want to wear a one-piece with AEO denim shorts, head to the beach, and be ready for dinner in a snap!

We can’t WAIT for swim! Let’s talk about our current collection…what’s your favorite item for Holiday?
I love the fun accessories, including our gifting ‘grab and go’ collection! Great for gifting your friends, sisters or yourself! But really the bralettes are GORGEOUS. The laces are so feminine and the stylings are so great for any day of the week. I already bought 5 of them! And wait until you see the PJ pants…they are so cozy and cute! My Christmas morning look = aerie PJ’s.

Real Talk With Katie Berger, Swim Buyer

Love Katie’s look? Shop her blanket scarf here.

Are you an early riser or a night owl?
Neither?! I can get up consistently early on the weekends, but why can’t I get up during the week? I could say I’m definitely a napper!

What is your favorite city that you’ve either traveled to or want to travel to?
In February I went to Tulum in Mexico, and I have to say it is easily my favorite place I’ve ever been. The relaxed, non-commercial vibe is perfect for a getaway in the sunshine. We stayed at the Hotel Mezzanine, where they brought you coffee to your door every morning, and you could take the basket out to a hammock and enjoy your coffee while looking at the ocean. I have never been so relaxed in my life! I loved it so much, I’m going back in December. Next stop, I’m thinking Iceland! Have you seen the pictures of that island? It looks so beautiful.

We’re so jealous! That sounds amazing. What’s 1 item you can’t live without?
Chapstick (and Spotify). Oh, and actually a hair tie. Yep, definitely a hair tie too.

What does #AerieREAL mean to you?
I think this can mean so many different things to different girls. For me it means being and loving yourself and not apologizing for it. We recently talked as a buying team about how girls apologize constantly when speaking their minds, and I think that’s part of what this is about – learning how to stop apologizing for who you are or what you think and embracing and owning it!

We love that! Thank you Katie for sitting down with us!

Tune in to our Snapchat today (handle: aerie) as Katie gives us a behind-the-scenes look at her day at Aerie!

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Follow Her Friday: The Curvy Blogger

This week we’re inspired by blogger, photographer and model, Mandy Holesh from The Curvy Blogger. We sat down with her to talk about blogging, style and learning to love your curves. Read on to learn more about this bold and beautiful powerhouse.

We love your blog! What inspired you to start the Curvy Blogger? 
“I stand for style at all sizes, when I started my blog in 2010 there weren’t many bloggers who were in between straight and plus sizes. So my goal was to inspire girls who were a bit curvier to wear what they want and disobey the rules.”

Your style is so fun! What three words would you use to describe it?
“Eclectic, bold, fun.”

Follow Her Friday: The Curvy Blogger

You have been very open about past insecurities and learning to love your curves. What advice would you give to girls who are struggling with body image?
“Ignore what everyone else is saying. I know, easier said than done. Many people will try to make you feel bad about how you look or who you are, and 95% of the time it is because they have no confidence in themselves. I find that liking the way you look is sort of a rebellious thing to do, which is the best way to be a rebel in my opinion.”

Follow Her Friday: The Curvy Blogger

Do you have a favorite quote or motto that inspires you? 
“I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.” -Maya Angelou

What does being #AerieREAL mean to you?
“It means to be fearless, to be who you are and not apologize for it. Be you.”

Follow Her Friday: The Curvy Blogger

 Thank you, Mandy! Be sure to check out her blog and follow along on Instagram.

xoxo,

Aerie

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Real Talk with Ban.do

When we set out to bring you some of the cutest gifts around, there was no question that Ban.do was a perfect match! Between their fun, cheery products and positive message, it’s no secret why we’re obsessed with this LA-based powerhouse. We sat down with our friends at Ban.do to talk inspiration, staying organized and what it means to be #AerieREAL.

Aerie: Tell us about Ban.do! How did the company get started?

Ban.do: We started making one-of-a-kind hair accessories (think: flower crowns before they were a trend) that sold out pretty much immediately. The thing is, since they were one-of-a-kind, once they sold they were gone. So we began to make things in multiples, which allowed us to create accessible price points for every girl, and ban.do was born! We’ve evolved a lot since the beginning, but we’ve always been built on strong branding and the desire to bring fun products to all girls everywhere. We’ve always been very serious about fun!

Real Talk with Ban.do

Aerie: We’re obsessed with ban.do’s bright, fun aesthetic. What inspires the team on a daily basis?

Ban.do: Why, thank you! We find inspiration in a lot of places: Pinterest, Instagram, and our spectacular ban.do girl gang, to name a few. Connecting and collaborating with artists is one of our favorite things. We’re also inspired by our Los Angeles office, a.k.a The Ban.do Party House! There’s a disco ball wall, glitter wallpaper, and a pop up shop in the back: major creative fuel. When we’re not at the office, we love to explore LA by checking out museum exhibits, catching a movie at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, or treasure hunting at the Rose Bowl Flea Market.

Real Talk with Ban.do

Aerie: Staying organized can be tough at times! Do you have any tips for how to step up your desk game?

Ban.do: Totally! Our latest product line is all about creating the ultimate dream desk. The goal is to make your desk a place that totally works for you AND that you love looking at. Because if you’re not inspired, what’s the point? We love putting the “fun” in functional with cute desk accessories like pretty file folders and notebooks, bright markers and washi tape, and extras like colorful prints and tiny disco balls. Disco balls definitely increase productivity. Or at least remind you to have regular dance parties.

Real Talk with Ban.do

Aerie: Our ban.do collection is amazing! We know it’s hard to choose, but is there one product you’re REALLY excited about?

Ban.do: You guys, that’s basically impossible. But OK! We’re super excited about the I Am Very Busy Agenda, which is packed with magical things like compliments, stickers, a secret code language, and fun, weekly to-dos. People are obsessing over our agendas and interacting with them in really cool ways (see: #omgbandoagenda on Instagram), and we want to pop champagne and jump up and down about the whole thing!

Real Talk with Ban.do

Aerie: It’s no secret we’re excited to partner with a REAL company like ban.do! What does being #AerieREAL mean to you?

Ban.do: To us, being #AerieREAL means being who you are without apology and with a lot of celebrating and confetti-throwing. One of the phrases in our agenda is “Do whatever, be weird, it’s OK!” and we pretty much live by that. We can’t get enough of the individuality of our customers, who are sparkly, edgy, preppy, and everything in between. We’re all about inclusion, because that’s what makes things fun. And we just really want to be friends with everybody.

Show us your favorite Ban.do products with #AerieREAL on Instagram and Twitter for a chance to be featured on our Style Gallery! xo

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Follow Her Friday: Rachel Hollis

This week we’re inspired by the courageous, career-driven, body-loving blogger, Rachel Hollis! Her proud bikini photo received tons of media buzz and we couldn’t help but want to learn more about this beautiful, mother of three.

Aerie: We love your body positive message – what inspired you to share this photo with your readers?

Rachel: So many reporters asked me this and the answer is kind of silly. I theme my Instagram every month to a color and that month’s color was orange… the exact shade of my cute new bikini top. We were in Cancun and I thought it would be a cute picture and so I had hubs snap a bunch. I am no kind of model and being in a swimsuit feels especially awkward so the one I chose is the one where I’m laughing at how silly I felt. When I saw it I noticed my stretch marks right away but I figured plenty of my followers are moms and have them too so I just decided to post it anyway. I couldn’t have anticipated what would happen with that picture, it still blows my mind.

Aerie Follow Her Friday: Rachel Hollis - Body Positive message

Aerie: How did you get started with The Chic Site?

Rachel: I was an event planner for ten years in Los Angeles and initially I started The Chic Site as a virtual way to house all my ideas. At the time I thought people would want to see pictures from fancy parties but what I quickly learned was that they were much more interested in recipes and parties from my own real life. When I started to focus on my personal style (down home with a little fancy thrown in) that’s when the site really started to gain a following.

Aerie: What’s your favorite part about running a lifestyle website?

Rachel: There are a lot of things to love. I’m my own boss, which is a great feeling. And I work with an incredibly talented group of people that I got to hand pick. In the words of Confucius, “Choose a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Also, I truly love the idea that we’re being helpful to women who read our site. Whether it’s a recipe, a makeup tip or a tutorial on how to decorate your bedroom I want our readers to come away feeling inspired and encouraged.

Aerie: Do you have any advice you would give to girls interested in starting their own blog or business?

Rachel: Be yourself, everyone else is already taken. Seriously, there are so many businesses and blogs out there and the only way you’re going to make a splash is with a genuine message that is authentically you. Also, if you want to start a business you can’t treat it as a hobby. A lot of new bloggers decide to throw up a post here or there without structure behind it. Build an editorial calendar, collaborate with people smarter than you, take yourself seriously and others will to.

Aerie: Do you have a favorite quote or mantra?

Rachel: There is no such thing as luck, there is only preparation meeting opportunity at a moment in time.

Aerie: What’s your favorite Aerie product?

Rachel: I love a great t-shirt but I am such a sucker for a summer sweater! Haha, only in LA would someone consider the term summer sweater but it’s a real thing! You know the kind with a loose weave or the ones that are so light it’s like wearing cotton? I love them! It’s a way to feel cozy even if the weather is warm.

Follow Her Friday: Rachel Hollis

Aerie: What does being #AerieREAL mean to you?

Rachel: #AerieREAL is the idea of not just being comfortable with but grateful for who you are today. I love the idea of wanting to better your self, to become a better person inside and out. But that doesn’t mean that who you are right now (at this exact weight, with that exact hair, with your nose and your smile) isn’t awesome. Celebrate where you are, the real you because the real you is fabulous!

 Thank you, Rachel! Be sure to check out The Chic Site and follow her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!

xoxo,

Aerie

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Real Talk With Sun Bum

We can’t get enough of Sun Bum, suncare made from the best ingredients under the sun. Our team had a chance to sit down with Bryan W., one of the coolest guys from the Sun Bum team to learn a bit more about the newest collection now at Aerie, the need-to-know facts about skincare and most importantly, the story behind their funky logo.

SunBum

Aerie: Tell us a little bit about yourself! How did you get started working with Sun Bum?

Bryan: It was 2011 and I was at a trade show in Florida. I happened to walk by the Sun Bum booth. It was full of action, tons of people were crowding around to see what this new brand was all about. I made my way through the crowd and was Instantly drawn in by the Ape and all the wood grain bottles. I asked the guy working the booth what’s Sun Bum he replied Sun Care.  It was like nothing I’d ever seen before.  I knew sun care to be a medicine looking bottle like the one my parents forced on me as a child but this was the total opposite.  I knew at that moment this was a company I wanted to be a part of.

Aerie: We love your logo! What’s the story behind the monkey?

Bryan: We got lucky with the logo, people love it. No meaning, we just wanted a big, strong but relaxed character to represent the brand.

sunbum

Aerie: What is a common misconception about sunscreen?

Bryan: Once you put it on your covered all day. No matter what your doing it’s super important to reapply regularly.

Aerie: We really want a tan this summer…is that a big no-no?

Bryan: Hey we like being tan too, but you just gotta take is slow. Use an SPF 15 or higher, you’ll still get color but without the burn.

Aerie: What’s the difference between SPF 15, SPF 30, and SPF 50? Which is a girl to use?

Bryan: SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. Below is the approximate percentage of UVB rays blocked depending on SPF rating. The difference is surprisingly small. A higher SPF helps if you are fair skinned or have history of skin cancer. Remember, no sunscreen blocks 100% of UV rays.

SPF 15 = 93% Coverage

SPF 30 = 97% Coverage

SPF 50 = 98% Coverage

SPF 70 = 98.5% Coverage

SPF 100 = 99% Coverage

The main thing that affects protection level is applying it correctly. Dermatologists recommend using 3 tablespoons of sunscreen to protect your whole body. SPF ratings are significantly decreased if you don’t apply enough. Most people only apply 1/3 of the sunscreen they need. Make sure you use enough and don’t neglect hard to reach and easily forgotten places like your ears, feet and upper back.

Aerie: When is the best time to apply sunscreen?

Bryan: Anytime your out in the sun is a good time to apply sunscreen, but again, don’t forget to reapply every few hours.

Shop the Sun Bum collection now at Aerie and at Aerie.com!

Aerie: Why is using SPF lip balm important?

Bryan: Your lips get burn in the same way your skin gets burnt. So why wouldn’t you want to protect your kisser

Aerie: Which Sun Bum product is your favorite?

Bryan: I love my SPF 30 Face Stick. It’s easy to use goes on clear and is travel friendly.

 Thanks for the inside scoop, Bryan!

Be sure to pick up and pack this surf-ready SPF
so you can keep the fun going all day long!

xo,

Aerie

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Follow Her Friday: Olivia McMillan

We’re inspired each day by the stories you share that show how you’re #AerieREAL. This week we’re sharing the story of 17-year-old Olivia McMillan, an extremely talented and determined young woman who stands for body image, beauty, and more as she breaks the pageantry mold as Miss America’s Outstanding Teen (the little sister to Miss America).

A high school student currently residing in Warner Robins, Georgia. Olivia spends each day balancing her studies, practicing her singing (she’s an unbelievable opera singer), representing young women, volunteering, and applying to colleges. Despite her successes, Olivia faced many challenges growing up and it’s the way she faced them that inspires us today.  Read on below to learn more about Olivia and to follow her journey!

Follow Her Friday: Olivia McMillan

Olivia sporting her #AerieREAL tee at school.

Aerie: Hi, Olivia! We’re so excited to talk with you. Can you tell us a little bit more about your background? 

Olivia: Like many of you, I’ve faced various challenges in my life. As a biracial baby, I was adopted by white parents in Georgia, and so was my brother. At one point I turned to emotional eating to help me cope with the special needs of my brother and the challenges it posed to my family. Singing became my refuge. I joined a local university’s children’s choir, sang with the youth from my church, and began taking classical voice lessons with a private instructor. I also discovered pageants as a wonderful opportunity to showcase my talent and develop poise and stage presence…and I was fortunate to be awarded $25,500 in scholarship money for my college education by Miss America’s Outstanding Teen!

Follow Her Friday: Olivia McMillan

Olivia, Miss America’s Oustanding Teen and and Kira Kazantsev, Miss America. – Photo by Allen Dye

Aerie: What does #AerieReal mean to you?
Olivia: I believe #AerieReal is necessary and relevant for teens all over the world, and it’s something I’ve been waiting for, for a long time. As a 5’10” biracial girl who has struggled with weight her entire life, it was hard for me to look at magazines with seemingly perfect models on the covers. I told myself that that is the way I was supposed to look, as if that form of perfection was the goal. But for me and so many others, that “goal” is unattainable. The #AerieReal campaign features beautiful and confident women who are comfortable in their own skin and refuse to be retouched to live up to society’s ideal of perfection. It is inspiring to finally be able to look at models and feel like I can relate to them. Teens everywhere can now say, “Oh, that model kind of looks like me.” They are perfect in their imperfections, giving girls everywhere the confidence to be themselves and to embrace their bodies. That is beautiful.

Follow Her Friday: Olivia McMillan

Aerie: What makes you #AerieReal?
Olivia: There are many stereotypes attached to the “pageant girl” image and because of them, I thought I could never be successful in pageants. After winning my local pageant as a size 16, many thought that I was too large to compete on the state level. I was even told I was “fat.” At 16 years old, this was really hard to hear. It made me take a good look at myself, and I realized that I wasn’t fat, but I wasn’t healthy either. I made the decision to work hard to get fit and become healthy for myself. I lost 50 pounds over the last year, and competed in my state pageant as a size 8-10. I was honored to win Miss Georgia’s Outstanding Teen, and then I went on to win the national pageant competing against 52 other young women. I refused to let anyone tell me who I should be or how I should look. I took control of my health and my body, and was able to break the pageant stereotype. I was myself through and through, and to me that is what #AerieReal is all about!

Follow Her Friday: Olivia McMillan

Olivia and her girlfriends, Laura, Kayla and Hannah hanging out on spring break.

Aerie: Where do you see yourself in three years?
Olivia: In three years, I see myself in college being a normal student. I have had a pageant title all four years of high school. It has been a blessing, but also a lot of hard work and a great deal of responsibility. It will be nice to relax and focus on school and friends. I plan to be a vocal performance major in college so it will also be pretty amazing getting to do what I love every day!

Aerie: What is your life motto?
Olivia: My life motto is “Beeee yourself.” This is a quote from the genie in Disney’s “Aladdin,” and my Dad has been saying this to me since I was a little kid. It’s definitely helped me in my experience with pageants. I used to try to be what I thought everyone else wanted. That didn’t work for me. I am a biracial girl who is adopted, has a brother with special needs, and has lost 50 pounds. I used to try to cover up my story because it made me different, but I soon realized it made me special. I learned that if I was going to be successful in pageants or life in general, I needed to be myself because everyone else is already taken!

Follow Her Friday: Olivia McMillan

Olivia and her BFF McKenzie at the Grand Canyon.

Aerie: What is your biggest accomplishment thus far?
Olivia: My biggest accomplishment is definitely winning Miss America’s Outstanding Teen. The organization is committed to helping communities, and each titleholder has a personal platform. Mine is the Sibling Support Project, which helps the brothers and sisters of children with special needs. I’m also a National Teen Goodwill Ambassador for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. I’ve had the chance to meet many incredible people, perform, speak on behalf of the MAOTeen organization and support so many important causes.
It was a long journey, but I’m so happy that I could pave the way for other girls who felt like they couldn’t succeed in pageants. I got an e-mail from a girl shortly after I won and she told me that she had never competed in pageants because she struggled with her weight. She told me that she saw me win and it inspired her to compete in her very first local pageant. I am so humbled and honored to be able to inspire others to follow their dreams. I am proud that I broke the mold of what people have always said a pageant winner should be. I am even more proud that this has given other girls the confidence to go out there and do the same!

Aerie: Do you have a role model? If so who is he/she and why does he/she inspire you?
Olivia: My role model is Kate Winslet. Not only is she an incredible actress, but she has remained so humble and grounded even in the face of huge success and stardom. She encourages women everywhere to love themselves and to love their bodies. She struggled with weight in her youth and is now a healthy weight for her. She says that she will never change who she is to fit other people’s expectations. That is so inspiring to me. I applaud her realness and her promotion of self-love. In a society where size 2 is expected, it is so beautiful to see a woman in Hollywood preaching about the importance of being healthy for your own body. She is amazing.

Follow Her Friday: Olivia McMillan

Aerie: Do you have a favorite Aerie item?
Olivia: I LOVE Aerie Sweatpants! I am a very laid back kind of girl, and when I am not making pageant appearances my style is usually pretty relaxed. Comfort is key for me, and Aerie sweatpants are so soft. They are definitely a “must have” for me!

Follow Her Friday: Olivia McMillan

Olivia with two of her best friends since childhood after winning Miss Georgia’s Outstanding Teen.

Aerie: What are your three things you always have with you?
Olivia: Lip balm, my best friends, and hand sanitizer (I’m kind of a germaphobe!)

Aerie: What’s your favorite song to sing?
Olivia: I am classically trained, so I love to sing classical songs when I perform, like “Nessun Dorma” or “O Mio Babbino Caro.” But when I’m just jamming in my car with friends, I love to sing/scream out “All About that Bass” whenever it comes on the radio.

Aerie:  If you could pick any song to be your own theme song, what would it be?
Olivia: My theme song would be “Just Fine” by Mary J. Blige. When my brother was diagnosed with Autism and bipolar disorder, my parents brought in a family therapist who introduced us to this song. It is all about loving yourself and loving your life no matter the cards you are dealt. “See I wouldn’t change my life, my life’s just fine.”

Aerie: Do you have a secret talent, skill or quirk? Do tell!
Olivia: I love to do impersonations or accents. My favorite one to do is an Australian accent. I even convinced a classmate that I was a foreign exchange student from Australia!

Thank you, Olivia! Inspired by Olivia’s story too? Follow her on Instagram and Twitter to keep up to date on her adventures!

xoxo,

Aerie

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