Shape wear is such an exciting and hot category in the fashion world, these days! There are new products popping up all the time! I’ve been so fortunate to get to know Stefanie Manhal, the brilliant mom designer behind stā body, over the last few years. She’s been designing shape wear that looks just as good on the outside as it does under your everyday garments. Today, I’m sharing an interview with Stefanie herself, to give you an idea of life behind the brand. She’s also generously sharing a promo code just for our readers, so keep scrolling! 🙂
Having fun with your style starts by loving your shape as it is today.Stefanie Manhal, stā body
Read the full interview, below!
Stefanie, tell us a little bit about yourself!
I’m a happy, silly, creative person that has deep rooted common sense and a craving for integrity. I was in my early twenties when I knew I wanted to be in the apparel industry. I would watch fashion shows and sew and design and paint…I was definitely craving to be creative at an early age and still love to find new ways to make beautiful things.
I have an extensive background in apparel and have worked for many lines over the years. Even though it’s a pretty crazy industry, it is what I love. Having my own line electrifies me like nothing I’ve ever experienced, and I am blessed and grateful every day that I get to dress women all around the world. To say it gives me life is an understatement.
I am “married” to my crush from 9th grade (he kicks himself for not noticing me then😉) and am a mom to the most amazing daughter who has made my life more wonderful than I could have ever expected. I have to pinch myself sometimes wondering how did I get so lucky.
What made you want to start a clothing line, and just how did your company come to be?
I have always had a love hate relationship with my tummy. Ok…hate is a strong word but, for as long as can I remember I have felt more comfortable when it is covered up. Even before I had my daughter, I had a tummy. Hell, I remember noticing it in the 6th grade! We go way back.
After pregnancy and having lost quite a bit of weight, I started wearing shape wear tanks and underwear to hug my middle. I craved support and coverage. The problem was that those shape wear items just made my issues worse! Shaper tanks rolled up on me the moment I turned even an inch to the side or bent down, and so did shaper underwear.
The level of compression on most of the items that are out there is hardly what I need on a daily basis. Too tight shape wear either creates bulges where there were none before or makes you look like a sausage… and does no one think of VPL when making these things? Bodysuits would either pull down on my chest or up on my crotch as most of them were too short for my torso and forget the restroom! Like, that part alone made me not want to wear a bodysuit even though it had the coverage I desired so badly… I just wouldn’t do it. I mean, having to either pull your entire bodysuit down or wrestle with snaps when you’re out and about was enough to put me over the edge.
So, one day I took all of the aspects that I wanted in a bodysuit shaper and sewed my own garment in my apartment on my hand-me-down machine. I made three versions of it and wore them out! They answered every problem that I was trying to solve and gave me the comfort and confidence that I was looking for. Once I had perfected it, I knew I wanted to give that feeling of support, confidence and coverage to women everywhere. And the beauty is- you do not have to hate your tummy to wear stā. It’s a bodysuit that everyone can benefit from and a must have for wardrobes everywhere that will never go out of style.
What style mantra guides your designs?
Our stā BODY mantra is “my body suits me“. It is my mission and sole purpose to help women love the shape that they are RIGHT NOW and stop believing that we need to be cinched and stuffed into a size that we are not in order to be considered beautiful. To give hugs but never any squeezes and to share the message that your body, as it is today is … perfection.
Where is your favorite place to travel?
When I travel, I crave anywhere tropical. One of my favorite trips was to Hawaii and I can’t wait to go back. Give me a beach, a frosty drink and the sun on my face and I’m a happy girl! And yes I will be wearing a 2 piece bathing suit on my next vacay!
What is one thing that inspires you most?
I think creativity in people inspires me the most. Seeing a beautiful dress, a colorful mural or a live performance. That and the desire to succeed in helping women love their bodies. When I get messages on how the body suit has made someone love the way they look… that is a straight shot to my heart! Inspiration overload.
In what ways can women, and especially moms, experience joy with their style?
Having fun with your style starts with loving your shape as it is today. Nobody is going to be enjoying trying on that blouse in the mall dressing room when underneath it you feel like junk. Whether it’s a bodysuit day or not we must remember that we are women, our bodies fluctuate and it’s a beautiful thing. We also need to remember that no style is off limits. If you wanna wear it, WEAR it and wear it proudly! And don’t forget to accessorize with layers and layers of confidence!
What are your top tips for curating one’s best style?
Always be true to yourself. Many times I feel like I should be more feminine and wear a dress here and there but then I remember … if that was me, I would do that without even thinking about it. If that truly was my style, that’s what would be in my closet, but it’s not. What’s in my closet represents me and it’s not wrong. Be inspired by others, but always stay true to yourself. That’s YOUR style, no one else’s and it’s beautiful.
What is your favorite part of your job?
The best part of my job is talking to women everywhere and hearing how I have made their day better. To see someone wearing the bodysuit with a big ol’ smile on their face or to hear someone say they told their girlfriend that they needed to get a stā BODY suit… Priceless.
What are your passions outside of your work?
A big passion outside of work is my home. We bought a fixer upper 12 years ago and have changed just about every single room in the house. It’s almost completely done by our hands and is very much an extension of who I am. Yet another creative outlet that is never finished but always fulfilling.
SPECIAL PROMO for you guys!!
Stefanie has very generously offered our readers a 20% discount site-wide! Just visit stā body and use code LUXYMOM20.
Want more reading?
Give this piece a read – it’s my previous review of stā body!