Friday, April 6, 2012

Betsey Babe Forever

I love fashion--always have, and always will. There are scads of photos of me throughout my childhood, dressed in cute little outfits, always with a handbag and shoes to match. Yes, spoiled I was--you tell me how many 5 year olds know what Holt Renfrew is? My fashion awareness, along with being spoilt, coupled with a precocious little personality--that’s right, I was quite the gem. Things took a turn for the worse when school started--the stifling experience of having to go to a private school which just about killed me in a number of aspects, but namely having to wear the same outfit every day for years--imagine. The only time a uniform makes sense to me is on a man, such as a policeman or a fireman...I’ll stop now, but you get the point.

Now at 41, I like to still keep up with the current fashion trends, and at the same time, like to create my own style too. Trying to give a description of my home is a whole other blog, but you can always find a pile of Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar casually sitting on my coffee table (the “table” is actually a big chest full of past issues of fashion magazines). We already live in a herd-like society, so when it comes to who I am and what my style is, there’s one designer that fits the bill for me: Betsey Johnson. Here’s a fashion icon that has been in the biz for decades, and as far as I’m concerned, she just gets better and better as time goes on with respect to her fashion, who she is, and what she stands for.

I hear this phrase AT LEAST once a week from strangers on the street: “Wow, where did you get that--it’s gorgeous and so unique!” And if I had a dime for each time I replied with , “Thanks, it’s Betsey Johnson”, I’d be rich. It’s come to the point where people are remembering me in shops because of Betsey. My clients are always checking out my ensembles at the office. My friends and family have to come know that I’ve always got something Betsey somewhere on my body. Work is tough though because the bank is terribly stuffy when it comes to dress code--business attire means wear nothing but black usually. Every time a go to a business meeting outside the office, I find everyone looks exactly the same (enter herd mentality I mentioned earlier). Just to stir the pot, I like to purposely wear a Betsey outfit that is anything but boring--it’s great--all the little whispers and looks to me are a form of flattery for having the guts to go beyond the norm and be my own person.

The Betsey Johnson store in Vancouver, Canada is amazing--if you’re a girly girl like me, it’s like walking into the ultimate fashion candy store. The first time I went in, it was totally overwhelming and I felt I had died and gone to pink chiffon heaven. The staff are incredible--I have so much fun when I visit (the word “visit” is simply a more therapeutic way of saying the word “shop”), and I have a plethora of pink Betsey shopping bags at home to prove it, along with my wardrobe and two jewelry boxes, both crammed with all things Betsey.

A couple of interesting incidents put me on the map with the staff, and now when I go in, I feel like I’m part of the Betsey family. There is one night I remember in particular because I had just gone to the gym downtown with a friend of mine, and with a quick glance at the time, I realized that the Betsey store was still open. Black suede thigh high boots with beautiful lace-embroidered heals were on the agenda. Getting them on was not an issue; however, getting them off required significant assistance of both Becca and Ciji. Fortunately, I was the only customer in the store at the time, so going through 20 mins of panic with them tugging and pulling on the boots--Becca yanking on one foot and Ciji on the other--was a little less embarrassing than if there was an audience present. It was a sight to behold alright, and of course we were killing ourselves laughing all the while. The saving grace was the fact that I was going to buy the boots anyway (hello!)--I would just simply have to come to the realization that I might be never taking them off again. What would be so wrong about wearing black suede thigh high boots ALL the time...maybe I would have more dates?

Then there was another time where I was trying on a few dresses and I literally got stuck, with my arms up in the air and with no give in the dress whatsoever. The staff kept walking by my dressing room checking in on me, and all I could say was that I was fine but I was actually totally freaking out thanks to the voluntary straight-jacket situation I put myself in. Eventually I was able to free myself and spare the dress from harm--although it might have looked a little suspicious when I came out of the dressing room covered in sweat. Oh, the memories.

I was a ballerina for 10 years as a young girl--twirling and dancing around in a cute fluffy dress was something that made me feel like a princess. Many years later, I’m happy to report that thanks to my incessant love for twirling and dancing, a blatantly obvious overactive imagination, and the inspiring designs of Betsey Johnson, I can be a princess forever. Thanks Betsey xox.

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