Saturday, May 12, 2012

There is no joy in Buxomville--

--Betsey Johnson has gone out of business.

OK, maybe not the line, but the stores are all closing. Everything's on sale, which would ordinarily be wonderful, but damn it, I'm going to miss those stores.

I've loved Betsey Johnson since the mid-1970s when she was designing for Alley Cat. Seventeen magazine ran these great little black and white ads that Betsey drew, and I loved them so much I carefully cut them out of the magazine and saved them.

Apparently, I'm not the only person who did that. (Courtesy of The Paper Collector)
Cutting out the ads was the closest I was ever going to get to owning anything by Betsey Johnson. My mother was a New England tightwad whos was completely uninterested in fashion. She would never have spent that kind of money on me. I was her third daughter, and she's ruthlessly practical. Given the circumstances, frankly, I'm surprised my middle name isn't Hand Me Down.

(I'm sure this is why I rebelled and became the frivolous creature you know today.)

Call me an over-compensating Baby Boomer. Say it's the female equivalent of a red Ferrari convertible. But I've had such fun taking my daughter shopping in Betsey Johnson stores.

She's interested in Japanese street fashion and Vocaloid music, and I'm obsessed with Chanel and Hermes. But we found middle ground in Betsey Johnson's designs. To be in a hot pink Betsey Johnson store packed to the rafters with short, pink tulle skirts, leopard print, and rhinestone-studded skulls was for us, very heaven. We would ooh and ah over the girly, punky craziness of it all. 

This is true even though there is nothing like a Betsy Johnson store to make me conscious of the passage of time. The vintage-inspired dresses are exactly the sort of thing I would have loved to have worn at one time ... but now, they would just make me look ... vintage. I am womanly, and they are girly, which means they are officially Too Young For Me.

Luckily, they are perfect for my daughter. And I suppose that's part of the pleasure of buying them for her. Even as I try to find more ways to flatter my aging body, I rejoice in her ability to look fabulous in everything she tries on. Here she is, head to toe Betsy, for a dance she went to last February.

Betsey Johnson dress, shoes, cape, and bracelet.

(Just so you know, the tragic look wasn't unhappiness; she was disguising her braces.)

And yes, Betsey's prices are insane, particularly when you're young enough to still grow out of your clothes. But for fresh designs with a vintage point of view, amazing attention to detail, and tiny dressmaker details, there is nothing marketed to young women that can touch Betsey Johnson.

So the following came home with Miss Buxom and me:

For those times when you really need to get down to the Petite Trianon and milk the cows.

When it's time for Rosie the Riveter to go out dancing.
To audition for the role of Dorothy Brock in 42nd Street
We also brought home some jewelry. A set of stacking rings:
A two-finger ring:
 A nautical statement necklace:

Which would be perfect with this very Katy Perry bathing suit.

Betty Grable?
... eat your heart out.


  1. Gorgeous buys... Betsy Johnson is fab and I am sad to hera about the shops... Your daughter looks perfcet in that outfit... xv

  2. Gorgeous stuff, I'v always admired her, Daughter looks so cute, pity she isn't smiling ... braces are so in right now it's MUST to show them!

  3. You know what kills me - okay, maybe not KILLS, she's prettier than the models.

  4. I've been to the Seattle store and watched as my daughter tried on many things, Betsey Johnson's line is pure fun and fantasy.
    Mother daughter shopping expeditions are on the top of my list!
    Happy Mother's Day!

  5. I read that a few stores such as the one in New York will be kept open.

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  7. Loved Betsey Johnson as well when I was growing up. She was truly an original and I did love her whimsical sketches. Unfortunately we never lived where I could purchase her clothes... so I learned to sew! :)

  8. I just discovered your blog today, and I am so thankful! Your blog is the bees knees. I read your interview in which you mentioned you had been on back in the 90's. Me too!!!!! Oh, how I loved that newsgroup. I wonder where everyone is now? I still have a few lippies that I got from RJudith when we did a swap back in 1999. I probably should throw them away after all these years. {*_*}


Gentle Readers:

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xxx, Poppy.