Tag Archives: Betsey Johnson

Purse Envy

“No matter how neat a woman looks, a sloppy, overfilled purse is a dead giveaway.” Helen Valentine & Alice Thompson, Better Than Beauty

I have always lived out of my purse.  Working long hours, sometimes two jobs in one day, I had to make sure I had everything on me–bus fare, discman/CD, my uniform(s), my notebook, pens, lunch–because if I didn’t, I was out of luck.  I carried big, ugly bags, usually black, basic, utilitarian, covered in pins and patches.  I did have one sweet one that I made out a tie and this great houndstooth fabric, but it didn’t hold much, so it didn’t get used very often.  A nice handbag was an expense I couldn’t afford and a hassle I didn’t need.  I was a modern, liberated woman, I didn’t need no stinkin’ handbag!

About a year ago I decided that, damn, it, I was modern, liberated and worthy of a big bright beautiful statement purse.  I went straight to TJ Maxx and bought a cute little fuchsia Betsey Johnson hobo bag for $24.  And I instantly felt more confident, like a woman instead of a college bimbo.  And I could still fit what I needed in there–my cell phone, iPod, a notebook, a pen, some Dr. Pepper lip gloss, a wallet.  (I also have a houndstooth Betsey bag that Ian got me for Christmas, and a big bold leopard print Betsey tote that I use when I travel.  First time in my life I’ve had more than one purse in rotation!)

But even that’s too much stuff sometimes! 

I have always envied my friend Lexa for a variety of reasons–one, she is pretty and blonde and wildly successful and secondly, she always looks so polished and put together, with this wonderful elegance that only NYC women have.  And the last time I saw her, she was carrying a slim envelope clutch purse, and I was so, so jealous.  I keep meaning to make one, but I suffer terribly from ProCraftination, the symptoms of which are me buying craft supplies and then never actually doing anything with them.

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Lot of Spaceballs References This Week . . ..

But I did keep that style tip in mind when I went out for brunch with Rachel, Nina and Tiffany.  I took only what I needed to survive–a twenty, my license in case I wanted a Belini, my fan and my Moxie lip gloss, all of which fit neatly into a #10 envelope-sized red leather clutch purse Ian’s mom brought me back from Costa Rica.

How classy a girl looks with a clutch!  It draws attention to her lovely hands, makes her look charming and delicate, a bit mysterious.  What could she possibly have in that little thing?

In an age where we’re expected to be tied to our smartphones, which have our entire library/record collection/work/social lives stored on them so that at any moment you can be reading a work email while talking to your mother and making arrangements for the babysitter, to go out into the world free of all those things, trusting and living life as it was happening (brunch was lovely!) was a completely liberating experience!

 

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Romper Room

Friends, I was once like you.  I used to look at the romper and think “ugh, I had one of those when I was six*, what, is that like the summer Snuggie for people who’ve given up on life?”

Romper

But friends, I am here to tell you that I have changed my ways.  A romper came into my life and showed me all the promised glory of cute, chic, comfort and style.

You see friends, I toss and turn a lot in the night.  Nightgowns get tangled, and I have yet to find my dream pair of Liz Lemon-esq pajamas in which to work on my night cheese.

But one day, at TJ Maxx, I spotted a pink tag on a garment that would change my life forever (One of my superpowers is the ability to spot a Betsey Johnson tag from a mile away).  This deep purple,  pink rose-print cotton romper with a ruffled black satin trim and little rosettes was calling my name.  I bought it and took it home and promised him that if it looked stupid or was uncomfortable, I would take it back.

That night, I discovered that sleep did not have to be marred by twisted shirts and baggy boxers.  I could lounge comfortably with coffee in the morning.  And it looked fetching with my pink satin kitten-heel slippers.

Ian called it a “gateway garment” that would eventually lead to a Snuggie and, possibly a Hoodie Footie.  But friends, I am here to tell you that those are THE DEVIL’S LIES.  Go out and buy one in every shade and you will NOT be sorry you did!

(This does not mean, however, that the romper can be worn outside.  Then it just looks stupid and frumpy.)

*It had Rainbow Brite on it.  Top THAT!

Saying No To New Clothes

“Don’t buy anything you don’t adore.  Yes, this could easily mean fewer clothes!” Helen Gurley Brown, Sex and The Single Girl 

I love clothes and always have.  My first apartment had a walk-in closet, so I used to buy, alter or make clothes on a whim.  I doubt that in my freshman year of college, I ever wore the same outfit twice!  

But my tastes are in the process of changing, and that means admitting that I will never wear that long black lace Lip Service dress from Hot Topic or that pleated skirt I’ve had since 9th grade (and still fits!)  So into the garage sale pile they go, to make me a little extra cash to spend on, say, a new Betsey Johnson dress.

The other side of that is that I’m less impulsive about what I buy.  I’m now buying less on what I think I “should” have or what “might” work.  It may look good in a magazine, but I am not a paper girl!

The other day, I was at TJ Maxx and I saw this beautiful blue peplum dress.  I thought “I bet I could wear that to work,” and, even better, it was only $16 …but when I tried it on, I didn’t gasp in wonder at what was looking back at me in the mirror. 

Would it have worked?  Yes.  And I would have gotten plenty of compliments on it too.  But I didn’t adore it, which meant it had NO PLACE in my closet.  I barely have time for the clothes I wear–why waste time on ones I don’t love?*

 

*If you have tee-shirts, don’t throw them out–instead, pick up Generation-T and make them into cool skirts and housewares!

 

Day Three in Heels

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If these had a Meowth and came in red, I would wear them every day of my life.

I went to high school in the late 90’s, when it was required by law that all girls shoes have at least a four-inch heel, because the Spice Girls were popular and nothing shows “Girl Power” as much as limping late into math class on a twisted ankle in sweet black stretch knee-high dragon patterned boots from Hot Topic.

But in high school, walking to math class was about as far as I ever had to go, so it was easy to strut around in ridiculous heels.  Once I got to college, I switched to sturdy, mid-calf Doc Martens, dependable punk boots I would stand at one of my several low-wage jobs in all day and dance in all night.

But now that I have a job that requires me to sit at my desk all day, I’m really enjoying wearing heels.  The furthest I have to walk is from the bus to my office, and yesterday, when I was wearing my Betsey Johnson booties and skinny black slacks, I just about caused a traffic accident from all the drivers turning to stare.  Yeah, I felt awesome.

What DIDN’T feel awesome was when I strut my stuff down to the post office, which gave me a blister and reminded me why I stopped wearing heels.  But damn, I looked good, and a little ego can balm any wound.

Happy Birthday To Me!

Dreamgirl

How can I NOT Have a Happy Birthday When I Look This Fab?

Today, at 11:23 a.m., I will turn 30.  And I’m actually pretty thrilled about it.  Not just because I’m getting office cake (my favorite kind of cake) and Ian arranged my vanity so that all my Monster High Dollies were holding my presents, and not just because I got an MST3K box set and Epic Mickey 2, but because I feel like 30 will bring forward all these new, wonderful possibilities.  20 was fun, for the first half, but the latter just felt like purgatory: too old to goof off and stay up drinking red wine all night, too young for anyone to really take me seriously.  I was not going to be some young hip thing, so I just sort of floundered around.

But now I’m 30, and I feel like things will all fall into place.  Of course, the fact that I still LOOK 24 (stay out of the sun, avoid fast food, never go NEAR a cigarette and keep booze to a minimum) makes it that much more enjoyable.

And even though it’s press day and I have at least 9 hours of work ahead of me, at the very least, I’m wearing my favorite heels, my black and white Betsey Johnson booties, and it’s hard not to be awesome in Betsey Johnson booties.

Say Yes To the Dress: Day 4

Embrace the manufacturer whose clothes consistently do nice things for you.”  Helen Gurley Brown, Sex and the Single Girl.

I got into Betsey Johnson only recently in a perfect storm of rediscovering Cyndi Lauper and a TJ Maxx opening in my town.  I had two Betsey Johnson dresses in my closet that I’d all but forgotten about; one bought for me by a creepy roommate I had in Brooklyn in hopes that I would model it for him (and leave it crumpled on his floor–I did neither) and another given to me in a bag of clothes from the daughter of a friend of my F-i-L.

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I’ll pretty much wear anything my dollies come dressed as

I like Betsey because her clothes are fun, flirty and sophisticated and casual, a rare combo indeed.  It’s hard to find something that meets all three.  Flirty clothes are usually fun but rarely sophisticated, and sophisticated clothes are rarely casual.  I rarely give my loyalty to a designer, but as I began to acquire more and more pieces, I saw the quality, and decided that if I was going to spend money on a purse or shoes, they had better be nice ones.  When I wear my spike-heeled black and white booties (which I bought because they reminded me of shoes worn by my Monster High Dollies) I get more compliments than on anything else in my wardrobe.

Betsey DressAll my Betsey dresses are black.  My office is pretty casual, but I can’t exactly show up to in an off-the-shoulder skull-print party dress.  My favorite is a vintage piece from the 90’s that I got for $30 on ebay, with short sleeves, a drop waist and a full skirt.  I live in it during office hours in the summer, but it looks just as cute with a sweater in the middle of a New York winter.

Now if only they made Betsey Johnson dresses for Dollies . . .