Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Betsey Johnson: A Bit o' History

Betsey Johnson solidified my place in 80s fashion history among the minds and memories of the very small town I am from. My dad, who scoured the streets of New York for the coolest, most cutting-edge clothes around (read my first entry for the dad-shopping tale) introduced me -- believe it or not. I mean, what better place to outfit your 14-year old daughter for her 8th grade graduation, especially when she was on tap to make a speech in front of all of the students, teachers and parents? At the time, I think the only two stores in the city were on Columbus Ave. and E. 60th Street (both stores still exist). And if memory serves me, I bought the pictured dress at the Columbus Ave. location. See how I fade into the background among my friends? When my mother first saw me in it, she screamed in horror. (And the very red shoes, what little you can see of them, are from Kenneth Cole - Columbus Ave. Didn't anyone else's mother tell them that WHITE SHOES ARE UGLY?)

I continued for years to return to Betsey's, usually buying that which was on sale, and every once in a while springing for a full-price item, such as the bright yellow mini skirt with two giant zippers running up the front that could stand upright on a table by itself, like a lampshade. Or the tight, long red skirt with the silkscreened guns and bullets all over it. This stuff should be in the Smithsonian, and still exists somewhere in the depths of a basement...alas, all I can wear now are two belts - one patent-leather silver studded, the other a bright red (faux) snakeskin.

While her clothing accented my style, I find that she may have 'sold out' a bit in recent years. I seem to find her clothing and hand bags in malls and even discount department stores, such as Loehmann's. What happened to the sweaters with patterns of giant eyeballs or spiders? Where are the patent-leather ankle and wrist belts? Perhaps they are stuck in the 80s, and I may be as well, apparently.


julia warner said...

I have 2 things to say, 1- I think I was wearing my mothers white shoes. 2- How weird is it that Rachel and Kim are wearing the same dress? Hmmm.

jayfader said...

ah the gun skirt! i think the first time i met you you were wearing it...and of COURSE the yellow lampshade skirt (remember when i wore it to a 70s halloween party)?