Saturday night drinks with friends were going stonkingly well until Annu dropped the B-bomb “Betsey Johnson is closing all her stores and filing for bankruptcy!” She’s doing what, when and what again?? If it wasn’t for really good sangria at Social Study bar (of which I was now knee deep in 3 of them) I’d have gone home to shed a tear.
For someone who ritually wears pajamas or sweatpants, I’ve never been a fashionista, never fallen for the ‘girls shopping’ trick, and my mom sometimes ships clothes to me from the UK. The only designer label I’ve ever worn was by Jean Bourget when I was a child and the only reason I wore this, was because I was such a sickly, skinny runt - nothing else would fit. So my sisters had to suffer in cheaper clothes while I was strutting around in haute couture, designed for toothbrush-looking kids!
Yet when I moved to San Francisco, I discovered Betsey on Fillmore Street and fell madly in love. It was a spontaneous ‘let’s go in here, mom’ pull of the leash by my dog (Muppet), who can sniff out every treat behind a store counter, within a 5 block radius. Fifteen minutes later I came out with a fat dog and $300 taffeta boned dress in two-tone blue. That was the defining moment – my dog was a spontaneous purchase many years earlier and now she was spilling all her treat-addictions into an expensive designer impulse habit for me. Doomed.com!
Since then, my feet do the walking into Betsey Fillmore store, Muppet knows her way around the stock room, I’ve held the Foursquare Mayor ship ritually, Betsey staff has uploaded photos of me on their Facebook page (see photo, added April 14 2011) and my Facebook profile should say I’m in a deeply committed relationship.
I’ve worn the blue dress at my cousins wedding, the pink Basque at magical holiday parties, laughed so hard in my pink satin dress that the zipper exploded (too happy?), fell down 20 steps in my black ball gown because long dresses have a mind of their own (the ‘vomit’ of taffeta underneath didn’t help on my focus or balance either) and worn my black puffball skirt (with huge pink flower) on two consecutive birthday parties.
These clothes denote memories, history, emotions and have survived to tell the tale.
So on Sunday, I felt it apt to meet with the news-bearer, Annu, at Betsey on Fillmore for one last ‘closing down’ peek. It felt like I was walking into a deceased’s closet and was allowed to purchase her wardrobe. Not only was it a morbid and sad experience, but it resembled an act of paying final respects, along with the intention to make a final, epic purchase. Caution for cost blew out the window within 16 seconds as I snapped up 11 dresses to test. I swiftly chose a chiffon, off shoulder dress which is categorically not my style but I vowed to cherish at every garden party I’ll never be invited to…forever.
I also purchased an oversize purse in gun metal that is as useful as an ashtray on a speeding motorbike, but silently screamed my name.
And with that said, I now wish Betsey and her incredible team a sad farewell. I’ve never looked back after a serious break up but with you, hmmm…you’re the one that got away.
The store is closing shortly so gallop over quickly and give credit-card, where credit is due!
RIP Betsey Johnson. You will always be pretty in pink, love, Mayor!