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For the love of Betsey

Anything I can buy at the mall, I can get at a thrift store. But that’s old news. Thrifting is the best because I find things I can’t buy at the mall, things I can’t find online, things I couldn’t otherwise afford, and things I’d never even think to look for. That’s the funnest part about the hunt. And this week, I bagged on of my best (and maybe favourite?) thrifty finds EVER. Two words:


Yup. I thrifted a Betsey this week! Now before I go ahead and reveal my steal, I’m going to tell you a bit about my girl Betsey – Chick is crazy.

For real – you will be hard-pressed to find another living designer as zany as our Bestey. She’s tacky, she’s trashy, she’s punk rock – and, almost unexpectedly, she makes beautiful clothing that transcends all the gimmicks and the glitter. If you want to get a good taste of Betsey’s aesthetic, look no further than her most recent Spring 2012 show:


Sparkles. Taffeta. Rhinestones. Lace-up platforms. Lightning bolt earrings for goodness sake! Not exactly my style (unless I finally live my dream and go as Jem for Halloween). But before you dismiss the wacky and wonderful ways of Betsey, I want you to look closer at the construction of her work – the cut of the dresses, the incredible florals, the soft chiffons and feminine silhouettes – they’re there, they’re just hiding. Have a look at some of Betsey’s other creations:


Betsey first found her voice within the “youth quake” scene of the 1960s and 70s, rubbing shoulders with Andy Warhol and the The Velvet Underground. She developed a bold, brash, and beautiful style, and at 69 she is still sending it down the runway every season. Betsey creates original and lovely things that any woman, from Katy Perry to Kate Winslet could wear. The week, I thrifted an amazing Betsey Johnson black floral slip dress at the Salvation Army, and if it weren’t sleeting outside, I’d be wearing it right now.



I found this dress while on the hunt for vacation wear for my trip in March (that’s become a bit of a problem – all I’m buying lately are pieces strictly meant for the beach, not practical for a Canadian in the great white North). I pulled this dress from the rack and tried it on before even looking at the label. I was honestly amazed at how well it fit my body. The lines were perfect. The fabric was so soft, and the simple, effortless construction made me realize this wasn’t a Walmart brand. The label, “Betsey Johnson New York” means it’s a newish find from the mid 2000s. It also means it likely cost upwards of $250 when it was new. If you look on the current Betsey Johnson website, similar pieces are going for $300 or more. And I paid $6.99. Amazing!

I’m purposefully not giving you a full view of this dress, because it looks so much better on than it does on the hanger. So, you’ll have to wait until I’m frolicking in white sands and salty waters in March to see that. I won’t be wearing this with lucite heals or leather glovelettes à la Bestsey. I’ll be wearing it with flip flops and maybe a jean jacket. But either way, March can’t come soon enough. It only seems appropriate to end of this post with Betsey’s signature show-closing cartwheel:


A true original. Let’s hope we’re all still cartwheeling at 70.


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