Posts Tagged ‘Betty Halbreich’

Mom peruses an issue of Vintage Life.

Mom peruses an issue of Vintage Life.

In my business I have witnessed how the superficial cover of clothes can become essential in trying times.

Betty Halbreich, personal shopper at Bergdorf Goodman.

I know for myself (and probably my mother) that when life gets tough, I head straight to my closet for comfort. Clothes give me strength and they are something on which to focus when everything else is just too much.

This came home to me recently when my mother unexpectedly ended up in the hospital. Spending time with her there, in her hospital room, after exhaustive discussions with doctors about tests and medications, what to do and what not to do next, there would be silence. Then she’d pipe up with a sartorial topic  – anything from advice on formal wear to the current length of hemlines (too long and too short says Mom).

And off we’d go, escaping out of confusion and fear into our world of fashion. Superficial? Perhaps. But I say, Whatever gets you through the night, it’s alright, it’s alright.

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bettyhalbreichWhen her children asked me to go through her closets after she died, I revisited all the clothes I’d introduced her to. Only now, as they went from objects of desire to pieces of nostalgia, they took on a new and painful meaning. The Bill Blass dresses she’d once accessorized looked forgotten; the Givenchy pantsuits that had framed her elegantly seemed as important as a dishrag. Her girls asked me if there was anything I wanted from the vast amount of clothing. Yes, a Geoffrey Beene navy-and-white dress, which I still wear. Even more than Mr. Beene’s remarkable construction, it is the human connection that I treasure.


– Betty Halbreich, personal shopper at Bergdorf Goodman.

This quote is taken from Ms. Halbreich’s memoir –  I’ll Drink to That: A Life in Style, With a Twist (Penguin Press, 2014).

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