The time Betsy Johnson Broke My Heart

A site I like to window shop at sometimes sent me an email about a bunch of Betsy Johnson stuff on sale.

Y’all don’t know this, but Betsy Johnson was the first designer I loved. When I was a lil post teenage potato, the only designer that I ever thought, holy fuck I want to wear that was Betsy.

Back in the 90s, my style was absolutely done what I gotta do with thrift store and hand me downs. Not because it was fashionable, but I was poor and chubby. And then in some magazine I saw Betsy Johnson clothes. It became my big secret dream to have one. Even more than the pretty formal dresses that never fit me, more than the Goth wear I saw in the Retail Slut catalogs I got.

A dress similar to this one was my dream.

My style icons were Grace Jones, Courtney Love, Stevie Nicks, the goth and punk girls I saw randomly. I wanted to wear pleated school girl skirts and boots, I wanted to wear big chunky ass shoes and slip dresses and y’all get it.

I had this vision of Bad Bitch Femme. Glitter and fucked up nails and whatnot.

However, I was not a thin girl. Even at my lowest weights, I’ve always still been a thick girl. Back then, after having a little money for mall clothes, I remember leaving in tears because I couldn’t find things I liked that fit my body. I remember very vividly being in a dressing room in the Limited maybe and trying not to cry and my Mom being impatient because I wouldn’t come out.

So I made it work sort of. I remember convincing myself that well fuck mall clothes anyway and that I just didn’t have the body to wear things I actually liked. And then I started to fake it.

I remember I had this ridiculous outfit, a pair of poop brown mens 70s slacks that I paired with a cream colored long sleeve thermal, boots and a big old fake high long ponytail. I paired it with a super glossy glittery lip and a big ole stripe of liner and it was one of the first times I was like, I am fine as fuck.

My next foray into dressing just how I wanted to was when I went to my first Pride. I want to say it was maybe 1999? I dunno, I’m an old.

So I had thrifted what was probably part of a dance team outfit. It was a fuschia sequinned a line mini skirt with a little keyhole belly cut out and a black ribbon. I saw it buried in a bin at Value Village and fell in immediate love.

I wore it low on my hips with platform sandals and a strappy vintage camisole that was almost see thru. There was glitter on my face (I used to mix my own glittery face powder back in the day, SHUT UP IT WAS THE SHIT) and I had a pixie haircut and y’all, I went alone and it was when I found my bounce.

I did that thing where when I got to the parade, I invoked my runway hoeness and walked it the fuck out. Booty bouncing, titties out, shoulders back, feelin the FUCK out of myself. There was a drag queen handing out sunglasses and she stopped me, put some glitter cat eyes on my face and made me do my runway walk.

I wound up being friends with her but mostly what i remember is this drag queen and some cute gay boys yelling, “WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORK BITCH” and it was the first time in my young adult potato life, I really felt beautiful.

Now around that time I was saving money, all my change, any extra dollars because I wanted to go into the Betsy Johnson store and buy a dress. I got myself gussied up and went in and almost immediately realized that nothing would fit me aside from maybe some earrings or sunglasses or a purse.

I didn’t want a fucking purse.

I remember leaving (AH I was 21 by then) and going to sit in a bar by myself and feel like the grossest human to ever live.

Betsy Johnson just broke my lil heart. I was devastated. I’d worked so hard to save up about 300$ and I even had a plan to take myself out on a fancy date so I could wear whatever I bought.

Now I took that money and wound up in a Hot Topic, ostensibly to buy myself some band shirts or something and I discovered this long black beautiful Gothy dress. It was full length, had a chiffon cape thingy, the big sheer bell sleeves. Sort of this style, but not velvet. The ubiquitous Goth thing.

I found my thing.

I found the thing that opened up fashion to me in a while new way. I realized that my body was not at fault for some stuff not fitting me. That my inability to wear Betsy or shop at 5-7-9 or whatever.

My big point here is this.

Your body is not wrong.

You have to figure out what you’re working with and work with it. Figure it out. The thing is, there’s something like THE big deal thing, you just have to find it.

That said, sometimes you’re still gonna mourn the perfect thing. It’s okay. It happens to all of us.

This post brought to you by this most perfect dress that would in no universe fit my ass.

picture-of-elegance-party-dress_black-multi

Someone please buy that damn dress and then get your photo taken and show me because I think it is so damn beautiful. Betsy, you hurt my feelings again.

 

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About Shannon Barber

I am a strange little woman who likes pie.
This entry was posted in adventures in aging, afro goth, body politics, fashion, fatness, fatshion, goth, Personal and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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