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Tales from the INTERN…

23 Jul

So my name is Steph, I am a student at Texas Christian University, and I have been working as an intern at Bess and Evie’s for 10 weeks now. Some of my favorite moments from working in the store have come from listening to people who come into the store and visiting people who want to sell us merchandise. You would be surprised just how much people will share with you. It’s also fun to hear how far people have traveled to end up in your store. We’ve had people come in from Washington, New York, and all kinds of great places. We’ve heard stories of how people are heading to rock band auditions, how people met who just got engaged, how someone acquired custom made cowboy boots from someone who rode in a rodeo, we hear about photo shoots and fashion shows people are putting together and how they want to use our merchandise, and so much more.

There are a few things I have taken note of since working here. The most entertaining are the customers that come into the store. Each customer is unique and different so it is important to have sales people who are able to accommodate a diverse range of personalities. So far I’ve noticed that there are about 4 types of customers:

1. First up there’s the Socializer. This person likes to come in and talk while they shop. You’ll end up hearing all kinds of stories about how things have changed today from in the past, something they heard on the news recently, how that dress would look fabulous on their niece or daughter, memories of a style, or how once upon a time they could fit into that dress. Some shoppers just want someone to listen to them and some like to support local businesses they’ve taken a liking too. Talking and getting to know customers just tells them that they are welcome and it helps them to feel comfortable in your store. These customers actually turn out to be some of the most loyal and are more likely to spread the word about your business.

2. Next up is the Big Spender. This person will buy pretty much whatever as long as the circumstances are right. She’s looking for quality and fantastic service. You aren’t sure if you consider her nice or not because she has you running all over the store trying to keep up with whatever story she’s telling you and her many requests to either see something up close or try something on. However, at the end of the day it is totally worth it because the employees got a workout and she actually buys the merchandise instead of just walking out. She’s a loyal customer, but because she kind of stocks up during that one trip she comes through only a couple times a year.

3. Floaters as I call them are my favorite. They claim not to know about fashion and just want someone to dress them and be their personal shopper. This is where we come in. I love floaters the most because they will try on whatever you give them without complaints, let you accessorize them, and then just bask in joy as they admire the fashionista we’ve created.

4. Last but not least, is the Quiet Shopper. This customer can either be really nice and sweet or snippy. If they do not want any extra help then the best thing to do is just leave them alone and let them shop. They have a clear idea of what they are looking and are focused on finding that item. They come in, assess the store, try on items they are interested in, and then decide whether or not they are willing to spend the money for it.

Everything’s bigger in Texas. This includes our hearts, personalities and our collection of vintage cowboy boots! You just cannot discuss Bess and Evie’s without mentioning how Kalen has the largest collection of vintage cowboy boots in the Fort Worth metroplex. But really, these last ten weeks have been a great experience. Kalen is a very business savvy person and I have been able to learn a lot just from being in her presence. Then there’s Paula, one of the brightest most cheery people I have ever met, and an excellent sales person. Finally, a shout out to Anna and our girl magnet Jack, can’t leave him out. Jack is a Rhodesian Ridgeback and the sweetest thing ever. I try to learn something from every experience and I’ve had a blast working with everyone at the shop and look forward to visiting every now and then.

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A Vintage, Viking Lady

17 Jul

It’s no secret that I’m a little obsessed with vintage. Since my current fascinations have turned from my wardrobe to my soon-to-be little girl’s wardrobe, my gears have switched for the moment. Nothing fits me and I’ve resorted to finally buying maternity clothes. In order to satisfy my fashion cravings, I’ve gone on the hunt for little girl clothes, beyond that Carter’s brand, quintessential, pink crap that every other little girl wears, and sometimes wears badly. I thought we talked about this people!

I have this favorite store of mine in Minneapolis that I HAVE to go to every time we pass through. Last stop, they were closed, andI didn’t feel like waiting around or coming back. It had been a long trip. This vintage store known as Blacklist Vintage is easily one of the most organized vintage stores I’ve visited besides our own. The best part about this place, they sometimes carry vintage kids clothes. There isn’t always a lot to choose from, and its mostly girl things, but every once in awhile you find the perfect petticoat, or sundress. Even better, they are usually around $20 a piece. I once found the most perfect navy blue winter coat with brass buttons. It was about a one year old size and in amazing condition. Unfortunately, that day I’d also found a bag I just had to have, lost my mind, and left with it. I’ve been kicking myself ever since.

Finding vintage kids clothes is like hunting for gold in the desert. I don’t remember the gold rush being mentioned in the Nevada desert, so I imagine it’d be a pointless search. For some reason, vintage kids clothes are almost nonexistent. I’ve only ever run into that one shop that had a regular display for the wee ones. Kalen hit the jackpot a few months ago when she went to Miami and found some girls sundresses, but those lasted about a minute, as you can imagine. What’s the saying? Snatched up like hot cakes.

I’ve recently been introduced what I’m sure will be the death of my bank account: Janie and Jack. While taking the kids to the mall for some fun indoor activities, my friend and I wandered into one last week. She calls this store, ‘the one my mother in-law shops at, where my daughter can’t wear a single thing’! I loved this. I didn’t realize what it meant until I saw the $45 cream silk blouse. Yep, couldn’t ever wear that for more than the click of shutter. Heck, I’m 31 and I can’t be trusted to wear white, or silk, or a blouse without guaranteeing I’ll crave pasta with marinara that day. Upon further inspection, the prices were not unreasonable, but definitely reserved for a special occasion. However, then there is the clearance rack! I found the most adorable spring coat, that was very vintage-y looking, with the big buttons and rounded shoulder cut. It reminded me of something from the 50’s. I also found they carried girls shorts that have a cuff on the leg, giving them an adorable shape on those skinny little girly legs, all little girls have. It reminded me of hot pants from the 40’s, but I could be totally off on this. I’ve also been planning a forties inspired kids shoot, and found the perfect outfit for my little 6 year old, aka my son’s newest girlfriend. She will look like a tiny, Great Gatsby lady, minus the cocktails.

It’s tough out there, trying to find look for your kid that isn’t like every other kid’s look. When it comes to boys, they are easy. Girls are a whole new ballpark. I’d like her to have a style all her own that all the little girls in her Gymboree class aspire to. I’d also like her to not show up to her first one year birthday party in the same outfit as another attendee. Talk about self esteem killer. Can’t even talk yet and she’s already running to hide in the bathroom from the embarrassment. I’ll have to make sure I bring a backup outfit for just such an emergency. I would love to find another shop, maybe not so far from home, that carried vintage kids clothes so I could add to her “collection”. Believe me, this tiny tot’s closet is already a collection of who’s who, and ‘where did you get that?’ I’m already jealous.

A Kalen Review: Schiaparelli and Prada

6 Jun

One of the destinations on our list this summer is NYC (well, really, when isn’t it?) to see the new exhibit at the Costume Institute at the MET. Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations opened May 10 with the annual Met Ball Gala. Considered to the be the ultimate Red Carpet event for the fashion industry, the Met Ball Gala brings out the who’s who of the fashion and entertainment world. We’ll talk more about the Gala in a later post, but for the moment I want to dive in a little deeper to the seemingly odd pairing of Schiaparelli and Prada.


Elsa Schiaparelli began her career in Paris in 1928 with a single item; a black sweater with a trompe d’oeil bow.

She opened her first workroom specializing in sport attire to be worn for golf, tennis, etc. In 1930, she added an atelier to design couture and evening wear and began the most successful decade of her career. Her clothing was very much influenced by the art of her day; Cubism in the early 30s with clean, architectural lines, and Surrealism in the later 30s with whimsical buttons, creative fabrics and abstract accessories (insect necklace, anyone?).

During the war, her atelier closed and the house reopened in 1945. Schiaparelli’s post war designs were still artistically influenced; they lacked the humor and novelty of her pre-war collections.

Miuccia Prada took over the family leather business in 1978. Becoming famous for nylon bags and backpacks in the 1980s, Prada launched their ready –to-wear collection in 1989.

While other designers in the late 80’s were designing lines that were short, sexy and flirty; Prada came on the scene showing clean lines, luxurious fabrics and basic colors and the fashion world took notice.

By the 1990’s, Prada was a leading force in the fashion world producing simple, classic styles in luxurious fabrics and neutral colors. In 1995, Miuccia Prada won the Designer of the Year award by the Council for Fashion Designers of America.

Today, Miuccia Prada is known as one of fashion’s most intellectual talents. She plays with fabrics and colors; pairing the opulent with the every day, and creating color schemes only she could dream up. Yet luxury and high quality continue to be the core of the brand.

So, two driven female designers breaking the mold and innovating fashion, one in the 1930’s and one in the 1990’s. Elsa and Miuccia were bound together by their love of opulent fabrics, clean lines and impeccable detailing. Creatively, their influences were vastly different. Elsa looked to the art of her time and was not afraid to take risks in quirkiness. Miuccia was driven by technology and manipulation of fabrics and sought to innovate while always maintaining her high standards. If you look at the images from the Met Museum website, it is uncanny how similar their styles were. There is no evidence that Miuccia was influenced by Schiaparelli, but undoubtedly, she was familiar with her. It is a conversation that I for one, would love to be a fly on the wall to witness. If you find yourself in NYC this summer, make a point to drag whoever it is that you are with to this exhibit. There are very few female designers past or present as influential in the fashion world as Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada. If we are lucky enough to make it there ourselves, we’ll be sure to give a full report!

Mothers, Don’t Let Your Daughters Dress Badly…

15 May

If there’s one characteristic I cannot deny, it’s that I’m opinionated. It’s a gift and a curse really. I’ve been told it’s because I’m  from New York. Irregardless, I have plenty opinions on women and parents, namely mothers. Since we recently celebrated Mothers’ Day, you know that one day a year the kids HAVE to behave, and your husband HAS to do the dishes, I figured a little mother/daughter dynamic was in the cards for this week’s blog. Also, since I recently found out I’m going to have a daughter in October, I figured I’d better get these parenting skills mastered. Already messed up the first kid, gotta do the second one right this time! If there is one thing that drives me ABSOLUTELY insane, it’s seeing a mother and daughter out, in public, the mother is dressed to the nines but the daughter looks like she just rolled out of bed, three days ago, and has missed her mouth every time she’s been fed a meal. Where is the pride, people? I understand we are in a recession, and there are parts of this country that the recession has turned into a depression, however, even at my poorest of poor, I have always managed to bathe, clothe, and take care of my son, even if that means I’ve had to go without. I live in a part of this great metroplex where I would say “class” is not always part of people’s moral code. This is a great place to raise kids, the schools are great, the people are nice, but their manners are somewhat lacking. Let’s just say if WalMart had a city, this is where they live. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen this exact instant there. However, this past weekend I had a proud moment. I was in line at Blockbuster, my personal hell, and the woman in front of me had three kids with her. All were well groomed, well dressed, and BEHOLD, their shoes matched their outfits. Now I have been the victim of the child that wants to “dress himself”. He doesn’t have mommy’s fashion sense, and his favorite pair of shoes are Sketchers…God forbid. But every once in awhile I “let” him dress himself, however for public events in which pictures are going to be taken, it’s all hands on deck. I don’t plan on being that controlling parent that dresses their kid until they’re 20, but I also don’t mind throwing out the phrase “he dressed himself” as often as possible when needed. There are definitely a few mommies out there that take the reflection of themselves to the highest degree when their daughters make public appearances. For celebrities I feel like the pressure is always on, and let me just applaud those mothers whose kids’ closets even I envy. Lets face it, could Suri Cruise be any more adorable? And Lourdes has had her own clothing line since, what, the 90’s?!?! We’ve all had our Britney moments, thankfully, the paparazzi don’t following me to Starbucks on the weekends…hence the reason for hitting the drive-thru. Can someone please tell me why I never have to get out of the car until the instant I wear rain boots and capris to the drive-thru??? It’s tempting fate, I know.   So after finding out we will be blessed with a baby girl yesterday, my husband was nervous, but relieved, and even a little excited.Me, suddenly terrified. Do I really have to share my shopping budget with another little fashionista, who I secretly hope loves vintage like I do, but also hope does not for fear I may have to get a real job. I do hope for a camera hog, a mini-me mixed with the best parts of my husband, and the admiration for her big brother that is only found between two siblings. As I pass through Minneapolis next week on our way to my in-laws, I know the perfect vintage shop to stop and see because they always have a small selection of vintage kids clothes. My daughter will have to look fabulous, there is just no way around it.   My best friend had a baby girl in September. The other day she posted a picture of her with rollers in her hair, with the comment, ‘Toddlers and Tiaras here we come!’ To this I replied, ‘Over my dead body’! I definitely won’t be one of those mothers. In fact if she comes to me and tells me she wants to be a cheerleader, I’ll probably make fun of her. And I’m sure one day she’ll tell her therapist about the other horrible things I did to her when she was younger, like made her wear pantyhose on a sweltering, Houston Easter weekend. My mother still insists that it was MY idea to wear those pantyhose with my Easter dress, WHILE I had chickenpox. Maybe it was, I’m pretty hard headed. If the roles were reversed, I’m sure I’d make my daughter wear them too. Scars are not cool, ladies. Oh I rue the day my daughter decides to get a tattoo, and I’m sure she’ll have more than a few boyfriends that her Dad and I disapprove of, but hopefully in the end she’ll still want to be my friend and love me unconditionally, as well she should. After all, nine months of back pain, butt pain, kicks, and what I’m pretty sure is her digging her finger nails into my insides, I deserve her love no matter what. And when she looks back at all the pictures I took of her over the years, she’ll think two things: 1. “Wow, my friend IS an awesome photographer.” and 2. “Thank you Mom for caring enough about me to not let me go out in public wearing purple and red together……… and never buying me Crocs.”

EdiTORIal

24 Apr

If you don’t know who Tori Spelling is, please tell me you’ve been living under a rock somewhere, or you were raised by wolves and they wouldn’t let you watch TV. Tori Spelling is the only daughter of television’s most famous and well known producer, the late Aaron Spelling. She was first seen on TV as the loveable and quirky Donna Martin on Beverly Hills 90210. If you grew up in the 80’s and 90’s like I did, then we should be up to speed. Since then she’s become a regular made-for-tv-movie star, and has appeared in her own hit reality series, Tori and Dean, Inn Love, and Tori and Dean, Home Sweet Hollywood. She has written several books, all of which I’ve read, except for the latest, CelebraTori. She is a huge advocate for the gay community, and is working on her 4th child as we speak. If you don’t know her, then you probably don’t love her. If you do know her, how could you help but love her? This is the time of the year now where I will start to convince you to love all the people I love. First Lucy, now Tori!

Tori Spelling has definitely come full circle for me. At first glance, she was annoying, maybe seemed a little spoiled, or at least that’s the impression I got. Through no fault of her own, I might add. I went to one of those high school where if you didn’t drive a BMW or Lexus or Mercedes, you were a nobody. I didn’t drive a car at all. Hence, nobody. I grew up thinking all rich kids were the same, and Tori exuded rich to me. After all, if my dad were the infamous Aaron Spelling, creator of, well, just about every hit show since the 70’s, I’d dress the part too. I think it was about 2 or 3 years ago when I stumbled upon a tabloid article, saying how Tori Spelling and new husband, Dean McDermott were going to be starting a B & B. I just knew I had to see this for myself. Luckily, Oxygen was going to be airing the spectacle, and I was tuned in. I expected her to be the girl I went to high school with; bad with money, great with credit cards. Instead, she still wound up being bad with money, but loveable and funny to watch. She laughed at herself when she fell on her face. She had way too many animals, and did a great pregnancy waddle. She was then pregnant with baby numero uno, Liam. She made all the wrong choices, but let the whole world watch her do it. There’s something about someone who makes mistakes, but then laughs them off, as if to say, ‘Eh, at least I tried’. And tried she did. I wouldn’t call it an epic failure. I’ve thought of a million things I wanted to do, and never even attempted. I had to give her credit there.

A year passed before I revisited their new show, Home Sweet Hollywood. Now, two kids in the saddle and a third on the way, we followed them through their busy lives, and through the public spectacle that is living in Hollywood. Now, also, several businesses deep, Tori was expecting baby number three, but you would’ve thought nothing had changed. She was still as hard, if not harder, working than before, never slowing down. There is nothing that motivates me more than watching this woman work herself to death. I think this has to be the number one thing I admire about her. Her drive. Her ambition. Her motivation to find anything and everything she can do to make money for her family, but never give up spending time with them. She says in her second book, the reason they keep doing the reality show is not because they like putting everything out there to be watched and criticized, but because, simply, it gives them an income to spend time together and be a family more often than not. They take their kids everywhere, and embarrassment or not, they keep plugging along. She also comments on how most of the time she has full-time, live-in help. She gives props to the moms who do this everyday on their own, without help, and admits without the help of Patsy, their baby nurse, or other nannies she’s had in the past, she couldn’t imagine how she would survive. Humble, and honest. Two qualities I happen to like in a person.

Another reason for my Tori Lovefest, is her obsession with vintage and antiques. She recently took a friend shopping for an outfit while the friend was pregnant. She said the reason you shop vintage, is because it’s cheaper, it’s better quality, and it’s always in style. I love that she finds ways to be thrifty, even in Hollywood, but is always fashionable. She has a voice and a brand that people listen to, and instead of sporting the latest Prada bag around town, she’s treasure hunting for vintage finds, and scouring Round Top in an effort to find antiques for her LA store. She’s down in the trenches, getting her hands dirty. She’s mentioned in several of her books, that all she ever wanted to be was “normal”. She wasn’t sure what that was, but she’d seen what she thought it was on TV. She wanted to live in a neighborhood where your neighbors come over and borrow a cup of sugar. She wanted to her kids to be able to ride their bikes on the sidewalks where other kids played. She wanted a smaller house, where her family could huddle together on the couch to watch a movie. Having grown up the way she did, of course I could see how the grass looks greener. But again, growing up as she did, she now realizes all that is really a possibility. She is after all Tori Spelling, and that will never change.

I can’t help but love Tori for so many reasons. I admire her desire to have as many kids as her and Dean can, and the little ways she seeks out normalcy for her family. I admire her drive and ambition to work work work for everything she has. I love her style, and her obsession with vintage that could only match that of Kalen’s. I can’t help but watch her weekly on her reality show to see what new adventure she takes her husband on, and how her husband lovingly goes along with each and every crazy idea she presents. After all, that’s real love right there. Taking the risks your wife wants to take in order to make her happy, right? Well, maybe we could all learn a little something from them. Even if it only is to appreciate the little things, and always be fashionable.