Tag Archives: vintage boots

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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The Five Vintage MUST haves!

6 Mar

Every woman who loves shoes has her rabbit to chase. Christian Loubiton, Prada, Jimmy Choo. We all have that one pair in mind that we say ‘When I hit the lotto, I’m totally buying that (insert designer name here) that cost more than my rent!’ For vintage lovers, there are MANY rabbits we chase. Kalen is determined to own a vintage Chanel purse. I’m after a vintage Louis Vuitton purse, and at least one thing worn by someone famous in the 50’s or 60’s. So for this week I decided to introduce the top 5 things every vintage lover should own at some point in their vintage loving lives:

  1. A Vintage Fur!

Oh yeah, I said it! A FUR! Call PETA on me or whatever but everyone should own a piece of fashion history. Let’s face it, the animal has been dead longer than my grandmother has been alive. It’s not doing anyone any justice by being ignored, or not worn for “ethical” reasons. What’s not ethic is letting that beauty go to waste! I bought a Mink Stole for my wedding. I love that thing. It’s so soft, of course, and it even smells all vintage-y and good. I wore it on out over my wedding dress on our way home and got many compliments. It’s old Mink. His family doesn’t miss him anymore. They are all long gone too. But maybe not made of coats, God willing.

  1. An Alligator Bag!

The same goes for an alligator bag as the fur, except that lets be serious, we could use less animals that want to eat us in the world, right? Ever been chased by a mink or a rabbit, probably not. Ever been chased by an alligator? Not yet, but that’s because when I went to school in Florida they taught you how to out run one, just in case you ever did. I come prepared. Alligator bags are eclectic, they are always in style. They just LOOK amazing and a pleasing to the touch too. I could go on forever about an alligator bag, but just trust me, you need one in your life. I wandered around Minneapolis one Sunday in November and was lucky enough to run across a vintage Pierre Cardin Rattlesnake skin clutch. It was $12. I take that darn thing everywhere. When people are like ‘Oh my gosh I love your bag’, I say ‘Yea you do!’ We did have this amazing green lizard bag over Christmas that I just fell in love with too. Unfortunately it’s cheating on me with it’s new owner somewhere in the metroplex. I miss you Lizzy!

  1. Vintage Jewelry!

I am not picky here, you just need to own some vintage jewelry. Jewelry is just not made the same way it used to be. Vintage jewelry doesn’t fall apart after washing your hands in the sink, and it doesn’t turn your skin green. It actually has a weight to it. Yeah! I know! It’s mostly costume jewelry, but the good kind. The kind you can pass down, or you get passed down. It lasts generations, and most likely wasn’t made in China. There is nothing cooler than having a piece that you can brag about, and that no one else will be wearing because they sell thousands of them at Forever 21. What’s worse than showing up wearing the same dress as another girl at a party? Having someone say ‘Oh I love your necklace, I have it too. Forever 21, right?’ Trust me NO one stays 21 forever, and they definitely should not.

4.     One Vintage “staple” Dress

If you are lucky enough to be a size where vintage will fit you, make sure you get yourself a “staple” dress. A staple dress is a dress you can wear on more than one occasion that always looks good on you and everyone will envy. I have never had more looks and/or compliments than when I go out to eat with my husband wearing a dress from the store. Sure, he wears a collared shirt and jeans, but I always like to look my best. I don’t want him taking me out in public and being ashamed to be seen with me. Certain colors always look good on certain people. Certain cuts are the same way. A vintage dress that fits, thats remarkable, and probably one in a million. I’m not blessed with the most perfect shape and rarely do I find a vintage dress that fits me perfectly, but every once in awhile I do. And I buy it. End of story.

  1. And finally…(insert drum noise here)…Vintage Cowboy Boots!

I am sure I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it over and over and over until you completely agree. Vintage Cowboy boots are by far THE best thing to happen to the world since we found out that Snookie is pregnant and we get to make jokes for the next 9 months. The best part about vintage boots are the comfort. My mom hates cowboy boots. I’m not sure why, they pinch her feet or something, I can’t remember. She used to have a great pair of burgundy Wranglers. I thought they were awesome. She gave them away. Had she held on to them, by now they would’ve been considered vintage and have fit ME perfectly. Sometimes the story comes back to what’s best for me. I bought my first pair of cowboy boots almost 2 years ago. They are Tony Lama, 70’s, ostrich. They are amazing, and sooooooooo comfortable. Why? Because who ever owned them before me did all the leg work, literally. They are already worn in and fit my feet like a teddy bear hugging a baby seal all day long. I have since converted my best friend into wanting cowboy boots. She’s a hard sale. She’s picky, she doesn’t know how they are supposed to fit, and she’s against a skin of any sort. She’s a weird one, but I still love her. She got the bug recently because I got her friend a pair first, and she’s a little jealous. Buy your first pair of vintage cowboy boots and you’ll be addicted too. Or better yet, watch someone else buy a pair, and the bug will hit you.

Whoever or wherever you are in your vintage journey, just know the pleasure is in the hunt. So happy hunting you savvy vintage lovers. But remember, if you come between me and my dream Louis Vuitton Bag out there, just back away slowly.

16 Jan

In honor of the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo opening this weekend, we figured we’d give you a leg up, (hahahha, I crack myself up), on your “boot” knowledge. Boots are in high demand these days, although if you’ve lived in Texas as long as I have, I don’t believe they are ever NOT in demand. However, being one that likes to go against the grain, I didn’t actually own a pair of boots until I turned 27. The first pair I bought were Justins, brown and pink, of course. I had to get the helpful knowledge of the sales lady on how to know if they “fit” right. Something most people don’t know right off hand, a cowboy boot is supposed to be tight around the arch and loose in the heel. There is a certain sound to a perfect fit, and when you hear it you know it. It’s a softly forced “CLOP”, or at least that’s how I’d describe it. This sound is usually followed with an “ahhh” by the wearer.  Everytime I hear it in the store, I know that’s the one.

Boots have definitely changed over the years, and once again we can look back to our ancestors, the immigrants to America, for the styles we know and love today. It was the German and English immigrants in the 1800’s that were responsible for bringing over the European styles and adopting them into the making of the original cowboy boots. While now we wear them for style, they were first made for function. The heel of the boot was made to fit and help a rider stay in his or her stirrups. Most boots were made from a straight wooden form, forcing the wearer to break them in to his or her left and right foot. Cowboys were known for standing in water troughs and then letting the boots dry on their feet in order to attain the perfect fit. It wasn’t until 1815 that the unique Wellington-style boot was introduced, in that it produced a left foot and a right foot, and a piece by piece construction that is similar to today’s style. Boot makers like Hyer and Justin first got their start repairing boots for working cowboys.

Much like today, boots gained popularity through movies and movie stars donning the fancy footwear. During World War II though, boots wear made under certain restrictions that were placed on boot makers because of shortages and rations. Boots wear made in either brown or black, and couldn’t have more than 8-10 inch tops. This is where the name for shorter boots, “Pee -Wees”, came from originally. Basically, nothing fancy was allowed. Even Toebugs were outlawed. Now at this point you may be asking yourself, what is a toebug? And please, don’t Google. The internet is a scary place to wander. A Toebug, in cowboy boots terms is the stitching on the toe part of the boot as demonstrated by this picture here.

Thank you www.dimlights.com for the demonstration.

Back to the toebug situation: Leave it to a woman to never settle for bland. Enid Justin, founding owner of Nocona boots, was the first to challenge the law and say that stitching on the toe was essential to the boot for strength and flexibility, and therefore mandatory in functionality. Good job Enid. Stylish women everywhere salute you!


“Pee Wee” boots were also popular with the ladies in the 40’s because the boot showed more of the calf, and had a certain sex appeal to them. But it wasn’t until after World War II that the industry started making up for lost time with some of the most outrageous and fun styles in its history. This includes our fabulous pair made for the bicentennial in 1976 seen here.Fast Forward to the 1980’s and John Travolta in a little movie called “Urban Cowboy”. I dare say, this sparked a BOOM in the boot and western wear business. Again, leave it to the celebrities.
So back to John Travolta, and the time when he was a “sex symbol”. I know, hard to remember, but it happened. So between the time the movie came out and 1982, this boot BOOM soon faded to a BUST. Boot makers found themselves stuck with unsold “fashionable” boots. I think we’ve seen this first-hand, with what is known as “old-new stock”. Every once in awhile we come across a pair of vintage boots that have never been worn, and have been collecting dust in a warehouse somewhere until someone decides to sell them wholesale just to clean out their inventory. We like that. Someone’s loss is always someone else’s gain. We are the Queens of closet-cleaner-outers.

You may be asking yourself at this point, how does she know all of this?!?!  Working at  the store and for Kalen I’ve learned QUITE a lot more than I ever bargained for as far of boots go. The rest of my knowledge comes from a handsome little gem of a book called “Cowboy Boots: The Art & Sole” by Jennifer June…and of course my best friend Google. We have two great books in the store that even if you just peruse for the pictures, they are both quite amazing.

So that leads us to today and the epic question of pointy toe or round, high top or shorty, colorful or neutral, and leather or exotic skin. Whatever your preference, always remember, boots are not like heels ladies! You need to make sure above all, they fit, and they ARE comfortable. Vintage boots are always the best because someone else has done the work of breaking them in for you. And as any fashionista knows,breaking in shoes…hardest WORK EVER!