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Caught Being Fabulous – Lynn Dell

The Lovely Lynn displaying an autographed copy of  Advanced Style. Love her!

The Lovely Lynn displaying an autographed copy of Advanced Style. Love her!

If you know anything about the Advanced Style phenomenon and the book by Ari Seth Cohen, then you probably already know who Lynn is. If not, take a moment and google it. I’ll wait…

Now usually I just let the fashion winds blow and I eventually run into someone who is “Caught Being Fabulous,” but today I went out seeking her. I recently saw the documentary Advanced Style on Netflix, which prompted me to buy the book and go find Lynn Dell, the 81 year-old fashionista and owner of the Off Broadway Boutique which she has owned for 53 years.

The documentary is a wonderful account of stylish older women who are so confident in themselves that they exude beauty and life. It is inspired by Ari Seth Cohen and his blog that captures “advanced style”. There is something about the whole movement that is enthralling.

I consider myself, now 42, having just now truly come to embrace my love for fashion. I felt like I was a little late to the party, but lovely ladies like Lynn easily dispel such a myth.

Why this outfit works, it is certainly not hard to see. It is first the confidence, then it is the carefree way in which Lynn accessorizes. The color is brown from head to toe (brown over the knee leather boots, a brown sweater, cinched a the waist, and a brown hat that is pimped out beret with tracks, and glorious gold accessories. I know I pale in comparison to her in the picture below, but I still wanted to take one with her. Her employee Pat, who has worked at the boutique for 31 years, told me that I should have worn red lipstick. LoL. Older women if nothing if not brutally honest.

Lynn and I talked and she told me, like Betty Halbreich had, not to quit my day job and to do fashion on the side. I found that funny. Lynn confided that she had wished to meet Betty and was quite surprised when I shared that I had just gone into Bergdorf to the Solutions Department and found Betty. For this reason (my courage and zeal) Lynn told me that I’d go far.
She told me that she is on stage when she goes to work, and her inscription in my book read: Lynette Darling, Remember always dress for the theater of your life—
And so I shall…

Silyrose with Betty Halbreich – Personal Shopper and Stylist at Bergdorf Goodman

Meeting styling royalty. It was a pleasure.

Meeting styling royalty. It was a pleasure.

Well, I certainly hadn’t planned on rubbing elbows with styling royalty today, but it just so happened that at around 2pm today I found myself inside of Bergdorf Goodman. I had originally gone out hoping to find fabulously dressed New York women to add to my “Caught Being Fabulous” page. But as I got to 5th Ave and 57th Street, I realized that I was knocking at Bergdorf’s door. Having just read Betty Halbreich’s book, I’ll Drink to That, I had a sudden urge to meet her. I walked through the entrance on 5th and made my way through the first floor mesmerized by a woven Chanel coat. I headed up the escalator to the second floor where I saw the famed shoe department. I awed over a pair of two-toned Manolo Blahniks, but my visit was to be much more than the material goods gracing the floors of Bergdorf’s. I wanted to meet the woman who had for decades styled America’s elite.

Credited for having started the “Solutions” Department at Bergdorf’s, Betty has helped women from Jackie O, Candace Bergen, and Joan Rivers to New York’s elite to find items to make them look wonderful.

So, what did I say to her… I spoke to her office mate first and mentioned that I had come to meet Betty. I was able to walk right to her and introduce myself. She posed for a few pictures and then we talked briefly about my goals. Betty said that the clothes that I saw today pale in comparison to the clothing of the past. The fabrics, she said, were those that in the past had been used as lining. She told me the Geoffrey Beene went out of business because he could no longer find fabrics. Hearing her talk made me wonder what the vintage clothing in the past were really like. She said they used to be made with multiple layers of quality fabrics. I had just spent thirty minutes looking at the clothing in Dres Van Noten, Christian Dior, Gucci, and Chanel. It is hard to imagine that what I saw wasn’t considered as high quality as the clothing of the past. After all, I had fallen in love with a rose colored fur at Gucci. But, I digress.

I told Mrs. Halbreich that I wished I could write about fashion full-time. She asked why I’d want to do such a thing. She said she would much rather have my educational credentials. She told me to stick to doing fashion on the weekends because there’s no future in the business. Definitely not what a burgeoning fashion photographer/stylist wants to hear, but I took it all in. I told her I had planned to dress in my “fancy” clothing to come see her and appear like I could afford stuff. She said it wasn’t necessary and that you can definitely look good without buying the high priced items in Bergdorf’s. (I actually think that doing that is one of my strengths.) She mentioned that her office mate shops at H&M and does just fine.
Betty Halbreich invited me to come back to visit with her at Bergdorf’s. I will definitely do so; if fact, I’ll Drink to That 🙂
Betty Halbreich's book

I told Betty that I was a little starstruck.  She said I needn't be.

I told Betty that I was a little starstruck. She said I needn’t be.