Betty Halbreich: The “Creative Endeavor”

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 12.08.23 PMBetty Halbreich is an inspiration to all women. She started off being known as Sonny Halbreich’s wife to picking herself up from rock bottom and creating a life of her own. Betty is a celebrated personal shopper at Bergdorf Goodman who has dressed the rich and the famous for the past 37 years. She started in sales and found gratification in the way women saw themselves after working with her. A year after working at Bergdorf Goodman she demanded her boss to build a department around individual help and wardrobing. Betty became the first personal shopper and is now one of the oldest employees.

This past September Halbreich published her second book “I’ll Drink to That: A Life in Style, with a Twist” (Penguin Press). It is a memoir of her personal life as well as in the dressing room. She helps women find themselves through clothing just as she did for her self. Honest, hilarious and kind, Halbreich counsels powerful women at their most vulnerable moments — being naked in the luxury dressing rooms, trying to dress for a new career, spouse or body size. An example of Betty’s bluntness is when she corrected President Ford. Betty Ford, a consistent client, chose a dress for an event. President Ford grabbed the perfectly packed dress and put it under his arm. Halbriech without holding back said “No, no, Mr. President!” grabbing the dress from under his arm. “If you are going to carry that dress, you have to take it by the handle like this.” He then turned to the secret service and said, “Look at Betty! She’s teaching me how to hold my very first dress.”(I’ll Drink to That: A Life in Style, with a Twist page 138)

Now Lena Dunham, the creator of the HBO show Girls, is creating a new series based off of Betty’s memoir. People will get a chance to learn from her life lessons. It will go through her many challenges: a frayed marriage, her attempted suicide, the struggles of motherhood, overcoming polio and then cancer. Betty Halbreich is a truly admirable woman.

page1image20072s