Follow College Fashion on Twitter!

4 Funky Looks Inspired by the Words of Betsey Johnson


Betsey Johnson
Photo Credit

I got a lot of great feedback from you guys about my last post with looks inspired by some of Coco Chanel’s most famous quotes. This time, I wanted to focus on a designer who is known for her unique personality and over-the-top personal style: Betsey Johnson.

Betsey Johnson was born in 1942 in Connecticut. Johnson graduated from Syracuse University and quickly joined the fashion world, working for magazines and boutiques in New York. She spent the ’60s and ’70s rubbing elbows with New York’s hippest crowd, including Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick. She finally released her own line in 1978. Today, she is one of the most recognized faces in the fashion industry.

Without further ado, here are four looks inspired by Betsey Johnson’s most memorable quotes.

1. “Love is a disease of the heart…in the end, there is no treatment curable and it might just kill you.”



Heartbreak sucks. Sure, you always learn a lot about yourself and you definitely grow as a person, but in the immediate aftermath of a breakup, all you want to do is sulk. Even Betsey Johnson, a super successful designer, understood how badly it hurts.

After a bad breakup, no one should tell you that you aren’t allowed to mourn, but you can do that while you work on getting back out there!

This look is based around the classic black dress – a reference to mourning a lost love. Need a reminder not to wear your heart on your sleeve next time? Well wear it around your neck with a fun accessory. Remember, the best way to get back to  your old self is to “fake it ’til you make it.” So even if you don’t feel like dressing up at first, you will definitely feel better once you do!

The heart ring was the final touch on the outfit…a subtle hint to all the boys out there that you’re back on the market! The best part? It’s from Betsey’s collection, so she clearly approves!

Even if you aren’t broken hearted, this outfit could give you a great way to break out of your shell, style-wise. Is one of your style resolutions for this school year to be more creative with your style? If so, try this look! Betsey has never been afraid to be exactly who she is, despite what others might think, and look where her fierce individuality has gotten her.

2. On her “formula” for style: “Take a leotard and add a skirt”

Leotard outfit

EarringsNailpolishSkirtGiraffe NecklaceShoesLeotardCross NecklaceRingSkirtFlats

I’ll be honest: It wasn’t until I was creating this look that I even considered the possibility of buying a leotard. I don’t own one, and I always walk right past them in stores, but after experimenting with the endless possibilities, I honestly cannot wait to run out and buy one!

Above, I created two unique looks focused around a single black leotard. The look on the right is a fit for my personal style: It’s flirty and feminine with small pops of color. And it looks so comfortable for running around campus on my busiest days. The look on the left is definitely more Betsey’s style: It’s loud, funky, unexpected, and perfect if you have a more daring, in-your-face sense of fashion. So fun!

3. “Girls do not dress for boys. They dress for themselves, and of course, each other. If girls dressed for boys, they’d just walk around naked at all times.”

If you’re itching for a guy’s attention, walking around naked would certainly do the trick…but you might not get the kind of attention you’re looking for! That said, Betsey makes a great point: Women who are into fashion buy pieces and create outfits for themselves and their girlfriends, because guys rarely notice!

So, for this look, I decided to stick with my favorite basics- the white tank and jeans- to illustrate how you can take one outfit and transform it from a casual date look to an ensemble for a night out with the girls!

Casual Date Look

Outfit for a date with a boy


Lets just be honest: Most guys you go out with have no idea whether your heels came from Wal-Mart or a Louboutin boutique. They aren’t going to understand that your rhinestone bag is so in style; they are going to think that it might bite them if they pick it up for you.

In general, guys don’t care what you wear, but they care how long it takes you to get ready (especially when they’re waiting!). Most guys will love the illusion that you spend zero time getting for a casual night out. So style your hair down with lots of volume-but keep it touchable. Keep the wild accessories to a minimum and focus on pieces that accentuate you best features, and downplay those you feel self-conscious about.

Remember, the most important thing is that YOU feel confident and comfortable on your date. He won’t care whether or not you wear heels, but he WILL notice when you trip over your own feet on the sidewalk or complain all night about the pain you’re in!

Night Out with the Girls

Outfit for a night out with the girls


On the other hand, when you are out with your girls, you have a perfect opportunity to experiment with fashion and dress to impress – they’ll notice! So play with color and wear your favorite cute accessories that your guy might not quite understand. The best part about girl’s nights out are getting ready together, so make sure to have fun with your look and be as creative as you like!

Your thoughts?

So what do you think? Did Betsey’s words inspire you? What do you think about her idea of “girls dressing for girls?” Let me know in a comment below!

Posted on on August 20, 2010 / Filed Under: Inspiration / Tags: , , , , , ,

Blog Widget by LinkWithin

27 Responses to “4 Funky Looks Inspired by the Words of Betsey Johnson”

  1. 1
    August 20th, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    I LOVE these… not sure if I’m brave enough to do the leotard one, but that skirt was awesome – and the Forever 21 dress in the first is to DIE for, and I’m wearing the basics of the third today!!!

  2. 2
    August 20th, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    OMG! The third quote is soo true, I’ve been seeing fashion the wrong way all the time!
    Loved the first outfit, I just bought some earrings that are the same as that necklace lol.

  3. 3
    August 20th, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    Love doesn’t just hurt during a break up, it can hurt just the same in “healthy relationships”.
    Like the outfits though, third quote is so true.

  4. 4
    August 20th, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    lovelovelove. all of these outfits are amazing! and i completely agree with lizzy; the first dress is beautiful. can you post the direct link to it? i’m trying to filter through all of the dresses on the site and i can’t find it.

  5. 5
    August 20th, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    What’s the difference between a leotard and a shirt you tuck in?

  6. 6
    August 20th, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    I really like all of the outfits!! I just wish I could find that dress on the F21 website :(

  7. 7
    August 20th, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    Sasha: Well, a shirt you tuck in is exactly what it is- just a t-shirt that you tuck in. A leotard is a one-piece, so it wouldn’t need to be tucked in. You don’t have to constantly fuss with a leotard becoming untucked or anything like you would a shirt (if paired with a skirt.)

    This is the third or fourth time I’ve seen a leotard used in a look on CF– I LOVE it, especially the one on the right. I think they’re a staple that women should keep in their wardrobe.

  8. 8
    August 20th, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    I like the last 2 outfits, I could see myself wearing them. Oh, and I really want that fossil clutch now….

  9. 9
    August 20th, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    The pink flats on the second outfit are AMAZING. Exactly what I’ve been looking for all my life! :)

    And the last outfit was really cute… very simple.

  10. 10
    August 20th, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    I love Betsey Johnson, and these outfits! Third quote is my favorite – I hate when I’m getting ready and my boyfriend asks “who are you trying to impress?”. I get dressed up so that I feel good about myself, not to attract guys!

  11. 11
    August 20th, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    As someone who used to spend a lot of time in a leotard: If you layer something over the leotard on top, like a cardigan, be prepared for an annoying time in the bathroom. You have to strip down just to pee!

  12. 12
    August 20th, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    I love this post! Quote #3 is my absolute favorite, but I’m also kind of inspired to buy a leotard now!

  13. 13
    August 20th, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    I love the first dress, but I wish I could find it on the Forever21 site… OTL

  14. 14
    August 20th, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    I absolutley love this! The outfits match the quotes perfectly, Bestey Johnson is such an inspiration and her go-getter, girl power attitude is contagious! Kudus on this post! I want quote number 3 painted across my bedroom wall!

  15. 15
    August 20th, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    love the post
    n the 3rd quote is spot on

  16. 16
    August 20th, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    The ‘girls night out’ outfit is not very ‘girls night out’ to me… It’s too ‘day look’-like… That said, I LOVE the first look. Great job on that one!

  17. 17
    August 21st, 2010 at 2:15 am

    I love the third quote! So true. Besides my extra fashionable male friends, most have no idea about anything “in” or “out” right now – which can make it much easier to get dressed when hanging out with them! I can look super low key. But female friends absolutely notice outfits – I do, anyway. I won’t lie, I scrutinize all of my friends/co-workers outfits on a daily basis!

  18. 18
    August 21st, 2010 at 2:46 am

    lol @ the last quote. My bro and i were talking about that exact subject the other day.. I was glad to hear he understood girls are more interested in immpressing other girls than guys with their clothes. Some guys think it’s all about them, lol!

    And like everyone is saying, great outfits! I love them all!

  19. 19
    August 21st, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    love “Girls do not dress for boys. They dress for themselves, and of course, each other. If girls dressed for boys, they’d just walk around naked at all times.”… cought myself today thinking, i don’t want to make too big a deal about a small party im going to, we are only going to be 2 girls… no thought about the 13 boys

  20. 20
    August 21st, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Love the first two looks… they fit the quotes so perfectly and the leotard looks are perfection on a stick.

    My one teensy little critique: while the look to dress for boys is spot on, when I’m dressing to impress other girls, it takes a bit more than a generic cardigan and skinny jeans look. Loved the flats though.

  21. 21
    August 21st, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    Betsey Johnson is crazy…in a good way of course! I truly admire her unique individuality!

  22. 22
    August 22nd, 2010 at 12:36 am

    I absolutely love the first 2 looks; the dress in the first one is gorgeous, I have to find it. And the leotard look is awesome; I’d wear that rainbow tutu any day :]

    The last 2 looks were pretty boring.

    Betsey is my favorite fashion designer, so I was so excited when I saw this post!!

  23. 23
    August 22nd, 2010 at 6:33 am

    Im with Adora(#13).. im in love witht the black dress in number 1.. but i can’t find it on the forever 21 site..

  24. 24
    August 28th, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    This is a great series! Diane Von Furstenberg would be a cool person to be inspired by as well =)

  25. 25
    August 28th, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    edgie, indy, funkified hipster. love love this.

  26. 26
    October 14th, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    I love the rainbow skirt. It looks so cute but I would not wear it. Maybe I would wear it on Halloween :)

Links to This Article

Leave a Reply


* Comment Rules: CF is a positive place and our comments section is no different. Constructive criticism is fine, but if you're rude, we'll delete your comment. Please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name and do not put your website in the comment text, as both come off like spam. For more info, see our Comment Policy. Have fun & thanks for adding to the conversation!


* Want a custom avatar to show up next to your comments? Sign up for a free Gravatar.