New York City’s Most Famous Personal Shopper Answers Your Style Questions

Betty Halbreich, Bergdorf Goodman personal shopper and the inspiration for a pilot Lena Dunham’s developing for HBO, has been dressing women since Jimmy Carter was president—36 years! Now she’s offering her expertise, gratis.


Q: What is one staple I should invest in this fall? —Kendall
A: Beautiful tops, because “people perceive you top-down,” explains Halbreich. “I love the luxurious shirts old-Hollywood actresses wore, like a silky button-down with a small bow or long pussy bow.”

Q: What tailoring tricks make clothes more flattering? —Kat
A: “I suggest removing hip pockets on pants, which is slimming, and taking in shoulders to conform to your shape.”

Q: Help! I need a versatile coat. —Danielle
A: “It’s a black or navy peacoat, with two or three buttons, no contest. You can dress it up or down.”

Q: I’m looking for a professional bag. Any ideas? —Jen
A: Get a monotone handbag (inspiration: Saint Laurent Sac de Jour) “that’ll fit essentials—do a bag fitting at the store, like you would a dress fitting.”

Q: I need classic pumps with a practical heel. —Lindsey
A: “Manolo Blahnik BBs in neutrals—black, beige—are my safe harbor.”

Q: The best piece of advice you give clients? —Emily
A: “Use a three-way mirror. It’s important to see all angles.” —Leah Melby

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