Synopses & Reviews
Eighty-six-year-old Betty Halbreich is a true original. A tough broad who could have stepped straight out of Stephen Sondheims repertoire, she has spent nearly forty years as the legendary personal shopper at Bergdorf Goodman, where she works with socialites, stars, and ordinary women off the street. She has helped many find their true selves through clothes, frank advice, and her own brand of wisdom. She is trusted by the most discriminating persons including Hollywood's top stylists to tell them what looks best. But Halbreich's personal transformation from a cosseted young girl to a fearless truth teller is the greatest makeover of her career.
A Chicago native, Halbreich moved to Manhattan at twenty after marrying the dashing Sonny Halbreich, a true character right out of Damon Runyon who liked the nightlife of New York in the fifties. On the surface, they were a great match, but looks can be deceiving; an unfaithful Sonny was emotionally distant while Halbreich became increasingly anguished. After two decades, the fraying marriage finally came undone. Bereft without Sonny and her identity as his wife, she hit rock bottom.
After she began the frightening process of reclaiming herself and started therapy, Halbreich was offered a lifeline in the form of a job at the legendary luxury store Bergdorf Goodman. Soon, she was asked to run the stores first personal shopping service. It was a perfect fit.
Meticulous, impeccable, hardworking, elegant, and most of all delightfully funny, Halbreich has never been afraid to tell it to her clients straight. She wont sell something just to sell it. If an outfit or shoe or purse is too expensive, shell dissuade you from buying it. As Halbreich says, There are two things nobody wants to face: their closet and their mirror.” She helps women do both, every day.
Judith Thurman, author of National Book Award-winning Isak Dinesen: The Life of a Storyteller and Los Angeles Times Book Award-winning Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette:
“Every woman has a piece of clothing that she cant live without, because in it, she feels most like herself. Bettys memoir has that effect on a reader. Authentic style is a form of self-knowledge. And in that respect, Ill Drink To That is like Betty's famous three-way mirror. She sizes up her own life fearlessly, and in the process, not only helps you to diagnose your own flaws, but to embrace your own beauty."
Praise for I'll Drink to That:
“Lena Dunham, creator of HBOs Girls, is now developing a series inspired by Ms. Halbreichs life. The impatient, however, can satisfy their curiosity more immediately with Ill Drink to That, the long-anticipated memoir in which Ms. Halbreich chronicles her life in the dressing room and beyond.” —The Wall Street Journal
“Charming… An inspirational feminist tale.” —People Magazine
“Tart, funny.” —Entertainment Weekly
“Sartorial style becomes a philosophy of life in this spirited memoir…Halbreich comes across as sage and gracious as she narrates a life full of incident, taking us inside the fashion industry and one of its great institutions.” —Publishers Weekly
“Every woman has a piece of clothing that she cant live without, because in it, she feels most like herself. Bettys memoir has that effect on a reader. Authentic style is a form of self-knowledge. And in that respect, Ill Drink To That is like Betty's famous three-way mirror. She sizes up her own life fearlessly, and in the process, not only helps you to diagnose your own flaws, but to embrace your own beauty." —Judith Thurman, author of National Book Award-winning Isak Dinesen: The Life of a Storyteller and Los Angeles Times Book Award-winning Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette
Praise for Betty Halbreich:
"Betty was born to sail through people's lives telling them what to wear (and even what to do). The other day I overheard her chatting with a client, 'Oh, she's been my friend for thirty-five years, and she's only thirty.' Lines like that are good enough for George Cukor. The whole scanrio is. Maybe she's known that all these years. Fashion is not only about necessity but also a form of entertainment—and that is what Betty sells." —Isaac Mizrahi, fashion designer
"I would trust this woman with my life—closet!" —Joan Rivers, television personality
"...she's the go-to celebrity. She's also the most fun." —Patricia Field, costume designer for Sex and the City
"There's a pragmatic principle behind the way Betty dresses people. It's very inclusive. There's room for everyone in her process. [Betty] is able to be in the fashion world, but also take it down a peg at the same time." —Lena Dunham, writer and actress
"The fashion doctor is in....Even as designers and editors seem to be conspiring to lure women into their latest whims, Betty Halbreich is a scrupulously practical truth-teller. She considers it her job to protect women from clothes that are wrong for them. She takes pride in pushing the least expensive items she can find, when its appropriate...A brassy Chicago native with a manner thats part Angela Lansbury and part Lucille Ball, Halbreich believes in taking chances with color and accessorizing lavishly." —Bob Morris, New York magazine
About the Author
BETTY HALBREICH is the director of Solutions at Bergdorf Goodman.
REBECCA PALEY is the bestselling coauthor of several memoirs.