Clothes-Minded—February 26, 2008

By Allison Cassing

Betsey Johnson’s fall 2008 collection started out with a fitted ensemble accessorized with a black beret and scarf that made me want to channel the beatnik look ASAP. With skinny black jeans, a turtleneck, and a beret, I was feeling pretty groovy and only wished I could find some bongo players to provide the soundtrack. Embracing the culture of the current fashions, I ventured to the coffeehouse/shop. There’s a drink option for everyone nowadays. You can find the no-sugar, no-caffeine, no-fun lattés in just about any coffee serving establishment. A quick once-over and you can often peg the person to their drink even before they get a chance to verbalize their affinity for caramel swirls and soy. Johnson’s most recent show, celebrating her thirtieth year in the business, provides the perfect assortment of outfits for your diverse coffeehouse orderers. From the chai latté-ettes to dry skinny cappuccinas, Johnson’s looks will keep everyone out of strictly dullsville.

For the green-tea drinker, a strapless navy bodysuit fits the bill. What to wear to yoga and then the local coffee depot is solved with this body-hugging piece. Body suits outside of speed skating may seem outrageous, but the stretchy ensemble is definitely worth a second look. As bodysuits go, it’s quite wearable and has an innate low-key sophistication. Accessorize with a skinny belt, nonchalant scarf, and heels to sip your antioxidants in style.

For the double espresso with three sugars, Johnson has a shiny black A-line mini-coat adorned with fur long sleeves. This coat is a strong look that not everyone can handle, but adding to the statement with fur sleeves sweetens up a somewhat Matrix-y coat. It’s a delightful spin on a classic black coat. Finished with a jolt of yellow on cat-eye sunglasses, this look means business. Sweet.

For the caramel almond mocha with whip, the design is a little outrageous. Johnson has sewn it all into a pair of black shorts and a massive cropped fur jacket. The oversized collar folds over, creating a shawl effect, just in case one piece of outerwear wasn’t suitable. Not enough? Add in black polka–dot nylons and you’ve got yourself an outfit. It’s almost overwhelming, undeniably rich, and perfect for the fashion—and coffee—indulgent.

For the soy latté, a flowing purple floral silk dress is a go. This is no ordinary dress, with matching back and side cutouts suggesting a bra-top look; the V-neckline on this tee-length creation changes the whole effect by cutting a bit out. The dress looks effortless and the yellow-and-blue–patterned flowers keep it a little offbeat and original. Though it may seem like just another silk dress, the intrigue of this purple creation is a twist on the expected.

For the regular coffee, Johnson has kept the staple jean jacket around, but makes it fresh with trim accents. The blue jean collar doubles over, showing off darker pleated lining that matches the cuffs and hem of the jacket. Styled with a butter yellow tunic top over shorts and bright red tights, this look focuses on primary colors. Traditional, yes, but boring it’s not. There’s just nothing quite like a regular joe draped in denim.

For the raspberry steamer—the perfect off-the-shoulder knit dress. The classic knit dress gets amped up in a stunning azure blue. The daring, skin-baring top is balanced by long sleeves and a looser fit. Add a little of your own flavor to the outfit by cinching the waist with a belt (Johnson uses a blue-and-red–striped one) and tossing on a beret. Punch up plain and infuse the conventional with a little something extra.

Whatever you’re drinking down at the java hut, there’s an ensemble to suit your taste. Johnson’s fall 2008 collection flowed from one modern staple to the next, showing an array of covetable shorts, dresses, and leggings that even the pickiest amongst us can’t deny. Anything can inspire your daily dress—even your barista’s specialty. With so many choices around, you’ll be sure to find something that will fit you to a tea—or coffee.