Bettie Page, a clothing store and brand that offers styles suitable for women of all body types, has opened a location on Walnut Street.
The store opened during Labor Day weekend, and is the first Bettie Page store to open on the East Coast.
The store, which is named after the pin-up model and burlesque dancer of the ‘40s and ‘50s, embodies those time periods with retro-styled clothing.
“The clothing style here is very inspired by [Bettie Page] and that era, that cut, the feminine, below-the-knee length, curvy,” said Jennie “Cupcakes” Wilson, assistant store manager. “It’s not about stick thin, straight up and down, size zero…if you’re a size zero that’s perfectly fine, but if you’re a size 16 we embrace that, too.”
Jan Glaser and his wife, Tatyana Khomyakova, opened the first Bettie Page store in Las Vegas in 2007. Since the opening of that location, they’ve expanded to seven additional store locations on the West Coast and now to the East Coast.
“We have a lot of people that come to Las Vegas from all over the world, and they are very excited to see our stores,” Glaser said. “We had a lot of people come from the East Coast; New York, Philly, Boston, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Minneapolis. We thought that since a lot of our clientele came from there, it would make sense to open stores there.”
Glaser grew up in Philadelphia, across from Fairmount Park in the ‘50s. When making the decision to expand the company to the East Coast, it was only natural to start in his hometown.
“It was kind of an emotional decision [to open a Bettie Page in Philadelphia],” Glaser said. “My grandma was working in a shop on the 1400 block of Walnut [Street] in the 1950s. I had relatives that worked at Wanamaker’s, which is now Macy’s, in Center City, so it is kind of ironic and a little bit emotional to come back.”
Bettie Page stores in the future will expand to New York, Boston and other locations on the East Coast. The brand offers sizes from 2x-small all the way to a 4x-large, offering options that suit women of all shapes and sizes.
“We think that you’re beautiful no matter what, so we’re going to offer [sizes up to a 4x],” Wilson said. “So many stores don’t. Everybody deserves to look awesome and look classy and look beautiful, so we’re going to offer that to everybody.”
In addition to offering clothing that is suitable for women of all shapes and sizes, the brand’s clothing has more classic styles, which can be worn day or night.
“There is something elegant and classy about wanting to go out,” said Rebecca Hendrixson, manager of the Bettie Page store in Philadelphia. “If you see the way people walk up and down the streets, you’ll sometimes notice nowadays more so than in 2000, that people are dressing a bit more elegant, or more classy than they would for every day.”
Not only is this store set apart from most with its size range, but there is also a couch and television set up in the middle of the store so while shoppers browse, they can also sit down and watch Bettie Page herself perform burlesque on a TV.
In addition to women’s clothing, the store stocks a line of clothing for men called Sailor Jerry. The store also offers jewelry, phone cases, children’s clothing, shoes and more to attract an array of people to the shop.
“It’s really mixed. Guys will come in and be like, ‘I love Bettie Page, look, I have a tattoo of her.’ Young girls will come in and be like, ‘Look at the pretty dress.’ Then teenagers come in and just want to play dress up,” Wilson said. “It is every age. We’ve had women who are in their 90s and we’ve had women who are in their teens.”
Despite the Philadelphia location having only been open for a short period, the store has plans to become involved with different aspects of the community. It hopes to focus on more than just making sales, but instead on building a following.
“I think the both of us [Wilson and Hendrixson] go toward loyalty more than just trying to make a sale,” Hendrixson said. “The closer you get to the community, the more bonds you make.”
Taylor Farnsworth and Rebecca Zoll can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.