What a boutique owner wishes every woman knew
Betsy Johnston and her two daughters opened the Cheesecake Boutique in a tiny shop in Dublin on March 1, 2005. The shop's unique name was derived from the cheesecake glamour shots of women frequently taken during the World War II era.
“The amazing thing about these photos is they showed a wide variety of women, some tall and lanky, some short and curvy, but all looking quite glamorous in whatever skin they were in,” says Johnston.
In recent years, the shop has greatly expanded and inhabits a small building at 1760 Lane Ave., just across from the Lane Avenue Shopping Center in Upper Arlington. Johnston and daughter Jessica Johnston Carle continue to work together, with Carle serving as the store's creative director and personal stylist. Johnston answers questions below.
How long have you been in retail and where did you work prior to opening the shop?
Fourteen years of Cheesecake plus about 29 [years in retail] before Cheesecake, [I've been in retail] basically forever! I worked in visual merchandising for many years before entering into retail and retail management, doing windows as a student in New York, and then on to D.H. Holmes in Jackson, Mississippi, when my husband was in graduate school. In the late '80s I took a job with Limited Express [now known as Express] when it opened in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.In the late '90s I went to work for a manufacturing conglomerate, running their multiple retail locations up and down the North and South Carolina coasts.
What do you wish every woman knew about her personal style?
I wish that every woman knew how to find the source for her style inspiration. I actually have a method for this when I am working with my clients. It starts with giving yourself the freedom to experiment with your clothing and learning how to leave the “mean girls” judgment outside. Also, a woman should allow style to evolve. Think about it like this: if you are willing to completely update your home every so many years, don't you think your wardrobe deserves the same attention?
What's your biggest pet peeve about fashion?
LOL. This has to be the idea that everyone should be wearing the latest trends. Clearly, no matter how trendy the clothing item, it will not work on every body. A good example [of this is] low-rise jeans and a bit of weight around the middle, [which] equals what women commonly refer to as “muffin top.” It's great fun to be aware of the trends, but don't be a slave to fashion. Just pick a couple of new ideas and incorporate them into your own personal style.
In about three sentences, can you summarize the new fashion looks for 2019 spring and summer?
Spring/summer 2019 has me flashing back to the beach in the early '90s. The neon surf prints, tie-dye and crochet make me very happy, and I am still feeling a lot of Sex and the City fashion vibes— sheer fabrics, bike shorts, over-the-top bows and frills, while still leaving plenty of room for classic safari neutrals and impeccably tailored pant suits.This is going to be a truly fun spring and summer season.
Can you provide one simple tip for adjusting an outfit from a day to an evening look?
No matter what you have on during the day, remove the most casual item you are wearing and replace it with something dressy. For example: [when wearing a] sweater, chinos and sneakers, replace the sneakers with heels.Another example: [when wearing a] simple dress, denim jacket and pumps—replace the denim jacket with a dressy blazer in leather or lace. It's actually very simple to do and takes a ton of stress out of that desk-to-drinks dilemma.