My Red Velvet Dress

The Christmas DressIt was September of last year, just before the holiday dresses started showing up at retail, that I decided to buy a new dress for a dear friend’s wedding. The search was on, and search I did. The search soon became a quest when everything I picked out seemed just not quite right. I wanted red. I wanted a print. I wanted something different. When I came upon this pretty red velvet dress by Betsey Johnson there were only a few days left before the big event. I jumped on it.

The problem with the frock became apparent when I got home; None of my undergarments worked under the dress. One showed itself in the back, another in the front. I searched the department stores and the internet for a backless, strapless bra, but there were none. That old standby had been replaced by stick-on cups that did pretty much nothing. Disgusted, but still in love with the dress, I wore it topped with a little black velvet jacket that hid the problem areas.

This year the dress has hung in the back of my closet, lonesome and unworn until this week, when by some very good fortune I stumbled upon a very fabulous, backless, strapless, bra. I got home, put on the once unwearable dress, and did a twirl. There’s not a bra strap to be seen.

Hello new-old holiday dress!

Betsey Johnson holiday dress


BBetsey Johnson holiday dress

My treat to myself this season is this gold sequin evening clutch. I walked past it at Target about a dozen times before I finally decided it was OK for me to splurge a little. I find the dark matte gold sequins are both elegant and festive.

Gold sequin clutch

It was cold out the night I tried on the frock. The dressy heels I would normally wear would have been too chilly for an evening stroll. So I pulled on my dressiest black boots and my grandmother’s leopard faux fur coat. Later My husband and I wandered the dark and almost deserted streets of Beverly Hills, peering into holiday windows and smiling at the lights and decorations.


Christmas Dress


  • The leopard print faux fur coat belonged to my grandmother
  • Velvet dress by Betsey Johnson
  • Black boots from Loehmann’s
  • Sequin Kisslock Clutch from Target

Do you have a holiday frock?


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38 Responses to My Red Velvet Dress

  1. SACRAMENTO December 19, 2012 at 1:07 am #

    Fabulous dress, and clutch. I love how the boots play everything down.
    Brilliant photos as ever.
    SACRAMENTO recently posted..High In The DumpMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca December 28, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

      Aw Thanks Sacramento! I’m so glad you like the look.

  2. Marla December 19, 2012 at 3:07 am #

    I’m speechless. That red dress with the leopard coat- stunning! I love the boots with it also.

    • Heather Fonseca December 28, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

      Thanks Marla! I wasn’t sure about the boots after I saw the photos, but no one seems to mind. (:

  3. Pam
    December 19, 2012 at 4:50 am #

    I love that you are wearing your grandmother’s coat…it is fabulous!! Your pictures always make me smile! Have a wonderful day!!

    • Heather Fonseca December 28, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

      Thanks Pam. I’m so glad you like the photos, and my grandma’s coat! I love wearing it as it’s very warm.

  4. A Brit Greek
    December 19, 2012 at 5:15 am #

    What a stunning frock, I love the pretty print and the way it hangs off of you! Just striking for the festive season!
    I hate finding ‘the’ perfect dress only to have undergarment dramas!

    • Heather Fonseca December 28, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

      OH I know. Undergarment drama is annoying. I have a lot of undergarments, but sometimes I can’t find just the right thing. Sigh.

  5. Raquel December 19, 2012 at 11:14 am #

    What is the manufacturer and model of the bra? Thanks!

    • Heather Fonseca December 28, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

      Hi Raquel. The manufacturer is What Katie Did. But I can’t find the model online yet. It might be that it’s just very new. I’ve contacted the store to get some more information and I plan on writing a post just about the bra very soon. Thanks!

      • Raquel December 29, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

        Thanks! I’m glad you found it, so you can wear this dress and look so lovely 🙂

  6. Sarah
    December 19, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

    Oh, it is lovely! I think its best feature is the awkward bits that would’ve shown a normal bra, so I’m happy you found something to work with it.

    This year’s holiday frock is a pink velvet number!
    Sarah recently posted..THAT’S MIINT!My Profile

    • Heather Fonseca December 28, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

      I saw your pink holiday frock, and it’s really fabulous! I hope you had a lovely Christmas.

  7. Jeannie
    December 19, 2012 at 7:03 pm #

    So gorgeous! LOVE the dress!
    Your photos are just stunning!
    Jeannie recently posted..Broken heartsMy Profile

  8. Donna
    December 19, 2012 at 9:57 pm #

    The dress is GORGEOUS!! I may be dumb, but how does a backless, strapless bra stay up if it isn’t glued/stuck to you?
    Donna recently posted..My 10 most popular posts of 2012My Profile

    • Heather Fonseca December 28, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

      Hi Donna. I’m sorry I should have been more clear. My bra isn’t totally backless, it just has a really low back. In the 80’s and 90’s it was easy to find these really low, low back bras. They go almost to the waist in the front and hold on with a low band in the back. They used to be called “backless strapless bras” and the only person who manufactures them is a company called What Katie Did. I’m going to post more information including photos of the bra soon.

  9. DressCode:HighFashion
    December 20, 2012 at 2:32 am #

    Fantastic post! I`m loving the sensuality in your photos and I love how you really have that “holiday glow” – lovely!

    Amazing how you pull off the mix of velvet & leopard fur!

    Hufs, Jen

    • Heather Fonseca December 28, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

      Thanks Jen! I’m glad you like my combination. I find that leopard goes with a lot of things.

  10. nofearoffashion December 20, 2012 at 10:26 am #

    Beautiful dress. You must have been so pleased to find that bra. It is like a present second time round.
    I can so imagine your frustration that you had to wear it last year with a black velvet jacket. Not that it will not have been lovely, but because that was not what you had in mind.
    The jacket and clutch are very nice with it. The boots made me look in surprise. They are nice, but I would indeed have expected high heeled shoes with it (I am so conditioned).
    What is the temperature at your place? Because seeing you walk around in this dress with apparently no tights, makes me shiver.

    • Heather Fonseca December 28, 2012 at 1:07 pm #

      It’s not that cold here. Maybe 50 degrees Fahrenheit at night. But I was still a little cold. In retrospect I should have worn tights and low heels, but I didn’t know when we went out that we were going to take photos. I just got dressed!

  11. Alexis Grace December 20, 2012 at 12:59 pm #

    It really like this dress— but even more so, I am intrigued with this bra! Give us the details!!
    Alexis Grace recently posted..Wish List: Parker Sequin Open Back DressMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca December 28, 2012 at 1:05 pm #

      I am planning on doing a post on just the bra soon, but it’s by “What Katie Did”. I can’t find the model on their website though. I will find out and include it in the upcoming post.

  12. Stacey - Total City Girl
    December 20, 2012 at 7:56 pm #

    No, but I used to have a Betsey Johnson dress in my late 20’s or early 30’s. Can’t remember exactly but it was so cute! I may still have it tucked away somewhere hoping I will fit into it again some day. 🙂
    Stacey – Total City Girl recently posted..Theater Photography: Oklahoma!My Profile

    • Heather Fonseca December 28, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

      Yeah, I had a lot of Betsey Johnson back in the day. Unfortunately I moved most of it on after the kids were born. I thought I’d never fit into them again. In retrospect I should have hung on to them. Oh well. I still have one!

  13. San Diego Foodie
    December 21, 2012 at 11:49 pm #

    From the classic tulle skirt to this red velvet dress? Wow its totally lovely, ozzing with elegance and holiday feel good season. Red always looks more vibrant with brown. I admire the gracefulness of the post and angles as well. You couple does a great tandem in this endeavor keep it up.

    • Heather Fonseca December 28, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

      Thanks so much! I’m so glad you like the photos. I had a hard time choosing just a few. We had a lot of pretty ones. The dress is very photogenic.

  14. Shanti December 22, 2012 at 10:41 am #

    These photos are so, so magical! I love, love your dress, you look amazing!!

    • Heather Fonseca December 28, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

      Thanks Shanti! I’m so glad you like the photos and the dress.

  15. Comfy shoes December 26, 2012 at 12:07 am #

    Now that’s a beautiful dress. So elegant! You can wear it anywhere. The peplum is great. As for the red, I wear a lot fit in winter

    • Heather Fonseca December 28, 2012 at 12:50 pm #

      I love red in winter. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

  16. Heather Fonseca December 28, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

    I got a link to the strapless bra for anyone who wants to check it out. It’s considered a bustier, which is why I couldn’t find it.

  17. No Fear of Fashion December 29, 2012 at 7:22 am #

    Aha, now I know why it sits so well. A bustier, that explains it. I used to have a strapless bra but 2 hours later I would have 4 boobies as the bra dropped down…. Terrible. A bustier stays in place. I bet you will also find them in bride dress shops.

    • Heather Fonseca December 29, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

      I didn’t think of looking for a low-back bustier in bridal stores. That’s a good idea! But I did look at two department stores and Victoria Secret. I also looked on-line and the only strapless backless bras I could find were on e-bay. They were from the 1980’s! The thing is I have several strapless bras that fit well and don’t fall down, but the dress has such a low back that the entire back of the bra was showing. I also have several bustiers, but again the back, or sometimes the back and the front, peeked out. Anyway, I’m so glad I found it!

  18. Sylvia
    January 2, 2013 at 3:11 am #

    You look absolutely amazing Heather. Gorgeous images!
    Sylvia recently posted..2013 newyear challenge to a more stylish you!My Profile

    • Heather Fonseca January 3, 2013 at 6:30 pm #

      Thanks Sylvia. I’m so glad you like the outfit and the post!


  1. The backless, strapless, bra - January 2, 2013

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