"I don't know what I went to college for," Betty Halbreich says in a video profile created by The New Yorker. "I mean, it didn't teach me this."
The "this" Halbreich talks about in the video is the skill set she's developed over her nearly 40-year career as a personal shopper for Bergdorf Goodman. She became the tony department store's very first personal shopper in 1976, and today, at 85, she's one of the longest-serving and oldest of Bergdorf's employees. It's a position that's part cheerleader, part therapist, and part dispenser of tough love.
"I can tell you that the dress is no good," Halbreich says. "And very often I do a terrible thing: I pull it off before they even see themselves in it. And they say to me, 'Why?' And I say to them, 'Darling, trust me. It's dreadful.'"
But even though she has to be direct with her clients, she also realizes that there's a line between being direct and being mean.
"I pride myself on one thing, and that's being a good listener," she says. "Because I'm really interested in people."
Catch more wisdom from Halbreich's decades in the dressing room, here.