When our photographer Juliet told us she was going to be on Oprah. We said write a blog! Tell us all about it! So she did…
Rebecca and Juliet on Oprah
When my girlfriend Rebecca told me she was chosen to be in an intimate, interactive audience with Oprah and the author of “Conscious Parenting”, Dr Shefali Tsabary, I thought she was going to ask me to watch her daughter while she was gone. Instead she invited me to come as her one “parent” guest. I was beyond thrilled and one of the first questions that came to our mind was, “What do we wear?”. Blue Fish Clothing, of course!! We decided to meet at the store the day we were driving to Chicago. The girls at Blue Fish were so helpful in dressing us for our appointment with Oprah. After many outfit changes, we found the perfect outfits. They even lent us sandals to go with our new outfits. Being a professional photographer for Blue Fish has it’s benefits.
I had always joked that if I can AVOID being pulled on Oprah by my kids about how I messed up their childhood, then I was a successful parent. Well, I felt now, that my kids did have some influence with me going to Oprah with this parenting topic but I was grateful to embrace this information before it was too late. I have 6 children, Ages 12, 10 , 8, 6, 4, 2 yrs old. They need me to be the best possible parent, or I am messing up six lives.
Driving up to Chicago, we listened to Eckhart Tolle and Marianne Williamson as we talked about different parenting styles. Deciding that we needed no improvements in that department (kidding), the topic went to our shabby feet. We decided we needed a pedicure with the new sandals that Blue Fish lent us (Not really thinking they would be in camera). We had a nice dinner at Cheesecake Factory after our pedicures, hit Whole Foods for some snacks and headed to my parents house (who live in Chicago) to sleep. We had an early morning the next day.
We arrived at 9am and stood in a line to enter with the other intimate, interactive audience members. Many of them had heard about Fairfield, Iowa from when Oprah visited our small town a couple years ago. We exchanged numbers in case they finally came to visit. We were led into a waiting room to fill out all the necessary paperwork, like: don’t tackle Oprah when she comes out etc. They started reading off names, and lead us to the set where the topic of parenting would be discussed and filmed LIVE then later air on Life Class with Oprah (May 18th).
As we walked on set, they looked us up and down and led us to the FRONT ROW…the closest seats you can get to Oprah and Dr Shefali! What?? Was it our beautiful outfits from Blue Fish OR our amazing Oprah-like energy?? I decided it was both. We went on to enjoy the show, on camera most of the time. I wish someone would have told me to smile more, but it really wasn’t about me… (Even though this blog is making it sound like it is.) Needless to say, we had an amazing time. We were gifted with Dr Shefali’s two parenting books which I highly recommend to any parent, grandparent, or anyone that is around children.
Thank you to the ladies at Blue Fish Clothing for dressing us and making us feel beautiful.
Rebecca in our Bon Vivant Cardi
A pedicure and shoes! Perfect for TV.
YAY! So much fun!
See the show here >
Leatrice on the right with her sister Joan in Pompeii
This photo was taken on a trip to Italy with my sister Joan who is gone now, on her journey to the stars. She was a world traveler and a good friend.
Here we’re seated on the Pompeii bathes in Blue Fish…of course!
I have no desire to talk to machines. In all my dealings in this world I like to have personal relationships. I want to have a connection with whoever I am spending my money with! I’m not a machine or a number, and I appreciate my personal relationships with my friends at Blue Fish.
I love calling and chatting, and being treated like a friend. I love how the clothing feels personal. Like you had me personally in mind when you made it. And it’s sooo comfortable. I have had several operations and this clothing always makes me feel and look my best.
Meet Carrigan our Summer Intern!
Carrigan is 16 and this is her first job. We keep giving her odd jobs and things we never get to…and she gets them done quickly and efficiently. She says she enjoys heat-setting printed items and printing. She got to print bags for the store one day and loved it!
We asked her to pick out an outfit for her photo and she picked the Raglan Top and the Poetic Cardi!
Carol a sometime model and frequent Blue Fish shopper loves popping in the store and finding great deals.
She tells us “My husband loves me in Blue Fish – The compliments just flow when I wear these clothes, and that makes me feel wonderful!”
Margaret in a Lucky Red Dress
Margaret came in to try on a few things…and then saw the Lucky Red Dress.
“Forget the little black dress!” Margaret said “I am all about red dresses now. There’s just something about this color.”
She left feeling like a million bucks and planning her outfits for the summer. Musing on whether to dress it up or put on leggings for every day wear. Fun, fun!
Brigitte and her book the Homegrown Gourmet
In 1993 I lived on the outskirts of Nashville, TN. I was in my 30s then, and into comfortable clothing that was made of all natural material and traveled well. It was extremely hard to find garments that combined these qualities and also looked great. Working as a business executive, I should have worn suits and probably a much more understated look, but I did discover this newly emerging all cotton made in the U.S. brand in one of the most unlikely places in the West End, across from Centennial Park and the Parthenon – Nashville’s most hip part of town because it was close to Music Row and Vanderbilt University. Next to the store was a varsity shop. It was called – of all things – “Wild Animals.” Owned by a former lawyer and his quirky wife. They carried an eclectic mix of toys, kitsch classified as art, clothing made from flax – and they had just had a Blue Fish trunk show. Apparently, the owner of Nashville’s famous Bluebird Café, where numerous major country artists were discovered over the years, shopped there as well and had just bought a load of the new organic cotton line. Being what the industry refers to “plus size,” I instantly liked the brand because I could wear a size 2! Size 2 is a concept that is totally inconceivable for me to wear in any other line and I simply got a kick out of being able to say that I was a size 2. The clothes had yet another unique feature: they were hand painted. Each item was different and entirely unique. I tried on a whole range of pants, t-shirts, jumpers and dresses and eventually walked out with two huge paper bags filled with clothing in hues of pale blue, Lake Placid blue, mint green and black. The designs were painted with kindergarten-style flowers, taxi cabs, tools, coffee and tea cups. They had handmade strings to tie them into personalized fits, but most importantly, they featured generous, flowing cuts that actually made me look a lot thinner than I was although they were voluminous.
In the years that followed, I eventually bought suitcases full of Blue Fish outfits, and some of them I still have today – some 20 years later. They have accompanied me on business trips around the globe, they have sat with me in uncomfortable airplane seats for 15 – 16 hours at a time and kept me comfortable, they have been crammed into suitcases – sprayed down with water upon arrival – and worn to meetings with key accounts. They helped me close a deal with Target and Lowe’s. They’ve been to my brother’s wedding. Now I live in Taos, NM at an altitude of over 7000 feet, near the ranch where Blue Fish has a large store and still hand paints its American made garments. I still wear a size 2 and I’m proud of it.
Hanging out at the Overland Ranch
My next big adventure will be a trip to New York to participate in Chopped, a cooking competition on the Food Network and Blue Fish will once again be at my side on the trip, before and after the taping… I’ll even wear Blue Fish pants to cook in. I’ll wear Blue Fish on my book tour for my new publication “The Homegrown Gourmet.” Blue Fish was great for me in my 30s, and it has become a trusted companion who will keep me looking good in my 50s, 60s and way beyond… Because it’s homegrown. I love quality in food and I adore things that are made beautifully. Blue Fish is art and when I wear it, it brings out the best in me.
Brigitte Pauli-Barlos, writer/translator/editor
Author of: The Homegrown Gourmet
The first day I wore my new Blue Fish outfit it felt wonderful. I was walking into a local store when I noticed a woman smiling from ear to ear at me. I did not know who she was… As we approached each other she said “you look beautiful.” She loved my outfit! (This never happens to me.) That left me smiling from ear to ear because I DID feel pretty.
Tracy in Hawaii
Blue Fish isn’t just the most comfortable, easy to wear, fun clothing line ever. Blue Fish has a special something that other clothing does not – it is the “mana” (spiritual energy or healing power) that comes from the artists and designers who put so much of themselves into the pieces. Wearing Blue Fish makes you feel nurtured, and the organic fibers assure you that you won’t have an allergic reaction to some strange synthetic. Blue Fish is flattering for all sizes. The staff at Blue Fish are willing to help you find the best fitting and looking styles and will tell you if something isn’t for you. What a unique and wonderful concept! I have worn and loved Blue Fish for more than 15 years and am still excited by each new collection.
Moniquee in her own designs!
I have always enjoyed looking at Blue Fish Clothing. As a textile designer and former painter I am inspired by the designs, lines and fabric Blue Fish uses. I also enjoy the backdrops and photography on the website.
Each new line is so unique and yet has that Blue Fish quality that sets your line apart from other clothing designs.
Your website and photography bring me peace and I often imagine myself among the backdrops with the models as if we are friends.
Recently I was delighted to read the story of Blue Fish’s beginning and to see the actual barn where it all started. It made me want to go there and work amongst you designers and artists as I design and produce my own things.
On another note I am equally glad that your line is produced with all natural fibers that local artists take part in the process as I love to see the local artistic community at work.
Bliss, love and light to you.
Cynthia and Elmo
One Fish Two fish Red Fish Blue Fish. How many times did I read this story to my nephew when he was a little boy? Dr. Seuss was his favorite author and this book always was his first choice for our read aloud. What a story! Fun, clever, so familiar – comfortable. Did Andrew know his aunt would be lucky enough to find clothing whose name and attributes were similar to this happy book’s title?
It has been nearly 20 years since I bought my first piece of Blue Fish. How did I first learn about Blue Fish? I wish I remembered! Was it when I saw Jennifer Barclay on Oprah? Or in People Magazine? I’m not sure But I believe I owned my long printed violet coat dress with the rich red wooden buttons by then.
Andrew- that special Dr. Seuss loving nephew – graduated from New York University. My family spent two days in the city celebrating. I wore Blue Fish to dinners for walks in Times Square, and to his Baccalaureate ceremony. My clothes were as unique, comfortable, beautiful, and appropriate for every situation. They received compliments at Radio City Hall, a Turkish restaurant – even Elmo admired my four squares in Times Square!
Blue Fish is more than clothing – it is a feeling, and experience, a habit of mind. For those people who have yet to wear Blue Fish – Don’t postpone joy! Start with a single piece, blend it with other favorite clothing, and don’t look back. Clothing should be interesting, comfortable, and fun. If should feel good and make you feel good in return. Dr. Seuss, again, says it best:
Oh me! Oh my!
Oh me! Oh my!
If you never did
These things are fun
and fun is good.
Dulcena in Blue Fish
My Blue Fish story starts with a day at the mall in the 1990′s. I’m wandering from store to store looking for something different than what everyone else was wearing. I walked by this hemp shop that sold all organic products. The manager was standing at the front of the store wearing flowing natural colored silks with interesting angles and funky prints. I had to go in and ask what she was wearing. She replies. “Oh, it’s BLUE FISH CLOTHING”! Then she showed me the few racks that she had. I must have one of garments I said to myself! But that wasn’t the best part. I think we chatted for a good hour about everything under the stars. Although I did not make a purchase that day, I headed home with a Blue Fish Catalog full of whimsical ideas and a new friend. I called Blue Fish few days later and took the plunge and ordered my first piece of clothing. I remember sitting on the phone for a good amount of time talking about styles and colors and what goes with what. The gal on the other end of the phone was so pleasant and we talked liked we had known each other for ages. I awaited the package to come, and from that day on I was hooked on Blue Fish!
Through the years I have met the most beautiful, creative, intelligent women all with the same love as me, for Blue Fish. What makes it so special to me isn’t just the clothes. When you walk down the street 90% of the time I get stopped and have someone ask me what I’m wearing. We would start chatting on and on while I usually got eye rolling from my husband. I have formed bonds with the people that wear Blue Fish that have lasted YEARS. If I had not discovered Blue Fish Clothing that day, I would not have that amazing friends in my life that I do now.
For me, my clothing hold memories and experiences that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
Thank you Blue Fish!
Judith at the Taos Store
I knew from a very young age that I was different. My first sisters were following the fads but I was searching for my own style. That never changed even as I got older. I discovered Blue Fish after their doors had already closed. I fell in love with the uniqueness and creativity and expression of this line of clothing. I searched the internet for any and all information I could find about Blue Fish and I was amazed with Jennifer Barclay’s story and the beginning of this fabulous company. Needless to say when Barclay Studio opened, I was overjoyed. I finally had a place that gave me what I wanted —unusual styles and creativity. A year ago, I had a life changing event, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. It was even more important for me to feel good about what myself, to express myself through my clothes, to show my strength. I also made the decision to take a trip to Taos, New Mexico which had always been a lifelong dream of mine. I got to see the shop, was able to tour where all the painting takes place. But sadly I did not get the chance to meet Jennifer.
I get lots of compliments on my Barclay outfits and when I am asked where I purchased it, I begin by telling them about this girl, Jennifer, who started painting in her parents garage at a young age and the rest is history. Blue Fish not only has helped me to express my creativity through clothing but it has also inspired me to express myself through my artwork and open up my own little shop on Etsy. I have developed a wonderful relationship with Frani at the Frenchtown store. Although Frani has never met me, she seems to know what I would like and what would work for me. You certainly don’t get that kind of treatment anywhere else. So, thank you Blue Fish, for allowing me to express myself creatively!
Sondra in her Blue Fish
It was late summer 1989 while thumbing through an Elle Magazine I saw an ad for a Blue Fish dress that screamed “ME”!!! I promptly called for a catalog, which started a 30 year 300 piece Blue Fish affair. The dress in the picture is the very first one I purchased! Being a Pisces, my tastes lean more toward the eclectic, and Blue Fish suits me to a T! I love the comfort fit, and style!
Carol’s Granddaughter Abbey
I have several Blue Fish Stories and all of them are favorites. I have met and enjoyed Blue Fish friends from all over the country. And most of them have remained with me throughout this journey call life. I met Paula from North Carolina many years ago. She formerly lived in Ithaca NY and we shared a love of artsy clothing and even make up. When Katrina struck New Orleans, my daughter and her family lost everything. We had major damage at our home there as well. Paula who cared so much for us, contacted Jennifer Barclay and told her what was happening. Jennifer in turn contacted me for sizes and shipped them a large box of new clean clothing for both of them. They had evacuated to Boston and it was sooo cold.
Here is a photo of my sweet refugee granddaughter Abigail in her Blue Fish Dress. Can you say heart warming? Kay, our friendly Blue Fish quilter sent both Cori & Abbey new warm quilts. Can you say heart warming again? I will never forget the kindness of my Blue Fish friends during that terrible ordeal, that haunts us still. It just goes to show that is does take a village.
Magdalena on the right in Blue Fish
I first came across Blue Fish Clothing at a craft fair more than several years ago. I fell in love with it! For me, when I’m wearing these clothes, I feel more like myself than in anything else. Why? Because I feel that the clothing is a throwback to styles of yesteryear and because that’s the sort of person I am.
I am a musician/composer, a painter and a fiber artist. I share what I know with many people here in Princeton, New Jersey at no cost to them. I am all about hugs. That’s payment enough for me. I have a large following of women in my knitting group and I’m often complimented on my clothes.
My husband a I ventured out to Nova Scotia for a knitting retreat. It was a long rip because I have multiple sclerosis and for various reasons we chose to drive and then take the ferry across into Canada. I packed my Blue Fish Clothes because what I wanted most of all was comfort. We had an interesting conversation one night while walking on the boardwalk of a quaint little fishing village. There were many little shops and there was a festival atmosphere even though it was a cool and foggy night. We walked along and passed many of the shops, but on our return I decided to stop at a couple of them for souvenirs. When I entered one of the stores, the lady behind the counter said, “I saw you walk by earlier, and I thought to myself, she must be an artistic person.” I was surprised and I asked her how she knew that. She replied with, “by the way you are dressed!” I was wearing a four square pant and my oversized sweater both with beautiful patches on them.
I was tickled pink by the comment. If people can look at me and see what I am on the inside because of what I am wearing, then I’m proud to wear these clothes.
Unfortunately, we often judge a book by its cover. But because they are drawn to me, once they look behind the cover (my Blue Fish outfits), they are pleasantly surprised that what they perceive of me is who I am. And what I am is a Blue Fish gal with an artistic soul.
Blue Fish says it all!
Lucy & her Blue Fish
The novel by Elizabeth von Amin entitled Enchanted April is one of my all time favorites. It tells the story of four women in the 1920s who share a villa in Italy for the month of April and in doing so find rejuvenation for their lives. This may be a strange analogy for Blue Fish Clothing – but somehow it speaks to me! Throughout my adult life I have had a connection with all things vintage and have felt most comfortable wearing unique clothing. I am a needlework designer/teacher and owned a needlework shop for ten years. After closing the shop in 1994 I have continued to design and teach throughout the country for needlework guilds and seminars. Through one of these classes I met a woman who had on the most wonderful coat – which of course turned out to be Blue Fish – and from that moment on I have not felt truly comfortable in anything but Blue Fish. Now many years later I cannot imagine my wardrobe without (among all the others) the exquisite velvet ballroom dress or the long vest with velveteen border and hand-printed patterns.
The “enchanted” aspect to Blue Fish is not only the uniqueness of design or even the comfort – but the era of clothing it conjures. When wearing it I feel transported to another time when clothing was designed in more flattering lines and made with care and quality. Many of the styles lend themselves to the style of the 20s which suits me perfectly!
I recently purchased the Muse Dress and find that by wearing various slips underneath and alternating with a length of amber beads or Ruskin pendant made in the early twentieth century I flit around all day feeling as if I just stepped out of the Enchanted April movie! With long hours of work and the every day cares and worries it is comforting to feel that slipping on layers of artistic Blue Fish clothing will make me feel as though I’m playing dress-up – which always makes me feel great!
“It is good to know what one wants” said Rose Arbuthnot in Enchanted April. “Well it saves time” replied Lady Caroline Dester —–I know what I want and it is good to know Blue Fish feeds my soul.
Carol & her Blue Fish
I love Blue Fish because it reflects my views on life. I want my clothing and my life, to be uncommon, carefree, artfully painted, whimsical, asymmetric, ecologically sound & indestructible.
I am a Blue Fish lover from the very early days. My first two t-shirts are from 1989 and I continue to love the older vintage pieces. When they wear out I just patch or redye them.
I am a jewelry artist. My business is named Traveling Savage, and I sell my uncommon and funky pieces at art shows and festivals in the South and Northeast of the United States. While I am based in Washington D.C., I travel as far as Florida and Cape Cod to do art shows. I always wear my Blue Fish pieces at shows, and every time I wear something someone recognizes it as Blue Fish. There is a big Blue Fish underground out there. There really should be a secret handshake or something like that!
Rosemari & her Blue Fish
I fell in love with Blue Fish when I crossed the portals of a shop one day on a little side street in Manhattan just below Canal. I grew up wearing the cotton frocks, bright colors and free flowing skirts and dresses made by hand by my mom. At last I found a creative place where, the beauty and designs of every piece in the shop was reminiscent of my childhood where Blue Fish now welcomed my grown-up woman spirit. I immediately placed my name on the mailing list. I don’t remember if it was a phone call or receiving a card in the mail but I do know that I would save up to purchase items that always meshed with my personality. The Blue Fish crafted styles were the envy of my friends. I like to say that the designs were printed on “ice cream colors” resulting in fabrics that magically transformed into artwear.
I left the country for a few years and one day when I returned to that little manhattan side streeet I sadly discovered that I had lost my little shop. It was no longer there! My old Blue Fish pieces were now collectors items. In later years and with the advent of the internet I searched for Blue Fish and was reunited with my love when I made the two hour drive with my husband to Frenchtown. The sales ladies had no idea who I was and why I was so elated to once again be united with Blue Fish the artwear of my dreams. Most of all I can receive the emails and call my orders to the personal shoppers.
Here I am wearing a vintage Blue Fish top and meadow pants, and of course I can’t go shopping to the Saturday Farmers Market without my oversize Blue Fish Bag.
Blue Fish I hope you will be around for a long time. Your artwear will never be dated for me.
I believe that I began collecting and wearing Blue Fish sometime in the early eighties. I was in my 30′s then – an artist and restauranteur. Over the years, I wore my Blue Fish to all my art shows and as soon as someone who wore Blue Fish or collected it came into my booth, we would hug, squeal, and talk about our favorite clothing (BF).When I could get out of the kitchen in the restaurant, I would trade my chef’s apron & uniform for my comfy/artsy Blue Fish and feel pretty…
In 2003 when “Charlie” (hurricane) hit where I lived in Florida, I had less than 10 hours to evacuate my cottage and make the decision about what to take – of course my family photos, important papers, art supplies, 4 dogs, 1 bird and my Blue Fish. For seven days I did know if I had a home or not – so I cooked. I cooked for people I didn’t know. I cooked wearing my Blue Fish and everyone loved my outfits! On day 8 I was allowed to return to my island. I wore my most favorite Blue Fish – the brightest and most loved…Needless to say I had lost my cottage and my restaurant.
Starting over at 65 has been a challenge to say the least, but I love what I do, and that is so very important, especially in these times. I create beautiful fiber art and incorporate my worn Blue Fish into upholstery, pillows, and even my art dolls.I am blessed to have my art and will always be thankful for Blue Fish, a true inspiration.
Alison Blackman & Jessica Blackman
My sister Jessica and I were twins. and co-creators of the Advice Sisters. we are credited with bringing the advice genre, online more than 17 years ago!
Although we were twins, best friends, and business partners, Jessica was a large sized woman who adored and collected Blue Fish designs. I was a petite woman and I loved Blue Fish too! When we would be at book signings or on television, my sisters always wore Blue Fish dresses.
Just as we were getting better known as online advice columnists and book authors, Jessica died, suddenly. The loss was unimaginable to me. Somehow, I managed to continue our work. I keep imagining her next to me as I write, even as I’m typing this. So she isn’t really gone.
A few years after her death, I happened to be in Frenchtown and saw Blue Fish. When I went inside I mentioned that my sister loved Blue Fish, that we were twins, and so forth. When the woman at the register told me she remembered my sister ordering Blue Fish, I was sincerely touched that she would remember an individual customer she never met, but only corresponded to on the phone or by email. That’s just one of the things that makes Blue Fish special.
Whenever I go to Frenchtown, I make it a point to visit Blue Fish. Somehow, my sister’s spirit seems to be there. And, of course, I love the clothes!
All the best,
I discovered Blue Fish when I asked a gallery owner where she got her beautiful tunic. Since then, it’s been nothing but Blue Fish for me. I used some inheritance money to rid my closet of boring clothes and to start wearing clothes that were “me”!
My husband and I play in Russian folk music groups (that’s me with my balalaika in the photo.) and sometimes I put together a Gypsy look when we play in coffee houses with pieces from my all-time favorite collections.
Favorite Blue Fish story? One day I was walking across a parking lot, and I heard a car behind me, following ever so slowly. fearing for my safely, I stepped up my pace until I heard a voice from the car shout “where did you get those pants?” I was wearing my heirloom Tamara pants! From that time on, I always carry scrap paper so I can write out the Blue Fish website for folks who are stopped dead in their tracks!