I'll never forget the first time I saw Legally Blonde. Sitting in that Regal theater, I decided that one day, I would parade around the world just like Elle Woods. I'd wear designer clothes, always have my nails done, and although I may not bend and snap, I'd always have my fur child in tow — just like Elle had Bruiser. Ideally, he'd be wearing a matching look, of course.
My 10-year-old self wasn't far off. I do get weekly manicures and love designer clothes, and I also bring my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Dexter, with me everywhere within reason. We met in 2019, when he was just the scared 5-month-old foster puppy I was picking up from a rescue organization in Bushwick. I knew he was special right off the bat, and just 15 hours later, he was officially adopted. Now he's a velcro dog who wants to be by my side at all times. Needless to say, this pandemic has been his dream come true.
Although Dexter is spoiled and gets all the toys and treats he wants, I've been slacking when it comes to his wardrobe. Sure, he has a few cable-knit sweaters, a metallic Canada Pooch puffer coat, and some hoodies — all of which he lets me put on willingly in the winter so that he doesn't catch a chill. I never dress him up when it's warm out because I try not to let my crazy dog mom flag fly at all times. But things changed when I found out Badgley Mischka was teaming up with the pet apparel company K9Wear for their first-ever dog capsule collection. A true runway-worthy collab for pups? You'd better believe I was going to get my hands on that.
Known for their dreamy floral prints, Mark Badgley and James Mischka have been dressing Hollywood for three decades. J.Lo has attended the Oscars in their gowns a whopping four times since 1997, Taylor Swift wore one of their glittering gold creations to the Met Gala in 2008, and Meghan Markle chose one of their trench coats for the 2017 Invictus Games. The label's most loyal fan to date is undeniably Dame Helen Mirren, who continues to turn to them for one major event after another (the dramatic turquoise gown and coat she wore to the premiere of Catherine the Great in 2019 lives rent-free in my head).
With the red carpet on pause this past year, dressing canines was a natural next step for the brand. Their dog designs pack less volume than Mirren's regal ensemble for obvious walk-friendly reasons (can you imagine lifting your leg while wearing all that fabric?). They do, however, feature the same patterns from the label's ready-to-wear collections, so you can match your dog in colorful stripes or florals if that's your vibe. And yes, for the record, I am more than willing to dress my male dog in florals because it's 2021 and even human clothing is gender fluid; don't @ me.
Perhaps the biggest selling point is that the outfits — which retail for $175 each — fasten directly onto the K9Wear's included interchangeable hybrid harness, so you're spared from navigating your pup's paws through an extra set of armholes. The limited-edition drop includes two outfits that are currently available on Badgley Mischka's site, plus two special-order designs. We tested out the latter, and I must say that getting Dexter into the looks was, indeed, a cinch. First, we tried a red and white striped jacket, an obviously adorable choice that earned a few earnest "awwws" in the West Village. But the moment he put paws to pavement in his second outfit, strutting like the great Bruiser Woods did before him, I knew we had found our winner.
People stopped. They stared and smiled. Was it because Dexter was standing on his tippy paws squealing with delight to greet strangers? Or was it because they admired his sensible denim jacket with floral collar, perfectly suited for these between-spring-and-summer days? The answer is unclear, but there's one thing I do know for sure: I'll be damned if my dog deserves to wear anything less than the Dame.