By Emily Moran
With the two local junior-senior proms coming up April 7 and April 21, Becky’s Bridal and Formal in Buena Vista is the place to go for all things beautiful and shiny.
“Everybody knows what Becky’s is all about,” says Channing Balser, a Parry McCluer High School junior. “It’s known for beautiful dresses, and she’s got a lot of them.”
Owner Becky Fairchild is a Buena Vista native and Parry McCluer High School alumna. During her teenage years she worked in the Ladies’ Department at the Valley Store, Buena Vista’s department store, where she learned all that she could about retail.
After high school, Fairchild went to Lees-McRae College in North Carolina and then returned to her hometown to pursue her love of fashion. Working in retail at Peebles for seven more years, Fairchild realized that she could do it all on her own. She opened Becky’s Bridal on Magnolia Avenue in 1982.
From dresses to shoes to jewelry to tuxedos to alterations, Becky’s Bridal can meet every prom need.
No matter who you are, Becky’s turns the prom into a “red carpet event,” Fairchild said.
Becky’s Bridal regularly sees shoppers from all over Virginia and North Carolina. Fairchild says she has even shipped dresses to Newfoundland and Germany.
In 36 years, Becky’s has seen styles come and go. Fairchild remembers the “poofy” craze in the 60s, when bigger was always better.
In 2018, color is in, but not just any; it’s red or black, or both together.
The dresses range from $300 to $900. The store also offers a half-price rack.
A style may be hot in any given year, Fairchild said, but it’s up to the individual to decide if it’s hot for her. “Do your own thing” is the mantra at Becky’s, she says.
Every year, Fairchild chooses three of her female shoppers from Rockbridge County High School and three from Parry McCluer High School as “Becky’s Girls.” They are “gorgeous, friendly, and not ostentatious,” Fairchild said.
This year, Becky’s Girls from RCHS are Hannah Burch, McKinley Moore and Abbey Lineberry. The PMHS girls are Channing Balser, Jade Rowsey and Mattie Meeks. They are paid to work in the store.
The girls agree that the store’s influence is widespread. “You’d be surprised,” said Balser. “We get kids from all over. It’s crazy. We’re just a small town, and people don’t think we’d have what they’re looking for.”
Meeks, a PMHS junior, said, “I’ve had many people come there and they tell Becky, ‘I’ve been to so many places in those big towns, and nothing compares to what you have.’”
Becky’s girls are also softball players, cheerleaders, volleyball players and lifeguards.
“If you don’t know Becky Fairchild when you walk through that door, you will know her when you walk out,” Balser said. “And you will always want to come back because that’s how great she makes it.”
Fairchild gets to know every person who walks through her doors and tries to find the perfect dress for each girl.
For Becky’s Girls, prom is planned to the most minute detail, with Fairchild’s guidance.
“Not everybody is a rock star,” she says, “but everybody is a star in our book.”