You Go, Girls!

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When it does, one of the first numbers they dial is that of Terri Pepe, last year's Mrs. Arapahoe County. One of the great ironies of Terri's four-foot-eleven, size two, 46-year-old life is that she didn't find Glitzy Glitz Girls until months after she won her crown. "Because you won't find their clothes anywhere else, and that's important if you want to be a trendsetter," Terri says. "They need a much bigger, much glitzier sign. But inside, oh, their clothes are to die for."

Terri discovered the Dransfeldt line of glitz at a fashion show titled "Working Woman's Night Out." After taking to the stage as Mrs. Arapahoe County in the 1996 Mrs. Colorado pageant, she'd tapped into a previously hidden showbiz streak and was working the fashion show as a model. "They had me wear a quite short, black little sleeveless dress with a deep V almost below the...well...between the belly button and the bustline. It was covered somewhat with little bits of lace, and gold beads dangled from the V. After five minutes in that dress, I was saying, 'I'm sorry, but this dress is not for sale. This dress is mine.'"

A personal layaway plan and three fancy dresses later, Terri confronted the fact that her husband, at least in the first 23 years of their marriage, had never been the out-on-the-town type. "But I just said, 'Look, you're going to have to figure out where to take me,'" she recalls. He did, and Terri's next purchase was a denim cowgirl dress encrusted with pearls.

"Basically, I don't shop anywhere else. Their clothes come from Dallas and Las Vegas, and those places are further ahead than Denver. Ahead," Terri concludes, "is where I want to be."

Most Glitzy Glitz clients, like Terri, are described as family--whether or not there is any genetic connection. Bob Fetters, who has dropped by the store for a chat, seems to know the regulars as well as his wife and mother-in-law do. He greets by name Sarah Bjornsen, a twenty-year-old veterinary assistant who models for the store on occasion. She is here to renew her fascination with a crisp white evening gown, but first she sits down for a brief discussion of the Internet. Bob's been researching several of his pet interests, among them obscure Irish genealogy and Viking longboats. If he doesn't get a flat-rate server, he says, he'll go broke paying the phone bill. Mid-reply, Sarah spots a leopard-print chiffon scarf. She immediately goes to the phone and calls her mother.

"Mom will be right down," she tells Josie and Gunhild. "She needs this scarf."

"Hmm," Josie says noncommittally. Even if fate brought the chiffon scarf to this place, true glitz rates more than an impulse purchase.

"Well, this will be fun," Gunhild says, settling herself in a chair among the rhinestone cowboy shirts. "Life is short. None of us come out of it alive."

Josie raises an eyebrow at her mother, as if to say, from a chiffon scarf to Life? In the space of one short sentence?

"Yes," Gunhild says aloud. "Life is exciting, and life is short. Meanwhile, let's have fun.

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Robin Chotzinoff
Contact: Robin Chotzinoff