Wednesday, May 10, 2006

On The Street…….. Buffy Birrittella, New York

This is for all the emails I get requesting images of women over “a certain age” that have mastered the concept of “personal style”.

Ok. it may help this this lady is Buffy Birrittella, Executive Vice President, Women?s Design and Advertising, Polo Ralph Lauren. She is an absolute icon within that company. My wife use to be a designer at Ralph and I always got a chuckle when she would say ,with true fear, that she was preparing for a “Buffy walk-through”. If you ever wonder why Ralph seems to always be so strong and consistently at the top of his game it is because he has made an art of surrounding himself with Style Masters like Buffy.


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  1. Anonymous

    May 10, 2006 at 6:40 pm

    Great example! My wife is 52, I want to buy her this complete ensemble.

  2. argos

    May 10, 2006 at 7:01 pm


    Wow Buffy. Can I call her Buffy?

    Somehow I can tell that one would want to be prepared for a walk-through with BB.

    Supremely classic and ultra cool.

    My hat is off regarding her incredible contribution at RL. I remain forever a fan.

  3. Anonymous

    May 10, 2006 at 7:07 pm

    Wow, stylish AND no leggings…..

  4. Anonymous

    May 10, 2006 at 7:12 pm

    Very nice. What I wouldn’t give for that bag.

  5. jane

    May 10, 2006 at 7:57 pm

    Nice, she’s wearing aviators! Her hair is a bit flat and dry looking.

  6. AnastasiaC

    May 10, 2006 at 8:55 pm

    She looks amazing – this is what I expect from NYC style!

  7. Isabel

    May 10, 2006 at 9:14 pm

    Fabulous. It’s nice to see women who are worthy companions to the distinguished gentlemen that are featured so often.

  8. Anonymous

    May 10, 2006 at 9:47 pm

    Ilove Buffy! I too used to work at RL..she is one woman who conjures feelings of fear and admiration at the same time!

  9. JA Firebrand

    May 10, 2006 at 10:22 pm

    Buffy is f*cking fierce, polished and refined for days, very organic and chic matching the classic wool suit w/ the aviators-whew! U go girl!

  10. fashmoda

    May 11, 2006 at 1:57 am

    More of those picture – style of the over 50 is a large world of ideas.

  11. Anonymous

    May 11, 2006 at 10:01 am

    Could you please reconsider your frequent use of the phrase “women over a certain age”? Is it a dirty secret that women are allowed to stay alive after age 27?

    • Joesephine

      October 19, 2016 at 8:00 pm

      No matter what phrase people use, someone will find fault, therefore all phrases are acceptable.

  12. Gina

    May 11, 2006 at 10:30 am

    I like the look on her, although I feel it too staid for my age (40)and location (70 miles north of NYC). I feel there is no shortage of “ladies of a certain age” and beyond with good style, however, I (and many of my friends) feel that 40 is a tough style age. We are between pulling off trend and “lady of a certain age”. Sartorialist — perhaps you will photo essay “Women of the New 30″ soon?

    That said, I adore this site. Thank you.

  13. Sara

    May 11, 2006 at 11:40 am

    She looks like she means business in that getup! I’d be scared for sure.

  14. seawallrunner

    May 11, 2006 at 11:53 am

    oh I love her style and attitude. she is stylish, powerful – and apparently has a story of achievement and authority.

    a simple photograph of a woman clutching a purse and a coffee – a lovely portrait of composure and strength.

    these are terrific people you are capturing Sartorialist, but you are a terrific photographer too.

  15. Grief

    May 11, 2006 at 12:24 pm

    I knew of Buffy when I too worked at RL, or rather, I knew of her illustrious style. She has always epitomized classic American to me.

  16. The Sartorialist

    May 11, 2006 at 1:05 pm

    to anonymous 10:01am

    I could use a different phrase than “women of a certain age” but don’t know her real age and I’m not crazy enough to guess

    sometimes you just can’t win, I’m pretty happy to have celebrated women of all different ages, sizes etc so don’t get on my back if I don’t turn a phrase perfectly

  17. Gidget Bananas

    May 11, 2006 at 1:11 pm

    Try using the phrase une femme d’un certain age. Everything sounds better in French.

    Sincerely — une femme etc.

  18. The Sartorialist

    May 11, 2006 at 1:55 pm

    I’ll try that one

  19. Abogado de Ropa

    May 11, 2006 at 3:22 pm

    I would like to be her cabana boy.

  20. Anonymous

    May 11, 2006 at 4:55 pm

    buffy? people are actually named buffy outside of WB series’? wow.
    anyhow, i’m grateful for her no matter her name if shes the one responsible for RL’s amazing and timeless style. and i love her aviators.

  21. Liesl

    May 11, 2006 at 7:18 pm

    Ah yes, I worked for RL for a time as well. A visit by Buffy meant your boards and rigs needed to be really snazzy, and you’d better be able to back up your design choices really well…

  22. petra

    May 12, 2006 at 4:15 am

    Every woman has a power to destroy a world or to make fashion eternity!
    Like her a lot. Years are immemorial.

  23. Daniel

    May 12, 2006 at 12:43 pm

    Yikes. How chic! Fabulous. I second that cabana boy comment.

  24. Anonymous

    May 14, 2006 at 2:04 am

    This woman looks great. Why not show less of the done-to-death spindly legged, cropped-hair and oversized sunglasses look and more handsome, original women like this one.

  25. The Sartorialist

    May 14, 2006 at 7:38 am

    why can’t i do both?

  26. Anonymous

    July 11, 2006 at 1:30 am

    Another former RL insider here–
    Her real name is Rosanne or Rosanna
    Of course, if you are RL’s right hand woman, Buffy is certainly more fitting, non?

  27. patricia

    July 26, 2006 at 7:48 pm

    Iconic! She is beyond fashion. She edits for Ralph and Ralph edits for us all.

  28. Anonymous

    March 22, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    I knew Buffy… very well… in the late 1960s…when we worked at Fairchild Publications… she was dynamite then, and by that photo, she still is.

  29. Anonymous

    October 6, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    She is a driven Woman who doesn't need to act like a Man… in a Man's world. Women need to support women.
    Check out
    Buffy is a great role model to women.
    How wonderful she got so far in life!!!

  30. scott polizzi

    November 12, 2011 at 11:36 am

    when I worked for creative services at Polo N.Y. in the eighties
    my boss gave Buffy a piranha for her birthday … she was very upset.

  31. Michelle Malia

    December 29, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    I also worked at Polo Ralph Lauren, for ten years.
    Buffy Birrittella is a pretty amazing woman. She holds the world in her hand. I do wish she would know her strength and use her talent and influence to bring more good into the world; Give more back, as Paul Newman did. For me she looked the best when wearing a loden suit with a purple hanky in her pocket. She was a picture of power and grace, perfect. She is one of the silent greats.

  32. Cleo

    June 12, 2012 at 1:37 am

    She needs a hair cut! The rest is absolutely perfect!

  33. Marilyn Massello Henning

    August 15, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    Roseann – Fond memories of Holy Trinity & Horatio Street….Remember all the fun. So happy you are at the top of your game!

    Take care & all the best, Marilyn

  34. safari sue

    December 9, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    Hasn’t every woman of a certain type done time in some capacity at RL?

    Buffy is formidable but I too, resent the term a “woman of a certain age”. Poor us!

  35. kim

    January 16, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    Buffy has dedicated her life to the company. Yes she is a powerful woman but, she has a loyalty to Ralph that extends beyond her office. She has never married or has children or even a significant partner other than ‘the boss’. As for women in power I consider her very old school submissive.

  36. Rubysanta

    December 9, 2018 at 12:10 pm


    Maybe she didn’t ever want to marry or have children. Are you seriously presuming her loyalty to her work was a direct and indisputable culprit in her decision to not engage in the provincial and patriarchal lifestyle of marriage and children? Ha. You’re the epitome of old school submissive.

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