…We’ve all had them. Dresses or whole outfits that we’ll never forget. That made us feel ace. That made us walk taller, say witty things and feel top of the world.
Two stand out from my childhood. This one right here, and a pink gingham one, with a daisy motif overlaid. Both were handmade by my mum on her old Bernina sewing machine. Which cost dad a fortune when they were first married, but that she has only just consigned to retirement after more than 50 years hard labour.
I bloody loved that dress. It was my party dress, and I can actually still remember how the velvet ribbon felt and the slight fraying on one of the ties. It goes without saying that those shoes made me feel totally complete. Everyone in my class had those Clark’s shoes (in reality no they didn’t but in my 7 year old mind, they most certainly did). You can tell I’m totally bewitching Simon Wood (ok, may be not, the one with his back to me). I’m certainly rocking the butter wouldn’t melt princess look, judging by my face. No other dress has come close in the rest of my life to my love for that one.
It took a long time to find the next thing to make me feel like that. This time, it was a peach skin silk orange shirt from Jigsaw on the Kings Road, in the early 90s. It fitted like it was made for me and everyone, everyone, always said nice things when I wore it. Then I put it in a dodgy dry-cleaners and they sodding ruined it, losing the peach-skin feel. I never quite got over it, even though it would never fit me in a month of Sundays now.
For the rest of the 90s, we were still dressing pretty corporately at work. I definitely had two killer suits that on the occasions when I was feeling like an impostor in a very male dominated industry, made me feel on the outside less intimidated than I was on the inside. And I will never forget my size 10 self – a lamb to slaughter (after not being briefed properly) – in high heels and a too-short dress, rocking a meeting of Editors-In-Chief that I really shouldn’t have. But I bloody well knew my stuff. And so after some blatant raised eyebrows, they had to concede I knew more on the topic than any of them in the room. I can’t say I had many such victories though, and beneath the facade, my legs shook and I felt like crap.
I’d like to say my wedding dress made it to the list, but in honesty I’m not sure it does. It was a stunning dress, but in reality, when you’ve got big boobs, not many dresses do you any favours. Which is probably why I don’t have an “it” dress anymore. But as I watch my daughter swirl and twirl whenever she gets a new frock, it aways takes me back to that dress. It’s nearly enough to make me break out the spanx and get a frock and heels on. Nearly.
These days, I’m less into wearing an ankle length 70s party dress. But I doubt any frock will live up to that one…
Nevertheless – there are some great dresses out on the high street at the moment, that can see you through the summer. Here’s my edit of the ones that can work for weekends, as well as great picks for those of us in less than corporate roles…
Liberty, Gap, Whistles, Whistles, H&M, Folk