Gemma's adventures in shopping: bringing back the dress
Gemma Cartwright writes...
People are always banging on about how it's 'the year of the dress'. So how come when I get glammed up and go out, my friends are always still dressed in jeans and 'nice tops' and I feel like I've overdressed completely? I'm all about frocks, you see. Skirts and tops just don't do it for me, and I don't feel like I've made an effort in trousers. I have a whole wardrobe (no joke, an entire wardrobe) full of dresses. Some of them are casual enough to wear to work, but most are so over the top they're lucky if they get one outing a year. I'm not happy about this, so from this moment on I'm reclaiming the dress. I'm on a mission to get people dressing like girls again!
My mother - even when she's a hundred miles away - despairs of me and my inevitable impractical sales splurges. I'm a grown woman, but I find myself lying on the phone about how much I've spent on my last dress. My most recent purchase? A £150 Oasis Vintage number slashed to £45 (left). I've had my eye on it for three months, so I couldn't resist buying it yesterday in an attempt to transform myself into an Audrey Hepburn / Jackie O hybrid (I'll also need Serge Normant, liposuction, the entire contents of a MAC pro store and a trowel to complete the transformation). It's pure 60s cocktail chic and it fits like a glove (at least it does with my spanx on). I'm in love.
But when will I get to wear this gorgeous little creation? Not on my next date, where dressing up is Just Not Done. Not out for drinks with colleagues (where the less effort you make, the cooler you are) and not on Friday at a friend's birthday when everyone else is likely to be in post-work jeans and boots combos. It's not that I mind being the poshest one among us (I only need to open my mouth for that myth to be dispelled) but there's going out looking a bit smarter than your mates and then there's going out looking like you're desperate for attention. And desperation is never a good look (take note, Bai Ling).
In the 1960s, women barely wore anything but dresses and skirts. How I would have loved to live in that decade. Or in the late 1940s, when Christian Dior created the New Look and women wore seamed stockings and red lipstick. Given half a chance I'd spend all day in 40s style tea dresses or 60s shifts and all night in gorgeous 1930s bias cut numbers or 50s inspired prom dresses. Instead I'm forced to dress down or put up with comments along the lines of "oooh, where are you going tonight?" or "so who are you trying to impress?" You can't be Dita Von Teese in 'real' life. Good thing, since my waist is never going to get to 16".
So the best I can do is cry out to all my fellow dress fans. I know you're out there. The dresses are out there in the shops crying out to be bought and given a good home, but they only seem to be worn on X Factor or Soapstar Superstar. They deserve more. WEAR YOUR GLAD RAGS WITH PRIDE! We're girls. Wearing dresses is one of the many things we can do that boys can't, so why give in and wear trousers all the time? Put on your pencil dresses and killer heels, flit around in cute sundresses with wedges. Stop wearing everything over jeans or leggings! If you don't join me in this, I'll be forced to continue buying dresses that I love but have no occasion to wear, and they'll slowly go out of style in the back of a closet, only to re-emerge in 12 months time (when I can no longer get the zip up). And then I'll be angry. And you won't like me when I'm angry...