THE ___ THAT CHANGED MY LIFE
My submission for ELLE’s October 2012 Personal Style issue.
The LBD That Changed My Life
We all have that one dress that saves the day. There in your wardrobe, it sits silently, peaking out as a reassuring reminder, but a part of you hopes it doesn’t need to come out any time soon. It’s your safety dress. An emergency aid. A best friend.
Luckily, we can often feel great without a safe item of clothing waving its magical wand. This, for me, is mostly when I’m having a ‘thin’ day, or when I’ve just come back from holiday with a tan, or have been laying off the fast-food and I can therefore be brave. I can waltz into any store and pick up anything. In that moment, I feel invincible. I can be dressed easily like a mannequin. Loud colours, backless dresses, daring plunges and dangerous bows, shoes that have a tiny strap. Invincible, preened and ready, I always leave the house smiling
Those are the good days. But, as we all know, fashion is not always there to help us. It’s there to test us, determine us, and scare us. Sometimes (and especially being female) we have our down days. We have bloated days. During which we would rather curl up in a ball than moisturize, have a friend make a homemade soup rather than bikini-wax and cover ourselves up rather than bare any part of our body. We try and feel confident again whilst lying on the bedroom floor with hormones raging and memories of an old crush coming back into focus. These are the moments you suddenly realise one boob might be bigger than the other. You need some help.
We all know the best way to mend a broken heart is get out again. That’s what our friends are for, to help us get back on that horse, grab the reigns and laugh and snort like the old days. No one wants to do a Carrie Bradshaw (in Sex & The City) when she shuts the blinds and has to be fed yogurt in bed. We have to get ourselves back into that sexy frame of mind. But, our friends can only do so much.
This is where my treasured dress comes into the equation. Like my girlfriends who would rally round and get me out of the door, playing our favourite songs and reminding each other that we are wonderful, there’s one more thing that I need in order for this to work.
With no hesitation, I go into my bedroom and head straight for the thing that will immediately lift my spirits. This dress knows me the best. It knows that it needs to skim over my bottom to make it look firmer than it is; it knows that I suit black the best; it knows that by being off-the-shoulder I get to show off my collar bone. It knows that for my legs to look their best, I need it to cut off a little above my knee and that the material makes me feel slinky and fun. It knows that it can lift my spirits and lift my boobs. It knows that by firmly pulling in my waist I can streamline my silhouette. It knows all these things without me even saying it.
As I enter back into the living room my friends look over asking excitedly if I am wearing a new dress. I smile to myself, knowing that the dress isn’t new, I just haven’t had to wear it for a while. That makes me feel even better and I know that tomorrow everything will be A-OK.
How I Grew Up Online
“In love with Emma Gannon’s Ctrl Alt Delete. So funny & smart, and reminding me of some of my own cringe teen Internet exploits!”– Anna James, former literary editor of ELLE
"Funny, honest, and nostalgic!"– The Debrief
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