The Dress

24 Apr

Here is something I wrote a while back and it was for a writing competition that was called “The ____ That Changed My Life” with the focus on something important in your wardrobe. I didn’t win, but I still like the piece I wrote and it’s got a pop culture theme so here is is:

A photograph from my first trip to New York City perfectly showcases the dress that means the most to me; the item of clothing in question is a simple French Connection floral jersey dress and the photo is a typically touristy one (hey, it was my first time). I’m standing on a shut-down Madison Avenue with the buildings looming above and the dress has a subtle pop of color that separates it from the mostly neutral tones of the people in the background and I somehow standout in this grand city, just for a moment.*


There are dresses for a multitude of big moments in our lives; prom, weddings, a first date, an interview, so why would I pick this one that you wouldn’t necessarily notice amongst all the other ones that hang in my closet? For one thing it holds the power that only a favorite item of clothing can possess; to make you feel confident.

Growing up you would be more likely to find me in jeans, with a dress possibly making an appearance but only as worn over the jeans (it was the late 90s after all). As I got older and high school parties turned into university ones and the odd fancypants soiree was thrown, my collection of formal wear grew, but I still didn’t really have any dresses for everyday affairs. A few were added to my collection after I graduated that could be dressed up or down and my favorite was one I referred to as the Brokeback dress; not because it looked cowboy-esque but as it was a less frumpy version of Michelle Williams’ costuming in this movie . It wasn’t until later when I purchased ‘the dress’ that my collection really began to grow and I finally mastered the non-formal dress.

This is around the time that Mad Men first aired and it soon became apparent that it would influence what we would see on the catwalk and in stores. As someone who writes about TV now, and was in the process of getting a Masters in Film and TV at that time, this show had (and still has) a huge impact on my wardrobe. Prior to Mad Men there was Sex and the City which spawned just as much attention from the fashion world but there is something about the updated 60s style that appealed to my sensibilities. I could never pull off Carrie’s wonderfully daring approach but the influx of dresses taking their cues from Betty Draper was an instant win.

So pop culture is one place where I take my style cues from and New York City is one of the most filmed/sung about/photographed cities, so of course I wanted to look my best when I first visited and this dress makes me feel both super comfortable and stylish. It hugs all the right places and flatters the rest, it allows me to reveal my legs without being too self conscious and it works perfectly in both the summer and winter (just add tights and boots). Clothes can serve a multitude of functions and the most uncomfortable item can look stunning and you just have to hide the pain. I prefer the least amount of discomfort route; which is why at any event that requires me to wear a heel you will find me with my shoes in hand after a few hours (classy I know).

I now have other dresses in the same style from French Connection in an array of patterns and colors and now on days off from being stuck behind my computer you will likely find me in one of my growing collection. Instead of looking to Betty Draper, now it is Don’s new wife Megan that clothing stores seem to be emulating, there will probably be a hint of this evolution with my own dress choices.

Back to the dress in question and another reason why it continues to inspired me. The photo of me on Madison Avenue (home to Don Draper) holds a special place for me. There is something about me standing in that dress on such an iconic road, in such an iconic city that epitomizes how confident this dress makes me. It seems like there are endless possibilities and this dress makes me feel like Superman.

* The quality of the photo isn’t the best as it was taken with a disposable camera (yes I still use disposable cameras, I like the surprise element) and I can’t locate the disc that has these photos on them, so it is a photograph of a photograph. The colors are duller than they are in the original copy and for some reason it makes it look like I’ve used a filter to give a 70s vibe. I still like the picture even if I look a little dorky. 

One Response to “The Dress”


  1. Behind the Insta-Scenes: Photos from the Set | TV Ate My Wardrobe - January 27, 2016

    […] often you get to stand in the middle of a New York road like this. Got to take these opportunities where you […]

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