We’ve all got one, right? The dress. The one we pull out for special occasions; the one we fall back on when nothing else looks right; the one we absolutely love, have owned for years, and have no intention ever of letting go.
And if you don’t have one, why not?!
My dress came from eBay in December 2008. I had decided to theme my Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve) meal with my husband (then boyfriend!), brother and sister-in-law as a 1970s night, because I just love that decade.
I had a quick look on eBay and there she was – a maxi dress, with full skirt, lurex thread, boat neck, in a green/silver/black pattern.
She looked perfect. But this was eBay. If you shop on eBay you will know what I mean.
This could have been another of those dressesthatlieinthecupboardforever moments, many of which have come from eBay.
But it wasn’t. It was one of those ebayisthebestplacetoshopever moments, when everything just worked. It was even better than I had imagined.
It fit well, it looked fab, and on it went, for the first time.
It survived that Hogmanay, and went on to grace many more similar occasions – a few Christmas Days here and there, another New Year, gigs, parties, and just nights out down the pub.
Yes, it’s a maxi, yes, it’s lurex, yes, it’s not an everyday number, but something about it means it can be any dress I want it to be.
I’ve worn it with wedges, heeled boots, sandals, and even trainers (to a Peter Hook gig, followed by a friend’s 30th birthday party!).
It does cling a bit round the boobs when my weight goes up – but the full skirt hides a multitude of sins lower down.
It’s not too long, either, although that skirt can get a bit caught up in the legs when the Auld Reekie wind really blows!
I just love it, and I know it has plenty more nights out left in it yet.
I asked a few others to share their stories of ‘The Dress’. Here they are.
Margot McCuaig, Writer and Filmmaker
“My gorgeous, long, gold dress is Kate Moss from Top Shop. I bought it in 2009, along with a fabulous Kate Moss fake fur jacket to wear to the BAFTAs that year. I adore it, I feel like Bette Davis in it, I move the room in black and white, in a haze of 1930s cinematic smoke. It drops to the floor, which for someone as tall as me is a brilliant find.
“The first time I wore my dress I chose Irregular Choice sandals, higher than my feet can cope with, a rainbow of colours that more than one person shied away from as I walked in.
“It’s not often a frock can bring such joy. The dress is backless and fitted but its shape accentuates, rather than highlights, the passing of years.
“I wore it again at a wedding. Actually, I was torn between it and another dress. The other dress won through and I wore it to the ceremony but as soon as the meal was over I went to my hotel room and changed into my Bette D number and a pair of pink Converse. The large Glenmorangies I drank while perched at the bar suited the softness of the dress – we merged beautifully in a liquid gold.
“The picture is of me in my dress is from that night. My daughter-in-law Emma is with me. The haze around us isn’t cinematic smoke, it’s gold whisky vapour!
“My beautiful dress and I have shared just three wonderful nights together but I know there will be more. We’re a team.”
“I bought this dress in the January sales in Warehouse. It’s not somewhere I usually shop but they had rack upon rack of reduced dresses and so a rummage was definitely called for.
“I’m so glad I did!
“A simple black dress on the top half with a three-quarter length sleeve, it’s nipped in at the waist before flaring out into a Marilyn Munro style, above the knee skirt, with an asymmetrical emerald green flash.
“I can’t remember what I paid but I know it was a bargain. The price-per-wear must be through the roof. I’ve had it for just over five years and have worn it countless times.
“It’s got that elusive killer combo of being formal-but-fun, which has meant it’s been my go-to favourite for client meetings, corporate events, restaurant launches, going out for dinner and family gatherings.
“It’s even been donned for a funeral however, the sound of the death knell for this dress is a long way off.”
Sarah Gillespie, Journalist
“My version is more of a smock really. I bought it on eBay in 2011 for the grand total of 99p (the P&P cost more than the dress).
“I knew it would divide opinion – the obnoxious print isn’t for everyone. I look quite like the head of an obscure tribe wearing it.
“I love the fit of it, I love that it hides a multitude of sins. I’m not mad keen on my midsection, but no matter what weight I’ve been I’ve always liked my legs. I’ve been up and down sizes, but this dress is so baggy that I can’t imagine that I will grow out of it. I hope not.
“I love the picture of me in it at Loch Goil. I was away with some friends for the weekend at a house, and we’d stayed up all night, and we decided to take a wander around the loch when the sun came up. So, there I am, clutching a pint of vodka, soda and fresh lime, at 9am in the morning. It was my Facebook and Twitter profile picture for ages, as I feel it sums me up reasonably well.
“I’ve tried (and failed) to recreate the success of buying this . Other 99p purchases haven’t been great quality, and more expensive pieces don’t have that “it was only 99p” humblebrag that us vintage lovers get a rush from. It doesn’t need much in the way of accessorising, so it’s such a great piece for that ‘second night out in a row lack of effort’.
“I wear it with tartan creepers or my Nike holographic high tops. Like me, it doesn’t do heels.”
“I remember seeing the dress in the window of a shop in Bond Street and every day when I walked past the shop I admired it. I finally went in and bought it without even trying it on and when I got it home I was delighted to find that it was the perfect fit.
“Well, perhaps it COULD do with a few more inches on the hemline but then, I’m six feet tall without any shoes on so that’s the story of my life.
“The dress has long since had its label carefully removed so you wouldn’t see the outline of it when you had the dress on so I don’t know what brand it is. I bought it when I was living in London, so I think I have had it since 2002.
“Eleven years later I wore it on a date with my boyfriend when he booked a vintage canal boat in Amsterdam for the two of us to have a romantic meal on. That date ended with a diamond ring on my finger and a fiance on my arm!
Since then, the dress brings back very fond memories of a very special evening.
“The dress has done me proud over the years when a simple black dress that is elegant with ‘just the right amount of sexy’ fits the bill. It’s made of a heavy stretchy drape with plenty of lycra so it’s bodycon without making you feel body CONSCIOUS after a romantic meal.
“If the night ends up on a dance floor you can tuck it into itself and if you’re planning a weekend away with just a little piece of hand luggage, the dress can fold into the evening bag you’re taking with you!”
What’s your favourite dress? What’s “the dress” for you? Let me know in the comments!