If I were the type of person to believe the universe provides us with what we need, I would believe it had provided me with this dress. It appeared to me in the window of & Other Stories; a soft, summery interruption to a chorus of coats and knitwear. I didn’t succumb but just a few days later there it was in my size, unworn, with the tag on, on depop for half the price. I hit buy it was mine. The universe had provided.
But so consumed was I by the fate (sheer coincidence) that had brought me and the dress together, I hadn’t really thought about when I might wear it. Seeing as I bang on constantly about wearing what’s in your wardrobe and not making wasteful purchases, I thought I’d better hold myself to account and make sure I actually wear this dress.
On its own, it screams sophisticated night out but the closest I come to that is a moderately priced meal followed by a cup of green tea in front of Netflix so that particular scenario isn’t remotely realistic. A going out dress is a waste of precious wardrobe space, so this dress needs to work within significantly less glamorous contexts. As I’m sick of the current season, I took it for spin through all of them. Let’s start with spring.
Ah, spring. The season I resume shaving my legs on the reg in the hope of exposing them to some sunshine. Let’s face it though, vitamin D isn’t very forthcoming in March, April or May (or June or July or August) so layers are a prerequisite. If you happen to have a vintage space t-shirt, here is where you would deploy it. If not, any old t-shirt will do. While I’d love that alone to satisfy the layer quotient, we all know it won’t so this is the point where a jacket must begrudgingly be added. Something about white denim makes me think of a retirement cruise but, nevertheless, I’m determined to bring it back so I’ve been hauling this jacket out of my wardrobe every spring since 2008. If your style is more post-graduate than pension, try a lightweight duster instead. So that’s spring, onto summer…
This dress is made for summer. When I took it out of the packaging, I had visions of myself strolling around European cities, exploring the winding back streets and drinking coffee in a sun-drenched square. It’s ridiculous the dreams a single piece of clothing can conjure but that’s part of their magic, I suppose. This is my ‘sauntering round an Italian city’ outfit. The silhouette wouldn’t be in the least bit forgiving to my inevitably bread-swollen stomach but who cares when you’re free from the constraints of waistbands? Something about red and black feels a little wintry (Father Christmas connotations maybe?) so parrot earrings and a rainbow accessories spectrum solve that problem.
The sadness of the end of summer is tempered by the return of layers. The only problem I have with dresses is that they’re a lot of just one thing. The summer iteration of this look is dreamy but a few more layers thrown into the mix feels much more me. I wear the blue shirt so much I imagine my skin will soon start to envelop it and provide it with its own blood supply and pink and red are a match made in heaven, so those two items were an obvious choice. Another obvious choice was the rocket ship bag I got as a gift a few Christmases ago. I mean it LIGHTS UP FOR GOD’S SAKE. I’m being pretty optimistic with the bare legs here (no matter what any fashion editors tell you, a midi skirt and ankle boots are not the answer when temperatures start to drop into single figures. They have cars to drive them around. They don’t experience weather like you and I). If I were to indulge in a spot of hosiery, it would probably be fishnets which is very street style 2016 and I apologise.
And finally, back to winter. No matter how many times Ned Stark warns us of its arrival, it’s still very much the unwelcome visitor of seasons. I decided to approach this one from the perspective of a 1980s art student. In fact, I feel this is what Tia from Uncle Buck might have looked like had she had a slightly rosier disposition. The boots originally belonged to my Nana and at once feel very 30 years ago and very now thanks to the prevalence of midi lengths over knee high boots on the AW17 runways. The stripy turtle neck was part of a mime costume my boyfriend wore for Halloween years ago and the jacket and jumper are both vintage so this really is an outfit of hand-me-downs. And of course, I could be wearing long johns under this and no one would be any the wiser so maximum points are duly awarded.
And there we have it. One dress, four seasons. I’ve run the gamut of the British climate and come out on top. The dress will stand the test of lazy summer afternoons and a trip to the local shops and so can hang guilt-free in my wardrobe.