Gold Dress Standard...

By Lucy Harbron - 17:52

I wore this the other weekend. As Manchester celebrated pride in glorious sunshine, I wandered around the packed streets in this dress, grasping the material in one hand like I was descending stairs in a ballgown. Feels like a stupid scene to describe, who did I think I was? Well, I thought I was royalty, I was the shit, I was a goddess. In one of my least practical outfits to date, getting caught on zippers and spilling drinks right through to my skin, I felt great. Something about it; that shade of silver gold that seemed to give me a tan I certainly didn’t have, the silhouette of my waist and hips defined under the flowing metallic, maybe even just the sheer comfort of it, I felt the best I’ve felt in a long time. My tipsy self let the words ‘I feel so beautiful’ roll out of my mouth, unabashed by ego, unafraid of self-criticism.

Part of it was definitely down to the atmosphere. I think it's likely that everyone feels beautiful at pride because that’s exactly the point. Feeling seen and heard and accepted makes people glow. If you haven’t been to a pride; go. It’s a perfect example of what the world could and should be like, with no prejudice or judgement. You see people swan past you in glorious costume, full drag, every colour, and you think nothing but ‘cool’. You make friends in an instant and anywhere. When done right, pride becomes this magical space of total love, without whisperings of insecurity or social cruelty. Everyone holds hands with everyone so I don’t think anyone has a thought towards themselves that isn’t love, it would disrupt the flow, strangers would notice and flock from all around to tell you how beautiful you are and tell you to cut it out.

I love the complete lack of a dress code at pride. There’s an unspoken rule that you were literally whatever makes you feel best from a prom dress to jeans to lingerie and nothing else. For me, that’s this dress, pulling in all my favourite styles. In the gold and simple neckline, I see old school Hollywood glamour, I see starlets. In the sheer material I see the dirtier side of that, I see Burlesque and designers like Vivienne Westwood and McQueen who take pristine things and make them messy and fun and daring. In the makeup, I see the 60s, New York, The Chelsea Hotel and my dream girl Edie. Pulled together it all felt distinctly me, sparkly and too much and showing off but brought down a peg. Doing the most, but not that much. It felt right from the second I tried in on, digging it out of the Topshop sale rack in a day before panic. It was that cliché when you just know you need something when it felts like a glove and feels far more comfortable than one. I didn’t hesitate to purchase it, spent the days prior waiting to wear it.

 I think overall I have about 4 or 5 items that make me feel like that. I feel best in clothes that cultivate a sense of character, making you walk slightly different as you adopt a persona that’s not different just elevated. I like clothes that pull on a certain part of you. My Burberry trench pulls on my unfading wish that I could be toned down. My square toe boots pull on my longing to be a Nancy Sinatra-esque late 60s babe. Some of my burlesque lingerie makes me feel like a film star, about to shoot a dramatic death scene that may not win me an Oscar but will make me an international, immortal sex symbol. These pieces make me feel like magic to the point where sometimes I just slip them on to lounge about my room in on sad days.

I hope it’s a familiar sense. I hope even people who couldn’t care less about fashion have pieces that make them feel so powerfully and distinctly themselves. Because if not, what’s the point? What’s the point of this huge industry we’ve built if it's not to make people feel incredible? Why bother even hanging extra weight on your bones if it's not adding to the experience of your day? I’m trying really hard to hold onto the feeling of the gold dress. I want to remember what it felt like and start refusing to purchase anything that makes me feel any less than stone-cold stunning.

I think fashion has 2 duties...

  1. To make the customer feel beautiful, to create an experience for them through clothes
  2. To care about people and the world.

And I’m starting to realise they go hand in hand, and if fashion isn’t caring enough yet, I can by stopping wasteful purchasing in favour of occasional best-self magic.

So I’ve set a new rule, the gold dress rule. A new standard everything has to meet. And if I won’t walk dirty streets feeling like a princess entering a ball, A La Mia at the end of princess diaries, I won’t be handing over my card. I’m accepting no less than out and proud ‘I feel beautiful’ garments, boring t-shirts need not apply.

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