let's play dress up
the curse of the body-con dress

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Phew, my computer is back up and running! Or for now at least. It was touch and go after a few days of hitting the library for as many hours as possible and then finding any way to pass the time in the evening. But I hope it lasts all week as I come home on Saturday! That's insanely scary and I don't know where to begin to organise and tie everything up, but it's OK, there's time! Also time for one last Gothenburg trip, even though the £20 per kg excess baggage charge is inevitable and also very, very scary.

Luckily there's been some parties and some nights out recently so I feel I've done everything this term that I might have missed. On Friday there was a Spanish party in the sauna, well specifically the common room next to the sauna. As I only have classes around once a week, most of the time I don't even need to get dressed! So when there's an actual party that everyone will be at, it's a chance to get dressed up. My kind of dressed up is to choose a youtube makeup look, pick some false lashes, pump up the hair, and wear something I couldn't wear in the day but don't necessarily want to wear to a club.

This dress has such a history! There's a huge vintage warehouse in Birmingham now owned by Cow Vintage but before it was just the 'yellow vintage shop' due to the ambiguous yellow sign. I don't remember how I heard about it but I was there on the opening day in my college lunch break. Among the naff 80's tea dresses and musky polyester (the stock has improved immensely by now), I found a red strapless boned prom-style dress with a bow at the waist and a shirred back, so it was the perfect fit. It had a very light tutu underneath so it wasn't overly huge but it went in at the waist and out over the hips, so it was perfect! I remember it was priced only £12 and I had £10 cash on me and a £2 prize on a scratch card haha, but the owner sold it me for £10. I folded the hem under a few inches in random places and secured it with some simple tack stitches so it was a bubble dress, and I wore it to absolutely every club I could get into with my fake/borrowed ID. I was 17!

This was in 2006, and I was just getting into fashion and was a big ebayer, and back then there wasn't the trend communication that there is now. No,w if I have the urge to try or buy something, guaranteed I'll find some kind of inspiration on a blog somewhere or be able to find references or examples of it. But back then if I wanted a certain style or trend, there were no fashion networking sites like Lookbook and no blogs that I knew of or any street style sites. So I had the idea that a dress of a crazy fabric would be really cool and started trying to make my own clothes. When you're on a pre-student budget, i.e. in UK college/school, you have to be extra thrifty and every buy must be significant, so I got some comic strip fabric on eBay from America and haphazardly made the top part of the bustier. I traced out the shape including the sides and tacked it onto the red dress by just wrapping it round and sewing it at the back, either side of the zip. Then I took a red buttoned sash belt from another dress and sewed the skirt onto it just by bunching up and overlapping the fabric as I went around. So the skirt part of this dress actually comes off! It was a thrifty way to keep wearing my favourite red dress that fit so perfectly and get a new outfit on a student budget; I think the fabric and postage was about £7 in total.

I remember one night my cousin, who had just started studying in Birmingham and was a total rocker/goth, invited me to a rock club, and I wanted to wear this dress but the hem kept falling down. The last time I'd worn it to a club it had basically fallen apart on the dance floor, and I even blogged about it! Oh my God, that was January 2007! That post is sooo old, just look at the mirror shot! In a drastic move, I just took some scissors to the bottom of the dress, and as you always do, I cut it shorter than I would have liked. Later I was really cut up about it because I felt I'd ruined a perfect vintage find by altering the length permanently and clumsily.  But that was so long ago, and I wore the modified dress to lots few places! I still go to the rock club so it's especially suited to there and always gets loads of comments. I remember wearing it with a chunky fake gold chain when nu rave came into fashion. I also wore it in my fresher's week in 2007 and then on one night out in 2008 on a whim. I remember after a few months of being at uni I felt my super long, ringletted hair was really brash and childish and the dress was just too bright and attention grabbing. I was a bit insecure and felt that I didn't look good enough to attract that attention, or that it just clashed with my equally attention grabbing and different hair. But that was a long time ago and in 2008 I wore it again when I started to style my hair like I do now, but it was much longer. I really want to grow my hair again this summer though! I've left those previous insecurities behind and actually my sister started wearing this dress for the past year. I also made one of bright purple fabric covered in rainbow numbers, it was so crazy! She started wearing that one too but ripped it at a club!

But when I came home for Christmas I nicked the dress back off my sister as I knew it would be perfect for the flat parties that happen here. I probably wouldn't wear it to a club now as I usually wear body-con dresses out and I feel a bit old for it now. But it's the kind of thing I'd wear on a whim, and Friday for the Spanish party was an opportune moment. I even accompanied it with rainbow eyes! I went down to the party with some people from my floor, and you know when someone will say 'oh... you're wearing ----...', but it's not actually a compliment, it's just a comment hiding their surprised or other reaction? Well the people were like 'oh... you're a comic...!' haha. But the red sash in the centre is quite tight now so I felt really pulled in at the waist and puffed out in the skirt, so I felt really cool! In the end the party was pitch black because the lights were off the entire time but it didn't matter. As usual everyone else was in normal day clothes anyway but I myself took great pleasure in wearing a piece that is quite historical to me, or at least my style. It's the only thing that I can say I made myself! I like even more that it's held together with safety pins and the hem is incredibly wavy and wonky because it signifies a time when I was just getting into fashion and really dressed truly to my own tastes and impulses, and I was so young and carefree, it was the best time!

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