Monthly Archives: August 2014

My Jenny Lawson ball gown moment

Ah, the power of an in-your-face, crinoline-enhanced ball gown. I was goaded into trying on this bright coral number at a second hand store. Having pulled it off the racks as an example of something that was ridiculously over-the-top, my sister-in-law shamed me into trying it on. My arguments against were valid enough: I have nowhere to wear it, who on earth wears anything with a crinoline these days anyway, it’s an insane colour, I’m way too old to wear what must be a prom dress. Etcetera.

Her argument was simple: You call yourself an adventuresome woman?

Frenchie's may not be the most chic of venues for taking glamour shots.

Frenchie’s may not be the most chic of venues for taking glamour shots.

The gauntlet thus thrown, I took it into the change room and, OMG, it fit perfectly. More shocking yet, when I looked in the mirror my first thought was damn I look awesome in this dress.  It wasn’t I look silly. There, in the no-one’s-looking atmosphere of the change room, it felt fantastic to be dressed up like Cinderella. And when I walked out of the change room (scarier), every woman in the place turned to me and said – I paraphrase, but the sentiment’s the same – damn you look awesome in that dress. Every one of them wanted to be in that dress, feeling that way.

My sister-in-law bought it for me – a whopping $12 investment, far cheaper than drug-store uppers so a bargain at the price. And while I haven’t actually worn it anywhere, and probably would feel quite ridiculous doing so unless it were a kind of costume party, just knowing I have the possibility of putting it on is invigorating.

Jenny in her original red dress.

Jenny in her original red dress. Much better setting for glamour. And a way fabulous dress.

When I got back to Toronto I discovered Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, and her Traveling Red Dress project. Way before I had my change-room epiphany, Jenny had figured out the transformative power of a ball gown and had been shipping it around the globe for more women to get that same I look awesome feeling. What an incredibly cool idea.

Here’s what she has to say about the amazing gown she’s wearing in this photo:

“I wanted it the first time I saw it but I knew I’d never get it.  For one thing, it’s not sensible.  It’s impractical.  It’s bright red and vibrant and shocking and “inappropriate for a woman my age”.  And I have no shoes to go with it.  And I have no place to wear it.

And I want it.

I want, just once, to wear a bright red, strapless ball gown with no apologies.  I want to be shocking, and vivid and wear a dress as intensely amazing as the person I so want to be.  And the more I thought about it the more I realized how often we deny ourselves that red dress and all the other capricious, ridiculous, overindulgent and silly things that we desperately want but never let ourselves have because they are simply “not sensible”. “

I so agree with her. If you want to know more about the Red Dress Project, go here:

Then maybe you’ll get lucky and find one of your own.

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