This Dress Will Change Everything Image Credit: ELLE
This Dress Will Change Everything Image Credit: ELLE

This Dress Will Change Everything

Sometimes, one new, perfect thing is all it takes to get you where you need to go.

April Long

“Is it about the dress?”

The voice, emanating from the bunk bed below me, belonged to my friend Judy, with whom I was sharing a tiny one-room flat in London during our junior-year study-abroad program. It was the middle of the night, and I had hoped she wouldn’t hear me sniffling into my pillow.

Why was I crying? Well, I was homesick. I was hormonal. I was worried about final exams. But, yes, it was mostly about the dress.

Judy and I had spotted it at exactly the same time, fluttering on the end of an alfresco rail. It was black, subtly shiny, and sleeveless, with a slightly dropped waist above two tiers of gently flaring ruffles that ended just above the knee. We reached for it simultaneously; Judy’s hand touched it first. She held it up to her chest, taking its measure, and immediately pulled a crumpled 20-pound note out of her pocket to pay for it.

When we got home, I eyed it enviously, picturing myself in it. I’d be a Holly Golightly, capable of charming entire rooms. I would have a British boyfriend, go to grown-up parties, drink champagne. In my mind, the dress was the very embodiment of glamour, sophistication, mystery—all the things a 19-year old student subsisting primarily on microwaved potatoes did not have. It was a portal into a future I desperately wanted but couldn’t figure out how to access. And for some reason, it struck me that I might never again stumble across a garment with that kind of

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