I had sworn off all scratchy, synthetic materials. I had declared I would stop buying high street anything unless it was (nearly) 100% cotton, linen or silk. Yep, I said that — and then I found this lemon print dress in H&M. For months, I had been searching high and low for a floaty, romantic dress to wear for our Marrakech trip. And it was found in lemons — material-snobbery be damned.
What actually this post should be called is “Eire Spends 5 Months Looking for a Bloody Dress and Finds SQUAT.” Yep, this post is actually a tragic tale of how I discovered how bloody difficult finding a dress is. One that is quality, feminine, not too revealing, modern, and at a not-ridiculous price point. With summer on the imminent horizon, I thought this quest would have been less, well, arduous, more ASOS-slam-dunk. What I ended up confronting was something far more frustrating.
Here’s how it all began.
But — and I’m curious if any of you do this too — sometimes, I build up a vision in my head. A vision of what I want to look like for a specific event, or trip. Usually, it involves me looking simply fabulous, but more often than not, a certain outfit takes shape in my head, and I must have it brought to life or I will die.
For our Marrakech trip, this vision was me in a beautiful, romantic summer maxi or midi dress, boho-style, wafting around my silhouette as Stag and I traversed the hot Marrakech streets. I just wanted to feel beautiful: not cool, not street-style, not ‘Scandi chic’ or whatever else I normally cling to. But beautiful.
Stag — being Unofficial Husband Of The Year — comforted me many times. “You look beautiful, always.” And, more than once as I dragged him out to Oxford Street on a Saturday: “You really don’t need a dress to be beautiful.” I think that last one was more to get me to give up The Quest.
You can tell where this is going…
5 months I looked. FIVE! Okay, I’ll admit I did, you know, see people and do hobbies and work and things during those five months. But still. Five months of finding nothing but over-priced polyester garbage, all geared towards fast-fashion buys to be thrown away once summer fades. And, of course, anything I remotely liked cost £300+ — something I just can’t afford on a blogger’s (nonexistent) salary.
Two days before we left for Marrakech — when I had at last given up all hope, concluding that I’d just wear one outfit for the duration of our trip — I stepped into H&M. Not to look for a dress, actually, but because the bus was taking ages and I was bored. I have mostly reigned in my high-street shopping habit in favour of more lasting, quality pieces, so I wasn’t planning on buying anything really.
And there it was.
Floaty, romantic and soft, reminiscent of a 1950’s style icon. But with lemons. A few weeks prior, I had seen the forever-feminine Julia Engel of Gal Meets Glam wear a lemon print dress, and surprising myself, I didn’t hate it. I normally shun all kitschy and summery prints in favour of plain classics. But something about that lemon print dress just looked — beautiful.
And here was my own version of it. I tried it on and — as I knew it would — it fit, like so many dresses before had not. Although it felt like my Dress Quest had come to an end, I left the shop dismayed by the £40 price tag and the nearly 100% scratchy, synthetic material.
Maybe I’m just too picky when it comes to clothing — like the grandpa lamenting about the days when a house only cost $1. But I genuinely feel as though clothing prices are coming up in line with quality going down.
That’s a rant for another time and another day. For now, enjoy these Alice-in-Wonderland-esque pictures of me frolicking around Hotel Capaldi in a lemon print dress. One that filled my vision and made me feel that elusive feeling: beautiful.