“my dress ain’t cost nothing but seven dollars, but I made it fly” –Erykah Badu
Cheap dresses set me free from myself after high school. It was a time when I didn’t know if I looked good or not, who I was, or where I was heading. I didn’t really know anything, besides the fact that I wanted to dress well.
I was into jeans for so long. Then cheap dresses at forever 21 and shit start twinkling in the distance. That turns into skirts and shirts and pants (not jeans) and stockings and everything. Cheap one-time dresses were the start to a complete overhaul.
The best thing about them is that if you’re getting the right kind, they can mix right into everything else you put with it. This is especially because dresses, unlike skirts which are much easier to formally mix around, really need to be set into a slow rotation (you can’t just go around in the same dress all the time).
I have this one dress that I paid maybe $20 for at least five years ago. Maybe more. It’s a basic grey midi dress. One time I wore it to a bar in Jersey City and met a guy from Love and Hip Hop. He was taking pics with people but making eyes at me sipping a straw. Just waiting for me to step away from the guy I was standing with.
Next time I wore it was for my fuckin baby shower. I don’t know why I wore it there beyond the fact that it was hot ass hell that day. I knew I was saying good-bye to the dress. It’s well made, but I didn’t think it was going to bounce back into shape. It was $20, so I figured I could just get another one like this someday.
Turned out that it did bounce right back. I wore it last summer with some low top chucks walking around the block with my son one morning. It was summer again. This guy looked at me and just as he’s about to pass me he was like “you look good” in a way that really said I didn’t want to say shit but ok.
That dress is still hanging up too. As long as you practice variety in time/place, cheap dresses can stay alive.