The dress that changed my life

At some point in the last few months, my style has changed dramatically. For a while I was contributing this shift to a pair of $6 leggings I bought at Target, crediting them with giving me the ability to wear a pair of slouchy black boots with a dress to work. Not too keen on the idea of freezing to death when the temperatures dropped, leggings opened up a new world to me: the world of wearing skirts. In winter!

What I failed to realize? I never would have bought the leggings — or the skirts, or the dresses — without having first purchased The Dress.

The Dress is a deep pink color cut just above the knee, cinched at the waist with a matching fabric belt. It’s a classic silhouette that hugs my curves just enough to be flattering — but not enough to hug some, ahem, areas I would rather not be hugged. Y’all know what I’m saying.

After undergoing a period of intense emotional change and losing a bit of weight, I was feeling ready to embrace something new and different in my life. I wanted new clothes! A new attitude! A new me!

And I got it. Walking around H&M in Annapolis with my mother, I came across The Dress on a random rack, tried it on and, a mere $30 later, took that baby home with me. It wasn’t something I would have normally chosen for myself, which is exactly why I bought it. After years of steadfastly refusing to wear anything exposing my legs, I was ready to let all of that go.

The first day I wore it to the office, I created a bit of a stir. Gone were my baggy, frayed black dress pants — the ones I purchased right after college in an effort to establish my “career wardrobe.” (Some of my fashion choices from that era, just a few years back, still haunt me.) In a dress — and a dress that showed off my figure — I earned appreciative looks from friends and coworkers, gathering up their compliments like sprinkles on cupcakes.

Wearing The Dress to work — where attire is pretty business casual — gave me a super confidence boost. And whenever I want to feel cute, sassy but professional, I throw on this lil’ number with black flats, a chunky black necklace and get ready to take on the world. I love it so much, I’m even wearing it in my column photo at the paper! Basically, it’s my Power Dress.

Do you have a Power Outfit — a certain article of clothing that makes you feel so good every time you wear it? I’ll cull any ideas for a back-up. You know, just in case The Dress ever lets me down. (Right. Like that could happen.)