After my interview with the New York Post on Thursday about what makes me the most desirable single in the city (Disclaimer: I still have no idea!), the reporter sent me an email about the photo shoot.
Now, I’ve had photo shoots before (thanks to many photographer friends in college) but the idea of having my photo taken for all of the five boroughs to see with a headline about being the most eligible single – that just felt like a whole lot of pressure I wasn’t quite ready for.
Or rather, my closet wasn’t prepared to handle.
Quickly, I texted my friend E, who is a sassy, talented designer for a small label that sells to big labels, like Anthropologie, begging for her expert advice. We met post-work and scoured the racks of H&M, then the sale section of Bebe and just as we were about to brave the mayhem of the Times Square Forever 21, we stumbled across Cache – a store I haven’t been in since my pageant days in the deep South.
And there it was: the red dress.
E and I both spotted it instantly and I hesitantly looked at the tag, hoping and praying it’d be under $50 and thus, on budget. When the numbers almost quadrupled that, I sighed and reminded myself there was always the wear-once with the tags and return option, should the dress be exactly what I was looking for and I couldn’t resist.
And it was exactly what I was looking for: it hugged in all of the right places, showed a little skin but not too much, a sexy back opening, past my knees and looked great in heels. As I stood in front of the mirror in the terribly hot dressing room while E took a picture to see how it would look in print, my anxiety started to build.
I knew I needed to save money for Europe and watch my spending before I leave. I knew I was making every effort to spend as little as I could during the week so I could splurge on the weekend. I knew there were so many more responsible, reasonable things I could buy with nearly $200 but if there was ever a dress that was made for me, this was it.
Forget a little black dress -I rarely wear one. My color has always been (and let’s be honest, will probably always be) red. I handed over my card, caught my breath and vowed that I wouldn’t keep it – I’d just wear it for this special shoot and I’d always have a newspaper page to remember it by.
Or, so I thought.
When I walked out of the studio to show the photographer my selection, she said two words: “Wow. Perfect.” And as I stood in front of many bright lights in six-inch heels, sucking in what I could, standing up straight, trying to hold Lucy so she faced the camera, smile and pop my foot all at the same time – I did feel rather gorgeous. (And a little uncoordinated.)
I could hardly sleep Saturday night, anticipating the arrival of my first big feature in a daily paper, wondering what the article would say and what I would look like. I raced at 8 a.m. on Sunday, unable to sleep a wink more to the newsstand a few blocks down. When I saw it, I couldn’t help but jump up and down in the street and buy 10 copies, excitedly showing the not-English-speaking vendor my photo.
After updating every social platform I could, I went back to the red dress, hanging up with pride in the front of my closet, the tags still on, the receipt hanging from my bulletin board. And even though I probably can’t afford it – I decided to keep it. Off with the tags and goodbye to my proof of purchase – I wanted this beauty as a staple.
Because everyone needs a little red dress.
Or a little yellow one or blue one. A little something to make them feel a little (or maybe a lot) good about themselves. Besides – red is a great dress to wear on my next great first date…
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