My Dream Dress & How I Found My Personal Style

10 April 2018

When I was the ripe old age of fifteen, a film came out that, unknowingly, would change my life forever. Okay, maybe that's a little bit dramatic, but when people ask me what inspired my personal sense of style, I always come back to (500) Days of Summer. Sure, I've been wearing vintage and had a fringe since I was a kid, but something about every single outfit in this film triggered a spark in me that I've only felt a few times in my life. 

Slowly emerging from my emo/scene phase and developing into a "proper young lady" (a term I use very, very loosely, because of it's sexist undertones), I lacked a sense of identity. I didn't associate myself with the raccoon eyeliner, flat teased hair, and unexpected mixture of black and neon colours any longer. I knew I didn't feel myself dressing like that anymore (although, on occasion, I still do, in a much more wearable sense), but I wasn't sure in what style I could. 

Growing up, I loved wearing vintage, but at the time, and most likely my age group, it was seen as weird and sometimes even gross (why wear old, worn clothes when you could wear brand new pieces?).  It was at that moment I stumbled into the soon-to-be-closing Blockbuster Video where they were selling rental DVD's at a discounted price. I grabbed a couple that I hadn't seen, but was interested in, including Away We Go, starring the addictivly sexy John Krasinski, and then I found it. A Blockbuster Video exclusive edition of (500) Days of Summer. I quickly grabbed it and clenched it tightly to my chest, as if I'd struck gold. Little did I know, I found something so much more valuable than gold.

Upon the opening credits, I was already hooked, from the music (shoutout to Regina Spektor!), to the sweet side by side home videos. But it wasn't until we are introduced to the film's unattainable love interest, Summer, played by Zooey Deschanel, that I was struck by a sensation of lust. This lust was not necessarily for Zooey, although she is beautiful, we are too similar, so that would be a whole new level of narcisism. No, this lust was for her outfits, and that's when it all hit me. "This," I said to myself, "This is what I've been searching for!" I eventually made a list of all of the items she wore so I could recreate the outfits myself, shopping only at thrift stores and Ross. 

But there was one outfit in particular, the one that I desired the most, that I just couldn't seem to find. It was, of course, the infamous IKEA scene dress. The dress was, naturally, vintage, and rented from a costume rental service, so there was no way of obtaining the real thing myself. I spent the better part of 8 years searching for something even remotely similar, just a simple vintage baby blue shirtdress. It didn't seem like it would be that difficult to find, right? I searched every thrift store, vintage shop, and Etsy listing I could find, and still nothing.


Then came Summer 2017, which was right in the middle of the year of family weddings. I was desperately seeking a last minute dress to wear all around Haight-Ashbury with my sister-in-law's family when we reluctantly entered Decades of Fashion, an incredible vintage shoppe where each piece is organised by decade. Although I love this place, the prices were a bit high for my taste. Not only was I able to find the perfect vintage frock suitable for the wedding, but I also came across what I've been looking for over the past eight years... my dream dress!

At a $50 sale price and a fit that was practically made for my body, I swiped the dress off the rack so quickly that all I can remember is it always being in my hands. I could barely believe that I finally found what I had been looking for. I've now had it for nearly a year, and each time I wear it, without fail, I am complimented by so many people. 

Do you have a film or television series that sparked the inspiration that devleoped your personal style? If you could steal any fictional character's wardrobe, whose would it be? Let me know in the comments! Meanwhile, I'll be taking a trip to IKEA!

x, Sarah

  • dress, bag, and heels: vintage

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