IT was vintage, the dress that should have been mine.
A bright canary yellow as glorious as the sunshine it shone in, when it caught my eye.
Short, with layers upon layers of delicate fringing, it winked at me as I walked past it hanging from a shop door way and said: “I am yours. Come and buy me.”
And I nodded and whispered back, “I will later, I promise.”
And I meant it too.
I did go back to the tiny vintage shop in Manchester, fully determined to walk away with the sexy, sassy showstopper. The party frock of my dreams.
With a spring in my step, I was so excited at the thought of wearing it on those hot magical kind of summer nights, dancing the hours away.
But I was too late.
For when I returned, it had gone.
Clearly the dress had spoken to someone else. And clearly that someone else had loved it just as much as me.
Only they’d not risked losing such a fine frock.
That lucky person had recognised a winning dress when they saw one and snapped it up ASAP. A wise investment indeed.
I didn’t weep but oh my, I could have.
The year was 1998.
I was 18 at the time, at college studying A-levels and had popped into ‘town’ (as us local people called the city), for a spot of lunch with my best friend, when it stopped me in my tracks.
As it dazzled on its hanger in the sunshine, my heart did that little leap they all do, when a heart recognises something magnificent, something beautiful, something that is utterly and totally you.
Instantly on first glance, it was love.
But the bar was calling, and my friend and I were famished, so I trotted past. A decision I have since regretted. A decision I wish I had never taken.
Because that stunning yellow fringed dress has haunted me to this very day. In fact, if I close my eyes, I can still see it hanging there in all of its glory, as if it was yesterday.
Seventeen years on, I still can’t help but look out for it (or something similar) every time I visit a vintage shop.
Seventeen years on, I still can’t help but be drawn to yellow frocks, even though none of them ever quite match up. (How could they?!)
And I often wonder.
What kind of adventures could I have had with that yellow dress, if I had bought it, as my heart told me I should have? Which places might I have visited? Which people would I have met?
Would I have danced a salsa on a beach? Would I be married to a different man? Would I still look at it in my wardrobe and gaze at it with fond eyes?
I will never know of course. And although it does haunt me, perhaps the memory of the yellow fringed dress, is just enough.
Perhaps I’d have bought it and it would have looked awful on my body? Perhaps I’d have felt foolish or silly wearing it?
Perhaps. Perhaps. Perhaps.
I tell myself these things yet in my heart, I know that I don’t mean them. Because my gut tells me otherwise.
Because my gut tells tells me, that together, me and that gorgeous yellow dress, would have had such a wonderful time.
Alas, it was not meant to be.
But if you ever come across such a dress or spot a woman in one, on your travels, I hope you’ll think of me and stop to admire it’s beauty.
And if you ever come across such a dress that makes you feel light with utter joy, I hope you’ll learn from my mistake and buy it without any hesitation.
Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned from my disappointing tale, it is this:
When you do spot a dress dazzling in the sunshine and it speaks to you, you really must stop and buy it.
Because unforgettable dresses will always be unforgettable. Whether they hang in your wardrobe or not.