Girls in Pretty Dresses

Well, everyone, the season is upon us. You know what season I’m talking about, not the holiday season, awards season. That’s right – we are smack in the middle of the absolutely best time of year to be a girly girl. Over the next few weeks there are more designer dresses coming at you than New York Fashion Week (well, probably not, but I’ve never been to Fashion week, so I wouldn’t actually know). The point is, all these naturally attractive people in Hollywood are getting together and patting each other on the back for the hard work they’ve done over the past year – and they sure know how to look good when they do.

J. Law at the SAG Awards (from

I love awards season – for several reasons, the least of which is not all the gambling that goes on in my extended family – but certainly one of the best parts is all the dresses. I remember being a younger girl and rushing out to get the issues of People magazine and In Style to see all the dresses over and over again. I love looking at the ruffles, the lace, the glitter, the daring necklines (and hemlines) – the dresses with interesting angles, structure and fabric that you just don’t get at Macy’s. I used to go through with my best friend Kate and we would circle all the dresses we would wear and X out the ones we wouldn’t. It’s all about the details and the elements that go into making these women look so incredible.

Really, it’s wishfillment at its best and we get this from the books we know and love too. It’s a great moment when your down-on-her-luck, underdog protagonist gets invited to the ball and surprisingly the perfect dress turns up at the eleventh hour to save the day. Of course, the girl looks stunningly beautiful and the boy of her dreams can’t look away and they fall in love (either easily at that moment, or over a tumultuous adventure that ensues). It’s the classic Cinderella story and I would venture to say we all (or at least a lot of us) have had a moment where we thought “Gosh, I wish this was my Cinderella moment” (I certainly thought it before my junior prom. As it turns out, that was not my Cinderella moment.)

I’m even a huge fan of what I will call the un-Cinderella moment. Where the girl inexplicably is unable to attend the ball, but the boy (being astute and charming) swoops in and sweeps her off her feet so they don’t even have to go to the ball. Saved By the Bell did this so well, when Kelly sadly could not attend prom (her dad lost his job and tickets and a dress were too expensive). So Zach had a picnic for her outside the school and they slow danced their way into our hearts forever. (For the record, junior prom was not my un-Cinderella moment either).

Just a regular day on Revenge (from

And sometimes no reason for dressing up in necessary, we just want to get dressed up in a pretty dress and be appreciated. I feel like Gossip Girl (the TV show) really understood this and Revenge has gladly taken the helm, both shows offer a “convenient event of the week” that requires these lovely actresses to get dressed up in (let’s be honest) some pretty insane dresses. The thing that all these moments have in common is that there is almost always a handsome gentleman waiting in the wings looking good (boys of course have the benefit of being swoonworthy in a tux or having snuck into the ball in a well-fitting t-shirt and jeans). It’s easy to imagine feeling beautiful in those dresses and easy to imagine a boy seeing how beautiful you are (inside and out, of course).

So whatever the reason is for the girls in pretty dresses, the Oscars, Prom, the Ball of the Century, sit back and enjoy it (or enjoy writing it). There is no shortage of these moments in literature, movies and TV – and whether you’re trying to write a ball into your story, or you’re just enjoying it – don’t skip over the details. Really it’s about all the details of the dress, the fabric, the cut, the color, the way it flatters the lady in just the right way (compliments her eyes, accents her lovely neck, perfectly reveals her hair – whatever it may be) so we can imagine how it would complement us in just the right way as well.

Do you have a particularly favorite Ball-gown moment? Who are you watching this awards season for their dresses? Sound off below!

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Claire T.

When I was little I used to carry one of the Baby Sitter Club books with me wherever I went. …

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