What Makes the Perfect Birthday Dress?

What Makes the Perfect Birthday Dress?

What Makes the Perfect Birthday Dress?

Every year, when the calendar flips over, a new anxiety about fashion assails me: it’s time to choose my outfit for my birthday. While my personal style is a revolving door of neutral colors, oversized blazers and wide leg pants, birthday outfits always force me to tap into my inner child’s fashion fantasies, replacing everyone’s bland color palette of my life. the days with bows, rhinestones, pastel colors, and voluminous shapes that scream: “Hi, I’m the birthday girl”.

As pop culture shows, I’m not alone. From Paris Hilton’s 21st birthday look – a metallic cowl neck mini dress – to Kendall Jenner’s replica many years later, birthday dresses give people the space to play with the more exuberant parts of their personality. After all, it’s the only time a year where being the center of attention is, well, the focus.

“The birthday girl or boy has to shine,” says fashion designer Jazmine Motley-Maddox. “They have to be the center of attention because it is their day.”

When Motley-Maddox recently found herself looking for birthday outfits, she considered a few sources, including a local vintage shop, websites and IRL retailers. “I always want to have options,” she says. “I might wake up the same day and not want to wear what I chose.” This year, her options included a silver Dolce & Gabbana dress, a bustier Bottega Veneta look, and a pair of Kimberly Goldson metallic orange shorts that she plans to pair with a bolero. According to Motley-Maddox, they are all variations of her personal style, with a festive touch that matches the theme of her celebration. “I want to feel comfortable and I always want to look like myself,” she says.

Writer Amanda Randone is also familiar with this process. In fact, she says her favorite part of getting older is choosing what to wear. This year, for her 30th birthday, Randone threw the entire party to match her outfit: a sequin set by Stine Goya that she first saw during Paris fashion week. last September. Even when lockdown restrictions were in place, Randone says she centered her quarantined birthday parties around her dress: a long-sleeved high-necked yellow dress from Solace London, which she shared on Instagram with the caption: ” The key to a great birthday block? A beautiful dress “.

For both Motley-Maddox and Randone, the formula for a good birthday outfit comes down to a perfect mix of comfort and brilliance. “As long as you’re comfortable, you wear that smile and you’re radiating and you just love what you’re wearing, I think it’s a great time,” says Motley-Maddox.

Pop culture representations of the perfect birthday look match that line of thinking. While Hilton’s 21st birthday look funneled a disco ball through a plunging cowl neckline mini dress, it was still a simple, slip-like silhouette. Jennifer Lopez chose a monochromatic red suit with strapless top and mini skirt for her 30th birthday that was equally casual and glamorous, while Beyoncé opted for a simple tank top and denim mini skirt for her 20th birthday party her. In entertainment, the pattern persists: On Gossip Girl, Blair Waldorf’s multiple birthday dresses, including a black Valentino tutu dress for season 1 and a scarlet J. Mendel dress for season 4, are elevated versions of his on-screen style. Carrie Bradshaw sports a red crop top and skirt suit with a velvet sash for her 36th birthday in Season 2 of Sex and citywhich reflects her talent for simple yet chic dresses that always carry an element outside the box (like the headband).

Over time, retailers have learned to take advantage of people’s hunt for the perfect birthday outfit. Many websites including Pretty Little Thing and Princess Polly now incorporate birthday categories into their selections, often with shimmering, voluminous, or skin-bare dresses and ensembles. “We believe finding the right dress means showing off your personal style and making a statement on your special day,” says Princess Polly’s trend director Leigh Chesterman. “The section is truly a one-stop shop, designed not only to excite our customers, but also to inspire and help them curate the looks from head to toe for any type of birthday party.” Pretty Little Thing has also created a birthday section, which according to Chris Parnell, the company’s head of design, specifically targets customers looking for something to wear on their 21st birthday. For both sites, the initiative to create a targeted birthday space sprang from a notable increase in searches for these types of clothes, which, on Google Trends, reflect an increase since pandemic restrictions were lifted.

Just like the celebration itself, dressing up for one’s birthday seems to be an exercise in flexing the muscles of our identity, trying to reflect who we have become in an outfit that will last a lifetime in photos and memories. This year, for my 28th birthday, I opted for a voluminous pink short dress with black velvet straps that featured bows and rhinestones by Dream Sister Jane, a suitable choice to hug my inner child when I am nearly 30 years old. Until next year …

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