Gemma Cartwright writes…
It was love at first sight.
Last Spring, Marks & Spencer released a ‘modern reinterpretation’ of a vintage frock that seemed to come straight out of my dreams. It was a grey tea dress with cream polka dots and a fan detail on the shoulder (very Phillip Lim). It was chic, simple and fitted perfectly. It was £55, limited edition, and I managed to grab one of the last ones in the country in my size.
Then Myleene Klass wore it. This tainted it a bit for me, because she is much thinner and seemed to be able to wear them damn thing without it creasing, but I still loved the dress and I still loved wearing it even if I couldn’t pull it off with quite such photogenicity as Myleene.
Then Samantha Cameron happened.
A few weeks ago, the wife of the Conservative leader suddenly appeared at a high-profile event in my dress. Except it wasn’t my dress. My dress had sold out months ago. Her version was custom-made at Stuart Rose’s command, was rumoured to have cost over £100 to produce, and had everyone wondering if it wasn’t a bit naughty that she got special treatment just because she’s married to the leader of the opposition.
It felt like every single newspaper ran the story. For about a week you couldn’t open a paper without seeing that bloody dress. It’s now the TORYDRESSFROMHELL. If I wear my frock now, I might as well ram a big blue rosette on my chest and be done with it. My political views don’t lean strongly enough in any one direction for me to want them emblazoned on my chest for the whole world to see. Unfortunately, that dress has become a symbol for how the Torys are Just Like Us and Shop On The High Street Too.
The dress went down so well with the public that M&S have now released a new version, in a black and white print (with the unflattering white bit right around the middle which we really want to divert attention away from) for £45. I won’t be buying it. In fact, I think it’s time I went back to Primark…surely Samantha won’t shop there?[Read more from Gemma at the fabulous Big Girls Browse]