Is this dress sexist?
That was the question splashed across headlines on news sites, fashion platforms, and social media about Realisation Par's Diane Dress. After been spotted worn by every It-girl, model, and super blogger from here to LA and back again twice over, you can't deny its status as dress of the moment, so it was only a matter of time before it gathered enough traction to the site, where the 'story' of the dress goes a little like this:
Here’s what we know. Men love sundresses. We also know this point is actually pointless because we women dress for ourselves and ourselves only. But sometimes…. just sometimes you need a get-out-of-jail-free card. Maybe you forgot to take the trash out or you scratched your dads car or maybe you were really late and you forgot do the one thing they asked you to do. Whatever the reason, The Diane dress is the solution. This is the dress that makes them forget why they were even mad at you in the first place and the only thing that really matters is: If you’re bad at being good, you better be damn good at getting out of it. Trust us. You’re welcome.
Yeah. It's easy to see why it caused a little rift. It does use a ditzy, oopsy, silly-me-stereotype to sell a pretty piece of silk. It's dumb and hypersexualised. And the weird reference mentioning dads? That made me feel a little uncomfortable too. Kat George wrote a scathing piece about the Diane Dress, calling it out for whittling our female power into "a shape that's less threatening to, and more acceptable for, masculinity". And every time we buy a Diane dress, or something similar, we're complicit in losing our power as women. Yikes.
I'm the first person to say I'm a feminist, but I'm here to argue in defence of the dress. Take away the story of this dress and what are you left with? A pretty piece of silk, spangled in stars. I've always said fashion and our sartorial choices should be about how you feel: empowering, giving confidence, and allowing you to be the best possible version of yourself, and the thing about this dress is that it's universally flattering, absolutely timeless, and fits like a total dream. It's the kind of piece that would look incredible on a 6ft tall, slim model-esque woman, and look equally as stunning on someone petite with a much curvier frame thanks to it's wrap style and cinched waist. Trends don't affect this dress, you'll pull it out season on season and it'll still radiate that retro flair that never falls out of favour.
So yes, Realisation Par have come across stupid selling this dress on the effect it has on men. What they really should have done is sell it on the effect it would have on the woman wearing it - making her feel confident, powerful, sassy - whatever or however she wants to feel.
So if you like feeling good - because trust me, it's impossible not to feel good in a dress like this - here's an edit of some more affordable and similar styles.