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  • Writer's pictureAnna Fenn

The good times are now

Save that dress for a special occasion!

Have you ever felt the need to mind your best clothes? Only to take them out for special occasions and keep them locked away until then. While this sentiment may have emerged with the best of intentions, I can't help but wonder if this wisdom has stopped us from being more creative in our choice of clothing.

It's been a weird year that has cemented the irrefutable idea that we can't know or control the future. We had no idea that our social lives would be cancelled. Physical connection banned indefinitely (cheers, Covid!) as we enter a brave, if not isolating, world of virtual communication.

Despite all this, I recently celebrated my birthday. I use the word celebrated deliberately as I really wanted to mark the occasion this year. Last year went by in an unconscious blur. Even though I couldn't see my friends and extended family in person, I was determined that wouldn't be a reason not to throw a party. Anyone who knows me will know I love any old reason to dress up! ( Forever a theatre kid!)


Above is this year, but below you'll also see a throwback to the first appearance of this dress in 2011 - a little under 10 years ago for my school grads.


I had been panicking at the time, looking in shops across the city but couldn't find a dress that felt right. This beauty was found in a vintage shop in West Cork. It's only had a few outings since then but still holds a valued place in my wardrobe nonetheless.

Wait! I know what you're going to say...

Anna, aren't you a Marie Kondo Consultant? Don't you, like, live and breathe, giving things away?

Excellent point! However, I've learned over the years that decluttering is not about how much stuff you let go of. The real magic lies in the treasures you decide to keep.

I'm sure many treasured outfits have come to mind for you. Well, this dress is like that for me, and I hope it has many more casual occasions to be worn instead of solely as my "Sunday best". We don't know what's around the corner next, and life is too short (and currently too restricted) not to find joy in all that we wear.

Bringing an old favourite out of the closet has made me think about our choices in the global scheme of things. For instance, actress Jane Fonda was celebrated for re-wearing her Cannes dress at the Oscars last year, A bold move that sent out a strong statement about re-wearing what you already own. She has been hailed for her environmental activism in this stance by making it fashionable for celebrities to re-wear clothes- an essential step in protecting our planet's resources and garment workers from the damaging effects of the Fast Fashion Industry. If we all take a leaf out of her book and see what pieces we can borrow or re-wear before buying something new, the planet will be under less strain.

So, even though I didn't go to a fancy bar or restaurant, I still felt pretty excited about wearing my fancy gúna (dress for the non-Irish folk) for a 1920s evening of Zoom Murder Mystery fun with friends. Was it the same as meeting in person? No, of course not. But did we have fun? Absolutely. It's amazing how important anticipation is in our lives and that we feel that sense of lack without it.

Our lives are punctuated with meaningful occasions. When reflecting on a year, you don't tend to count the trips to the supermarket or value the early nights in bed but reflect on the fun and laughter had with those closest to you.

So many of those moments have been denied to us this year, and for that reason, I've had enough. I'm not going to wait for the good times to come but re-invent my own ones now.

Who's with me?

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