My confidence revolves around my outfit and my style. If I look good, I feel good. If I look expensive, I feel expensive. What I'm wearing doesn't even have to be super expensive; it can be $10 from an Instagram thrift store, or it could be something I've stashed away my job money to save up for.
As we move into a new year, gearing up for the world to almost go back to normal in the wake of the incoming vaccine, I decided that 2021 would be the year to truly expand my wardrobe and find an aesthetic that I felt was a timeless version of my own style.
I've deemed this style the style of a “dreamgirl.”
So, What is a Dreamgirl?
I'm not talking about a “dream girl” in the context of a significant other, but rather in the vision of yourself. To me, a dreamgirl is the embodiment of feminine. Confident and timeless, a “dreamgirl” energy radiates sophistication.
A dreamgirl knows what she wants, and goes for it.
I love the recent revival of old, dainty European aesthetics, spearheaded by influencers like Mina Marlena and Sophie Suchan. I think that it offers up a unique form of confidence in your style. These are some brands I've been looking towards to create that energy; and fair warning, the sale section is 100% your friend here. It's been mine.
Founded by Alexandra Spencer and Teale Talbot in 2015, Réalisation Par is a brand that refers to its customers as “Dreamgirls.” The exclusive, online only collection is flowy, floral, and irrevocably fashionable.
What's unique about Réalisation Par is that it isn't a passing fad; the brand has steadily been releasing different versions of the same pieces since being founded, but it hasn't lost traction amongst high profile celebrities and even the public. They have everything, from tight-busted maxi dresses, to baby tees, short silk slips. Vogue even named their pieces the “Dresses of the Decade.”
Their collaboration with Elton John, with 5% of proceeds going to the Elton John charity, became a huge branding success.
The patterned pieces are made out of a soft silk blend, perfect for anything from a summer day to a slightly chilly beach-winter night. Their pieces have been seen on TV in Euphoria, and on many popular influencers and celebrities like Kaia Gerber and Hailey Baldwin Bieber.
The womanswear brand founded in 2013 has since seen huge commercial success, and through a series of collaborations in 2019 and 2020 with brands like Target and Superga, the label has established itself in the fashion scene as a unique kind of ethereal. LoveShackFancy is inspired by romantic New York vintage, drawing from the founder's own style.
Gingham dresses, pastels, and lace dominate their collections; some of their pieces, like the tiered Gwen Dress are more iconic and versatile, while the silhouettes of long silk slips and intricate tulles offer up another aesthetic entirely.
For Love and Lemons is one of those brands that is so impeccably and just-right feminine that makes you want to frolick through a meadow and simultaneously feel super confident. The brand has product lines that range from light, ditsy, floral-printed dresses to gorgeously-sophisticated lace bustiers. After a collaboration with Victoria's Secret and a foray into athleisure with a pastel-floral line, the brand made themselves increasingly prominent in an industry they were already pretty successful in.
Pieces like the Carissa Midi Dress are feminine with an edge, whereas this lace bustier is much more timeless. The Los Angeles-based brand also recently ramped up their promise to sustainability and the maintenance of worker privilege, and with a new line entirely made out of recycled fabric, For Love and Lemons is the ultimate dream-girl brand.
Sabo Skirt is arguably one of the more affordable options on this list, but they use many of the same aesthetics as other brands featured. Sabo was founded in 2011 by Brisbane-based best friends Thessy and Yiota, and after a few years of being a small fashion-blog and vintage-reseller, Sabo Skirt shifted to becoming a social media phenomenon rooted in the dreamgirl aesthetic. Their pieces have the same lace and pastel base as skirts from LoveShackFancy, but at a significantly lower price point.
Sabo's also been super open about their sustainability journey and their charity. Their exclusive collections are all designed and produced in Australia, and their headquarters is powered entirely by solar power! All of their packaging is also biodegradable, and they ensure customers that they're working to ensure that conditions in their production facilities are good for workers.
There's also something for any event! The Rae Dress is perfect for a beachside brunch, and the Rouge Slip Maxi is perfect for a Prom or formal event. Their matching top-and-skirt sets, like the Riviera Set, give off the same energy without sacrificing comfort. If you're looking for something a little less formal for a day in, they also have lounge sets and simple basics to wear all the time.
Vintage & Thrift
Obviously, this aesthetic is rooted in a style that's been around for a while, and many of these brands are inspired by vintage and thrifted pieces. If your bank account can't take the hit, no worries! You can find pieces like these in almost any thrift store, online or in person.
Platforms like Etsy and Instagram are dripping in brands entirely based in resale, which means you can definitely find a lot of these pieces for cheaper. Na Nin Vintage, an instagram-based resale site, sells sophisticated and simple pieces at a $20-$50 price point. Awoke Vintage Brooklyn, a brick-and-mortar store in New York but now selling on instagram, also has unique pieces at a lower price point. You can find old corsets, maxi dresses, and many in-style pieces in places like Goodwill, Plato's Closet, and smaller local stores!
Also, resale sites like Depop are covered in pieces from these brands on super-discount, so definitely look around there.
The Aura of a Dreamgirl
Obviously, no matter what clothes you have on, the aura and energy is what truly makes a dreamgirl. Epitomized by confidence, the dreamgirl aesthetic functions on self-love and self-worth. Maintaining that energy is key to rocking this aesthetic and, in all honesty, if you vibe more with the House of Sunny fur coats, or the OMIGHTY graphic-baby-tee-with-jeans, you just need the confidence and you've already got it down-pat.