The red dress.

I remember the first time I saw the red dress. It was January 2008. I was planning to attend a masquerade ball to celebrate my birthday, and I needed a formal dress for the event. It was a Friday evening, and I went shopping with friends to find a dress.

I went store to store, trying on dress after dress. There were white, blue, black and many other colors. Too tight, too big, too low, too bright, too dark or too short. It was frustrating. I wanted to feel fierce. I wanted to feel amazing. I wanted to feel confident.

But after hour after hour, dress after dress, my hope was dwindling. I was worn out and wanted to go home.

My friends saw the distressed look on my face. After a pep talk and some encouraging words, I walked into Dillard’s with a new determination to find that perfect dress.

After walking around the store, browsing and looking at all it had to offer, I saw it there hanging on the rack. It was red, sparkly and beautiful. I picked it up with a few others, just in case. It was the first dress I tried on, and I knew it was the one I was looking for. As I swished and pranced around the dressing room, my friends could see the happiness on my face, and they knew, too.

I felt fierce. I felt amazing. I felt confident.

The red dress effect.

The night of the masquerade ball, I got my hair and make-up done, I slid my red dress on and I felt like a million dollars. I walked into that ballroom and felt the entire crowd’s eyes on me. I was more confident, more vibrant and more spectacular than I had ever felt before.

The next day I put my red dress away for the next event I would wear it to, but something had changed inside of me. I felt a little more confident, I held my head a little higher and I smiled a little brighter. I felt better about myself.

Going beyond the red dress.

Designer Coco Chanel said, “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” The red dress was not just a formal garment to wear to a masquerade ball: it became so much more. That night was a turning point in my life; the way I lived, my ideas and my confidence changed. I learned to embrace myself for who I was and for my hopes for the future. I had more confidence in my ideas and in myself. From the time I first tried it on to the person I am today, the red dress helped build my confidence and allowed me to express my life and who I am.

Find your own red dress.

Fashion is an expression of who you are. Colors, shapes and styles help you define yourself. Some individuals prefer T-shirts and jeans, others prefer slacks and dress shirts — and others prefer a red dress. Find an outfit that exclaims who you are, makes you feel confident, makes you feel fierce and makes you feel beautiful — inside and out. Now go find your red dress!