I Was Bored With the 2024 Met Gala, So I Dressed Myself

Over the last two and a half years, I've had no inspiration. Blame it on the pandemic, a work-life imbalance, or the doldrums of adulting, but whatever the reason (or excuse), I've severely lacked creative output and failed to dream up new ideas that put pen to paper. Days became so stagnant, and when anything sparked my imagination, it immediately fizzled out with the corresponding questions: "Do I really care? Would anyone else care?"

Those thoughts are now put to rest.

Each year since 2015, I've loyally followed the Met Gala and enjoyed the attendees' interpretations of each Costume Institute theme, especially those of "China: Through the Looking Glass", "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination", and "Camp: Notes on Fashion". The level of ingenuity seemed to wane in the following years with the more vague "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" and "In America: An Anthology of Fashion", as well as the basic "Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty". So when the theme of "Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion" was announced, visions of sugarplums danced in my head.

Between the obvious concept of Sleeping Beauty--a princess reawakened from a death-like slumber--and "The Garden of Time" dress code--stemming from a tale of aristocracy grasping at riches and beauty in the face of time and destruction--there should have been plenty of opportunities that allowed fashion and storytelling to blend into art we can appreciate before it's gone from public view. And if we're lucky, history will repeat itself, and we can commemorate these notions again in the future.

There were some showstopping pieces, which include both of Zendaya's John Galliano designs, Alia Bhatt's gorgeous saree, and Quannah Chasinghorse's pretty pastel confection. Simply put, the unique colors, craftsmanship, styling, and details of each look instantly told a story, captured my attention, and set the standard of the night.

But stagnation unfortunately followed closely behind. The same array of muted tones, round sequins, and overhyped socialites that I've seen again and again for far too long rotated on my television and laptop screens like a revolving door.

I've had enough. It was time to bring back the fashion that once upon a time offered me meaning and life.

Since I was a little girl, I've always adored the fashions of Barbie, which recently enjoyed a resurgence with Greta Gerwig's 2023 film. Among Barbie's memorable looks is the 1963 Sophisticated Lady: a lovely pink gown/red coat combination complete with white gloves, a pearl necklace, and a delicate tiara. Such an ensemble would rarely see the light of day in this age, which I believe is truly a shame. Why not bring it back, if only for a moment, if I had the ability to do so?

We as a society have a bad habit of discarding clothing after limited use. Specific examples outside of fast trends include concert outfits, Halloween costumes, and wedding gowns, which are often bought and worn only once before disappearing into the unknown. Another example is the prom dress, which typically highlights the pinnacle of a teenager's high school experience as well as their personality. My senior prom dress, hanging inside a garment bag since 2012, was a pink chiffon gown with sparkling crystals that once perfectly suited my girly, romantic persona.

After digging out a red Party City cloak that I never used from a costume bin, I realized that these pieces would be as close of a match to the Sophisticated Lady outfit as it could be. Without much thought, I put them both on and completed my look with jewelry I wore during my wedding. For the first time in a long time, I felt young again and almost like a fairytale princess. I glided around the house with a royal air and swished the trains of the dress and cloak like the belle of the ball. It brought back memories of playing dress-up as a kid and I realized how fun it was to pretend, even for a few minutes. I ended up spending the rest of the night admiring myself more than most of the looks on the red carpet.

And why was that? Was it because I successfully brought an old piece of clothing back to life? Was it because of the bright, rosy colors that I've always loved? Was it because, for a brief moment, I became Barbie? Or was it because it was so different from the looks I've seen on the red carpet over the last several years? I'm thinking it's a mix of all four.

What I also really liked about this experiment was being able to think outside the box to get what I wanted. No, I did not have a red velvet coat or white satin gloves from 1963 at my disposal, but I did have other accessories to replicate the Sophisticated Lady outfit as close as possible. With this in mind, I hoped that innovation would be a designer's main objective when creating beautiful looks for the Met Gala red carpet.

Lackluster attempts in adhering to a theme and a previously shared sentiment of "I honestly didn't really think about it" has been disheartening to see, and downright boring. So to learn that a Met Gala outfit--whether worn in New York or the comfort of one's home--has been constructed and worn with care shows great respect towards the Costume Institute and the art of fashion in general. To me, that is the most inspiring deed of all.

What are your thoughts on this year's Met Gala? Let us know in the comments below!

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