For my birthday party this year, I cautioned my guests: Be glam or else. The theme? Funny Face meets Walt Disney’s Cinderella. The venue? Puppetworks, a puppet theater in Park Slope, which staged a marionette performance of the rags to riches story. My party, however, was no place for rags (or ripped jeans) — the dress code was strictly fashion fairy tale. And like Cinderella herself, I faced the dilemma of what to wear.
Working as a model, I’ve built relationships with designers, and often can call on publicists to work their magic and bibbidi-bobbidi-boo a dress to wear for a special occasion. Still, even with that luck, my crammed schedule combined with my millennial (or short) attention span left me scrambling for options — until, at the last minute, I found this $20 tiered tulle skirt from Amazon. Thank godmother for Prime.
I clicked buy, then started to worry. What you see and what you get often don’t align when shopping online — especially for (admittedly budget) clothing — and a disappointing skirt would totally deflate my look. But my nerves relaxed as soon as I opened the box: the skirt poofed out of its vacuum-packed bag, instantly taking its flouncy shape. It looked like it could have walked out of the Costume Institute’s new camp-themed exhibition, or off the runways of Giambattista Valli and Molly Goddard (without the couture price tags that can run north of $3,000.)
Amazon’s take on the diaphanous staple comes in a rainbow of colors, but I opted for silver-gray, and actually ordered two, layering one on top of the other like a strapless dress that I belted with a matching velvet ribbon — which fooled all my fashion-savvy friends into thinking the piece was actually designer. And not just my friends: After posting photos from the party to Instagram (and getting regrammed by Vogue), I got bombarded with messages asking if my look was Marc Jacobs or vintage Lanvin.
But my inner Carrie Bradshaw couldn’t resign this major find to just one evening. The tulle skirt is surprisingly convenient and versatile — it always returns back to its glorious poofy shape even after stuffing it in crowded dresser drawers or suitcases. And it can also be worn casually; I recommend pairing it with a cropped T-shirt and mules or white sneakers for a summer day in the city (I’ve seen more than one person’s head turn when I walked by them wearing it). Just be careful not to lose a shoe while rushing down the stairs to the subway.
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