For women everywhere, a deep anxiety haunts us at every event we attend. It threatens embarrassment, social shame and the potential for ruining a perfectly good night out. Same Dress Syndrome is the horror of arriving at an event and realising that someone else has turned up in the exact same outfit as you. It can happen to anyone and symptoms may include shame, anger, despair and in some cases, excessive drinking.
What is more, this is no longer a rare occurrence in our communities; it’s a full-blown epidemic. It is so widespread that we can no longer escape it. If you yourself haven’t been affected, you probably know someone who has or have even seen its horror unfold in front of your very eyes.
Same Dress Syndrome is a plague of the modern age. It’s born out of today’s high street culture where big-name chains churn out masses of the same few designs. This means millions of people out there will have ‘your’ dress and in communities where everyone shops in the same areas, the likelihood of catching SDS increases ten-fold.
By following these simple guidelines, your chance of infection can be dramatically reduced. And if you still happen to fall ill with SDS, just take the following prescription to ensure a speedy recovery.
Prevention is better than Cure!
Here's how to deal with same dress syndrome.
1. Stay Clear of the High Street
Don’t, under any circumstances, be tempted by the convenience of high street stores. No one got anywhere by cutting corners and by going for the obvious store choices you are setting yourself up for a fall. It is always better to be safe rather than sorry so take time to seek out stores that are a little more exclusive. Buying from boutiques that carry small stock will dramatically reduce your chances of catching SDS.
2. Keep It Simple and Dress It up
Statement dresses can sometimes be fodder for SDS and this is especially true at big events. A classic and simple dress works in your favour by being a less obvious choice. Also, if someone else is wearing your dress, a chic and understated choice will make SDS less noticeable. Simple dresses also mean you can make it your own with accessories. People are much less likely to have the same accessories as you so this is always a safe bet.
3. Buy Early
Purchasing your dress in advance before everyone else does is a great way of avoiding SDS as stores change their stock regularly. If you buy your dress early, the likelihood is that it will go out of stock way before other people start looking for their dresses. Try and keep within season, though, so as not to buy something that goes out of trend. Also, keep in mind that if the event is in summer it will be a lot harder to find something appropriate during the winter and vice versa. Your best bet is to buy something at the very beginning of the season.
In Case of Emergency!
If you do end up falling victim to SDS, simply remember three things: grace, humour, and self-confidence. I had a friend who adhered to all the guidelines and put a lot of time, money and effort in finding a dress for a certain event. However, when she arrived we realised that another person we knew was wearing the exact same dress as her. She was just unlucky and sometimes, no matter how hard we try, these things happen. But the way she dealt with it was what made her really stand out, and by the end of it, no one cared or remembered about the fact someone else had her dress. She approached her fellow SDS-sufferer and made a joke about how ‘great minds dress alike’, she made us take a picture of them together and told the other girl how wonderful she looked. Then she went away and thought no more about it; she didn’t let it ruin her night and had an amazing time. And that’s exactly how you cure a case of SDS.