#22 Dresses @ 22

#22 Dresses @ 22

I don’t believe that there is a single fashionista out there who has never played dress-up around the house with clothes from her own closet. Whether you’re 5 or 25, it’s always fun to try on some of your dresses and run around the house. Carrie Bradshaw did it too!

If you’re following me on social media, you know that I’ve been packing and getting ready for my big move into my apartment in New York City. FINALLY. It’s been a wild housing ride and major decluttering session, but I’m almost done and ready to go. Halfway through cleaning out my closet, I realized that most of my hanging space is occupied by business clothes and…dresses? I purchased a little too many throughout the past few years of my life. Some pieces have sentimental value and I would never toss them. Some I absolutely do not know what I was doing buying them… they’re just… not cute.

In college, it was easy to justify buying dresses for different events because you didn’t want to repeat dresses for every Greek life semi-formal or formal school events. Now that I’ve graduated, I’m not quite sure how often I can wear some of these cocktail dresses. As I chatted with my friends who were also packing for their big moves, we realized that there are some dresses we all had in our closets by the age of 22. Although all our dresses looked different, our sentiments about each of our dresses were the same. We all had “that one dress” where [insert something here].

So I figured let’s play dress-up and have a little fun with this! What are the 22 types of dresses have I worn by 22?

1. That One Dress That’s Too Short But You Don’t Want To Let Go of It

We’re all guilty of accidentally purchasing a cheap dress from some sketchy online retailer. It arrives at your doorstep looking promising. Then you try it on and realize that it’s just WAY. TOO. SHORT. That is this dress for me. I am in love with the pattern so much that I cannot let it go, but I also can’t really wear it without my derrière making an appearance! Good thing it was dirt cheap…

Dress: Shein


2. That One Pastel Dress You’d Wear To A Wedding. Or Easter.

We all have one light colored and pretty dress that you probably wouldn’t whip out unless it’s a formal family holiday or maybe even a wedding. While I love this periwinkle and the little details on the dress, it’s not going to be easy finding an occasion to wear this simply because the length and high-low make it seem more formal. I guess I’ll just have to wait for a spring or summer wedding invitation…and pray this dress still fits when all my friends are getting married.

Dress: Francesca’s


3. That One Dress You Got Because You Thought It Would Be Useful For Afternoon High Tea. Which You Never Go To.

I don’t ever go to high tea… Do you? We all have a dress that we do not know why we purchased because we have no real occasion for it. Maybe the dress isn’t necessarily suitable for high tea, but it’s not suitable for anything else you would attend. I love this dress, but I feel like the shape and cut of it is so girly and proper that the minute I put it on, I need to be proper and curtsy. Maybe it’s just me…

Dress: TJ Maxx


4. That One Dress Inspired By Your Favorite Show/Character

If you know me, you know that Gossip Girl is my everything. I love Blair Waldorf and aspire to be her because I can relate to her so well. Unfortunately, when it comes down to which character I am most similar to, it’s Serena. I’m so Serena van der Woodsen that it pains me. When I shopping with some friends one day, I came across this dress that immediately screamed IT’S ME! SERENA! I guess I am her, because I immediately fell in love with it and brought it home.

Don’t mind my dramatic posing. Just trying to channel my inner tall blonde socialite.

Dress: BCBG MaxAzria


5. That One Dress You Wear For Dinner Parties (Which You Probably Dread Going To)

I have had to entertain and attend countless dinner parties in my childhood days. I feel like all the Asian families in my county made a pact to have nonstop dinner parties weekend after weekend because suburbia had bored them to death. Regardless, you always could use a dress that is suitable for dinner occasions. These type of dresses have to be a slightly more casual but fancy enough when dressed up with accessories. They also must be forgiving, as you know you’ll be stuffing your face (as you avoid eye contact) and trying not to let anyone know how bloated you become over the course of the night. You know that when someone says “Dessert, anyone?” you WANT that extra serving without any judging eyes.

Dress: Francesca’s


6. That One Dress That Is A Very Unique Statement Which No One Knows How They Feel About It

Have you ever asked your friends for their opinion on a dress and gotten completely mixed reviews? I love this dress, but some of my friends hate it. Some have absolutely no idea how to feel about it. Despite the mixed feedback, all of my friends concluded that the dress makes a memorable and bold statement in a non-negative way. Not sure what that means, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I’m sure there’s a controversial dress in your closet too! Does yours have crazy prints too? Let me know in the comments!

Dress: a custom-designed dress boutique in Beijing


7. That One Dress That Can Go From Day To Night Easily

I love ambiguous dresses. Don’t get me wrong, nothing makes me happier than business formal and business casual attire, but we all need that one dress we can take from day to night in a matter of minutes so we don’t have to stop by our apartments before Friday happy hours! This dress is something I could wear to my office (where the code is business casual) but often hesitate based on the length of it and the print. It’s a risk, but depending on your office you may be able to pull it off.

Dress: Topshop


8. That One Maxi Dress

You never forget your first maxi dress. For me, it was this beautiful black number. If we’re being honest, I can’t decide if it reminds me of a monk or is something I’d wear to an ex’s funeral, but the fabric is so nice that I try to disregard the simple design. My hair unfortunately covered the neckline, which is an elegant halter, making it a very classic and elegant look.

Dress: Calvin Klein


9. That One Princess Diva Dress

We all have an inner princess somewhere deep inside. Mine doesn’t come out often, but when she does, she goes all out. I haven’t decided what to name her, but she’s usually a little disheveled, dramatic, and all about the tiaras and tutus.

Dress: Tobi


10. That One Red Dress

I think the LRD ranks second in importance to the LBD. Some say that not everyone can pull off a red dress, but I think it has to do more with the attitude of the girl. I’ve seen very plain, non-exciting red dresses look more stunning on someone than a fancy and expensive red dress did on someone else. Anyone can rock red! Just don’t be confident, and you’ll look great. I promise!

Dress: Lulus


11. That One Dress That’s Perfect For Date Nights

Date nights are always fun! We often get so caught up in our phones and computers that we forgot to step out and enjoy getting to know someone better. When date nights come around, we need a dress for the occasion that isn’t too loud, too riské, or too conservative. For me, this is my go-to safe dress for any evening occasion where I want to look pretty and polished.

Missing from picture: a date to look at. If anyone knows where I can find a tall, handsome, and respectable young man let me know.

Dress: Tobi


12. That One Angsty Teen Dress

I think every 90s kid has a little bit of rebel within them. I don’t think I ever fully went into a punk rock or emo phase, but I definitely dabbled with spikes and colored hair streaks (clip-ins of course) back in the days. I was more of an angsty music college student and pop princess music teen, but it’s never too late to let a little edge peek into your wardrobe every now and then.

Dress: Tobi


13. That One Clubbing Dress You Have A Love/Hate Relationship With

Ah. Beyoncé said, everyone needs her freakum dress. Mine is a very annoying multi-way dress where you can change the top and tie it in a variety of different ways. While I love it because I can change one dress into ten different dresses based on how I tie the straps, there is one downside: YOU MUST REINFORCE WITH FASHION TAPE. Nip slips are not cute, especially when the club lights hit. Here’s mine in navy tied in a simple sweetheart strapless style. You can’t see the annoying bow I had to die in the back, but it’s there. Bulky. Awkward. And I hate it. My best advice is to purchase multi-way convertible dresses in maxi form, since no matter how you tie the straps it’ll always look more elegant.

Dress: Lulus


14. That One Perfect Work/Interview Dress

If you don’t have a simple dress you can wear for all business formal events, I highly recommend investing in one! No matter what industry you’re in, you want to put your best outfit on for any interview. This little black number has been with me through so many interviews, conferences, and internships and never failed to make a great professional impression. I’m very satisfied with how much wear I got out of the price tag, and I know any of you working women out there would probably say the same about your work LBD!

Dress: Loft


15. That One Dress You Would Wear To Church Or Any Sacrificial Event. Like Meeting The Family.

Whether it’s a regular Sunday morning service or meeting your significant other’s family, you want to look proper and polished. In both situations, dressing appropriately is a sign of respect. For these occasions, I wear this cream and black lace dress. It covers up my chest area completely, and the shift form prevents me from 1) looking “suggestive” 2) showing how much food I ate to avoid conversation. Sometimes it’s just better to stay conservative for more serious events.

Dress: Lord & Taylor


16. That One Timeless Dress

I think this dress is absolutely timeless because it follows no particular trend that will go out of style. Maybe green won’t be the color of the season and florals might not be the most popular print, but some sort of floral is always a classic, and these colors are autumn staples. Plus, the corset is not overly dramatic so it does not make the dress seem outdated.

I think these types of dresses are so useful, because you never know when you’ll have an event to dress up for. Whether it’s tomorrow or five years from now, you will be able to use this dress without stressing out about purchasing a new one just for that one occasion.

Dress: H&M


17. That One Romper Dress

Rompers have made quite the splash in the fashion industry these days. They seem to replace dresses in some situations, and are now even replacing maxi dresses as well. I do like romper dresses because I’m a sucker for having flowing fabric behind me as I walk. I also love the fact it’s still a romper, meaning I don’t need to worry about flashing anyone. Much like the previous dress, the print and color are autumn classics that will not “go out of style” that easily, making this piece one that will be wearable for as long as the romper trend is around…which might be a long time.

Dress: Lulus


18. That One Dress That You Can Wear For Anything

It’s always useful to have a dress that you can quite literally wear for anything. On one hand, it’s classy enough to wear to an event. On the other hand, it’s casual enough to wear daily without someone saying something to you. For me, it’s this green shift dress which I’m sure you guys recognize from my post on St. Ives Mixing Bar. I’ve worn this to coffee dates with friends, to Catch after midnight, and to my 22nd birthday dinner. All you have to do is switch up the shoes and accessories and you’re good to go!

Dress: & Other Stories


19. That One Dress You Wore For Graduation

I chose a simple white dress for graduation as it accentuated my tan and matched my cap and stoles best. For graduation, you always want to choose something that is light and sophisticated. Graduation is a family event and a life milestone. It’s not the best occasion for you to bring out a clubbing dress or a long gown, as it would be respectively inappropriate and covered by your graduation gown for the most part. I apologize for not having better photos, but my dress is basically a white dress with embroidery on the top half. I love it because it’s formal enough yet not too formal and allowed me to breath under a polyester gown.

Dress: Lulus (I think?)


20. & 21. That One Dress You Wore For A Senior Formal/Prom

Like I mentioned earlier, not everyone has worn 22 dresses by the age of 22. But if you went to high school and went to prom, you probably wore a formal dress. I was fortunate enough to have a prom dress and a senior formal dress for my last sorority ball. Both dresses are very different, as I was two totally different people both times, but are very special to me as I’m sure yours are very special to you! My prom dress was more extravagant whereas my senior formal dress was more ethereal and mature. I think they were both very accurate representations of who I was then and who I am now.

PROM: Coniefox

FORMAL: BCBG MaxAzria (fun fact, all three dresses in the last photo are BCBG by pure coincidence)

22. That One (or two) Sweet 16 Dress

Back in high school, MTV’s My Super Sweet 16 was still a thing. Since I grew up watching that show (against my mom’s will), I wanted to be just as extra and do a dress change. So, technically I had two dresses, but we are going to count them as one.

My theme was Saints & Sinners Masquerade (as I am obsessed with masked balls) so I figured I change from a heavenly gown to a red dress throughout the night. Your coming-of-age party dress, whether it is a quince or sweet 16 or bah mitzvah, is always going to be a special dress to debut in because it part of you transitioning from a girl to a lady. While mine were nothing too extravagant, I’m glad I chose two simplistic dresses instead of something over the top and frilly, as it helped me feel like I was finally growing up and out of my princess gown days.

White Dress: a local prom dress shop
Red Dress: Lord & Taylor


Well, that is it! Those are the most significant 22 dresses in my closet. I hate to say it, but there are also so many more dresses in my closet, like the first dress I inherited from my mom to my favorite LBD (which you will see soon in a different post), but I figured that these were 22 dresses where I had great memories over the course of the years in. I’m very fortunate and thankful to have had 22 occasions to dress up for, and am very excited for the few that are in my future.

I hope you guys had as much fun raiding my dress closet as I did, and enjoyed a more comedic Style post. Have a wonderful weekend, mes chéries, and I’ll see you in the next one. Bisou, bisou…








Erica Huang
Erica Huang

Based in New York City, Erica Huang is the creator and voice behind Bouge & Rouge. This blog is a playground of her thoughts where she invites you to join her on her journey through her 20s. Erica shares her lifestyle, fashion and beauty tips, adventures, and personal thoughts with the goal of inspiring others to always persevere and be unapologetically yourself.

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