Liz tries to improve the dress with a narrow belt to prevent him from engulfing her. It is so all-embracing that – if you are one of the thousands who have bought it – passers-by, depending on your age, will take you to be pregnant or Ann Widdecombe
I'm on Kensington Church Street in West London on one of the hottest days of the year, with what is the hottest dress of the year: £ 39.99 from made-in-Morocco viscose from Zara.
It is covered with stains and now I am also out of fashion, as the man-made fabric heats my internal organs in the microwave.
It is a non-substantial bag, with three-quarter sleeves, a high round neck and a wavy skirt – or is it a sail? – reaching almost to the ankle.
It has a pie-crust zoom, which reminds me of Laura Ashley from the 70s, and not in a good way.
The finishing touch is a seam somewhere halfway up the mast, or just below the bust, to indicate where your waist could be, if only you could find it.
As I am used to tuning, I feel strangely exposed within its large form.
It is so all-embracing that – if you are one of the thousands who have bought it – passers-by, depending on your age, will accept that you are pregnant or Ann Widdecombe.
Zara refuses to give sales figures worldwide, but if anecdotal evidence is something that passes, these spots have infected tens of thousands, such as a particularly virulent type of measles.
The dress is & # 39; viral & # 39; – it has been purchased by so many women that it now has its own Instagram account, @ hot4thespot, which describes itself as & # 39; a safe place for * the dress * & # 39; and only serves to spread its infection. wider.
Everyone who comes in contact with it seems to be buying it. And everyone who wears it risks risking to come up and upload their image for the delight of the 2500-plus followers of the account.
I have to admit that some of them look rather glamorous. And there are many ways to wear it.
But when I see myself in a shop window, I realize that on a bad day I look like Mrs. Rochester: certifiable. I have the SpongeBob SquarePants silhouette.
Snap! Emily Ingle, left and restaurant manager Stefanie Powell, right, are depicted in the dress. Mrs. Ingle, a 27-year-old account manager, agrees that this is the most comfortable dress she had
When a breeze gets up, the dress pops up like a barrage balloon. If things start with Iran, the army could just push me off Ramsgate to beat everyone.
If they brought us quay owners together, we could defend the entire coastline of Great Britain.
In the course of five minutes two women in my dress indeed float towards me: wonderfully dotty doppelgängers. They look much nicer than me.
There is no shame, no road crossing, no heads down. Instead, there are broad grins of recognition that we are part of a club.
We're from the school where comfort is king, and that's all good unless the weather gets hotter and the twisted thing melts.
Dotty for dots: Medical student Jenna Williams, left, and actress Eliza Roadnight, right, are depicted in the dress. Ms Williams, from Leeds, says: & # 39; It is long and floating, and if you are bloated it hides the & # 39;
The type of women who have chosen this dress is not looking for a fiance – it is the ultimate men's repeller, who only reveals wrists and ankles. Worn with flip flops or trainers, it's a frump fest. But I suppose it can look pretty fantastic. Am I too hard?
When a breeze gets up, the dress pops up like a barrage balloon. If things start with Iran, the army could just push me off Ramsgate to beat everyone. If they brought us quay owners together, we could defend the entire coastline of Great Britain
Many women like it. Take Jenna Williams, a 23-year-old medical student from Leeds. & # 39; It's long and floating, and when you're blown up, it hides it & # 39 ;, she says. & # 39; People could say it is being rejected by people, but my friend really likes it. & # 39;
Emily Ingle, a 27-year-old account manager, agrees that this is the most comfortable dress she had: & # 39; it's easy airy. You throw it in and out. & # 39;
Stefanie Powell, a 31-year-old restaurant manager, adds: “I bought it for a vacation and now wear it for work because it's jumpy. I don't wear things for other people, but to feel at ease. & # 39;
The dress is also an ice breaker. It's a leveler, a uniform that means you're the kind of girl who can swap plugs and prepare just as quickly as a man. & # 39; I previously served someone who also wore it & # 39 ;, Stefanie confirms.
What makes a garment viral? This dress has been around since April, but when sales increased in a pyramidal fashion (like the dress itself), Zara, who is proud to be both quick and new, changed direction and continued to make. Although the stock is low in many branches, it is still available online.
Many of the women I spoke to were inevitably the first on social media. Eliza Roadnight, a 22-year-old actress, says: & # 39; I decided to get it because I saw someone on Instagram wearing it. & # 39;
For a garment with legs, it must be the right price and be able to be worn by all ages and sizes.
This dress starts at XS and goes up to XXL, which means that it is the first dress that is visible from space.
A viral garment must also be no-nonsense: it can be washed in the machine and dried within a few minutes.
What to do if you bought it, but fear that friends will step in for the same event? I say wearing it with pride – but with a few personal and edgy styling tweaks.
A thin belt at the waist, the fabric bundled over it in a blouse, making the pair of very important centimeters shorter.
I cannot stand the narrowing high round neck, so I would wear mine backwards and leave the closure open.
Or even better, keep yours in the closet for a few years and then drive it like a classic.
And another plus? It repels moths and men …
Additional reporting by Saskia Hume
What should you do if your dress goes viral? Fashion publishers give their opinion
Farrah Storr, editor in chief,
It is the ultimate democratic garment – black and white, suitable for all shapes and ages, and occasionally neutral (I have seen it at both baptism and in the office).
Months ago I stopped to ask a young woman where her beautiful dotted dress came from. When she & # 39; Zara & # 39; I said, I put on the handbrake to buy it because I was afraid it would be anywhere in the month.
Because I can no longer see such a dress that lives after the summer. And a long life is what I want from my clothes.
By the time an outfit has its own hashtag and you have seen that there are at least three other women (everyone knows it), this is a sign that it has reached its own turning point.
Ultimately, ubiquity leads to contempt and the success of this dress will kill it.
Because if true style is about self-expression, what does wearing the same as everyone else in your office say about you?
Jo Elvin, editor,
I couldn't buy that spotty dress because it was perfect and I loved it. This & # 39; n trendy trend print. The length is the universally flattering midi that works with any shoe from stilettos to trainers. And of course there is that bargain price.
It is, say, & # 39; inspired & # 39; due to the printed shifts of popular, more expensive brands such as Rixo and Ganni. These are all reasons why I knew I had to put it down and leave the store.
Zara did a good job with this one. Too good. If I do caves, I'll stay in my closet until next summer, by the time everyone else will be bored with theirs.
It has its own Instagram account
Editor of Red magazine
This dress is the reason I don't really go shopping at Zara anymore. The height you get when you spot a jewel in a sea of so-so-dresses (even if you have planned to plow the belts online) is the moment you step outside and see someone else wearing exactly the same .
And that's the problem with Zara – it has a way to design one dress per season that perfectly reflects the mood of the moment, at a price that I honestly found irresistible.
You see it once on your Instagram and your interest is aroused … you see it twice and you know you have to buy it before it is sold out … You see it for a third, fourth and fifth time and you heart sinks when you realize you're the & # 39; ooh, where did you get that? & # 39; not, but instead, & # 39; ha! you also have the Zara dress! & # 39;
The solution? Stay away from the main street and spend a little more money on something from a smaller brand such as Kitri, Lily & Lionel or Sezane, which is much more special – and you didn't fall in love with next summer. Or worse, next week.
Shelly Vella, fashion director,
I think it is great if a piece of clothing goes viral, especially if it is an affordable trendy piece that fits most women.
Would I buy this dress? No why? Possibly because I prefer to wear things that are not so recognizable.
However, this is a great dress. The kind of shape you can slide in if you would rather miss something scarce and revealing.
It makes a statement about the wearer – she is quirky, cool, modern and above all she knows exactly what she likes and will stalk them on the internet until it comes back in stock. Bravo Zara.
Gary Armstrong, Senior
Fashion editor, British GQ style
When I see two people wearing the same item of clothing, I feel terribly ashamed of them. So I don't think I could tolerate following a viral fashion trend in case it happened to me.
That said, viral modes capture the moods and trends of the season, something this dress does perfectly.
Every man who is being repelled against this is one that you want to keep far away – let's call it DEET for dreadful men. Maybe another reason to buy it.
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