When it comes to formal wear, my wardrobe is brimming to the full, swamped with evening gowns, festive co-ords and all things sequin. You see from a very young age I was obsessed with dresses, how they made me feel like a Princess who didn’t need her Prince to go to the ball. It was a magical world where it was always snowing and the best part was that trawling through the snow I didn’t feel a thing. There was no icy wind on the nape of my neck nor was there howling banshees and the darkness to make me lose sight of happiness, I couldn’t feel a thing. Of course in reality I am a big baby when it comes to the cold and while I like winter fashion, the cold is another dilemma altogether. That being said, there is so something so magical, even forbidden about being out in a dress in winter, where the thick granny socks and boots combo just doesn’t quite cut the mustard any more. Call me crazy but sometimes its better to suffer for fashion than to be owned by its current season. So here I am scrolling through another dubiously cheap site ‘Dress Lilly’ which promises to bestow the gift of ‘effortless elegance’ and ‘affordable fashion styles’, when I find myself clicking on two products that cannot quite escape my attention. There is the winter queen, swathed in dove grey organza eleganza, whose slight hint of midriff is too delightfully naughty to go unnoticed. But then there is the lady in black whose heart is as dark as her soul, drifting through the light to cover up her true intentions. With Dress Lilly you can be free to become whoever you want to be, even if that person is so far removed from you are in reality. The Winter Queen She is the queen whose reign goes by unnoticed, drifting by in mediocrity and little notion of surprise. She is the queen who lurks in the shadows until winter dawns on another year, dusting off her scepter of ice, while the sculptor works on her new frosted throne. As she turns towards her subjects, albeit dressed in grey, she summons her guards to surround her for protection. The last year that she was in reign, all hell broke loose and she was not prepared to put her neck on the line to appease so called rioters. No, enough was enough, this year would be different and she could taste it in the bitterness of the air. For three short months she would be Queen of all, overseeing a kingdom of jewels, whose precious commodities made sure she never starved. But for the rest of the year she would be a recluse, her kingdom gone and replaced by the Lady In Black whose intentions were as black as her moniker suggested. Truly she envied the Lady In Black’s lack of caution and quite frankly a person whose inhibitions were as loose and as immoral as hers might have not been societies version of a perfect Queen but in her eyes, being caught in purgatory lacked excitement. She wore grey because she was a neutral ruler, truly any opinions or thoughts that she had about her kingdom was long locked away in the solitude of her mind. It was a lonely feat being a Queen but she knew that someday she would find the old her once more and reclaim what was hers before the war began. It wasn’t always meant to be this way, this half-full type existence that left her hollowed out but for now she would continue being an emotionless queen, there was a reason why the others but one was dead. You pay the price if you dare defy the word of the land and she learnt that a long time ago when her friends were sacrificed to keep her real identity safe. The Lady In Black I wasn’t always a cold hearted bitch, but i’m not going to apologize for the woman I have become. My subjects respect me, hold me in esteem and regard but love me? Noone could love me, noone but one and well… he’s long dead. It was ten years ago now, before the war began, a handsome soldier took my hand and kissed it, a man who was one of the few men I did not know. I was good back then, a princess who always did what her parents told her to do, never crossed any boundaries that weren’t worth crossing. But somehow this man, this he-devil changed me, shaped me into becoming this woman without a heart- the Lady in Black they call me now. Back then I was Princess E, guess the real name if you want, a lady who blushed at the mere sight of men but the soldier was different. He made me feel alive but my parents didn’t approve. When they found out they scolded me and locked me in the Iron tower but still he came. He risked the wrath of the dragons in the keep and fought his way into the Iron Tower. We ran away together and settled in a different land, had children, also dead. He began to change before my very eyes, I barely knew him when we met and I didn’t know him any better now. He may have been a father to my children but he was never a husband to me. He began to beat me senseless, whispering poison into my ears, teaching me his wicked ways. He showed me spells, showed me victims, showed me bodies. This man was not just a soldier who killed for the good of the country but a man who enjoyed killing his victims slowly and senselessly. It was a ritual of his, every Sunday he would go out and come back with a different woman, right under my nose, it was a game he liked to play. My nostrils would flare and the shouting would begin, he told me it was the little fun he could have, being entrapped to someone who wouldn’t know fun if it slapped them in the face. He was talking about me, the mum, his wife til death did us part. He was spiralling out of control and the man I once loved was fading away. I realized that the eighteen year old me was just idealistic, refusing to see that he was always a monster, now I was a grown up and a jaded cynic at that. It had to stop, so I shot him, right in the chest, wasn’t that fun I told his dying corpse. The children ran into the room and screamed, I was afraid that they were going to tell everyone so I shot them too. My heart hardened that day and I never looked back, entering the Queendom with a heavy price to pay. So yes it may seem like I live life without caution, may seem like I have no capacity for emotion but the truth is my heart stopped beating all those years ago. What Persona Do You Take On When Entering The Fashion World?