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Zondra Hughes Headshot

Five Years, Dozens of Events, One Gown

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I am one of the original budget fashionistas, as I've been wearing the same gown to VIP events for five years straight.

And, alas, the Gown is a legend.

Humble Beginnings

In January, 2005, my roadie Deb, a television producer, and I ventured to Los Angeles to see the taping of The People's Choice Awards. We were both overworked and under paid -- and never had a vacation -- and thus, this little excursion was designed to be the ultimately Hollywood fantasy, crammed into two days.

And it was on this occasion that I bought the Grammy Gown. I bought it from Cache*, it's a chocolate brown number with gold leather straps and buckles. Here is the DEBUT, in 2005, in Los Angeles.


The Grammy Gown (so named because I vowed to wear it to the Grammy Awards) had an elegance to it, that defied the $150 price tag. That dress made me feel tall, despite what the full body mirrors said.

Evil full-body mirrors.

And the Grammy Gown fit perfectly."Why would women spend thousands of dollars for a dress that you'll only wear once?" And she created a monster, as I decided right then and there that I would wear the gown at every red carpet event.

And then I decided to wear it at every black-tie gala. Here's the gown at the 2007 Black Creativity Gala at the Museum of Science & Industry.


And, as you probably suspect by now, I began looking for an excuse to wear it on the town. One Halloween I was this/close to wearing it for my costume, when I was dressed up as a Dreamgirl, but the cleaners closed shop earlier than I thought.

In the summer I wear it alone, and in the colder months, I wear it with my stole.
If there's an event, or occasion to dress up, you can bet your last buck that I'll wear the Grammy Gown.

This past weekend, I wore the Gown to the NDIGO Foundation Gala, marking five consecutive years of wearing the Grammy Gown to special ocassions, nonstop! Take that, What Not To Wear!


To date, the Grammy Gown has been photographed in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. It has been worn in a Maybach, and a Lexus, and often, in my own beautiful -- yet discontinued -- Oldsmobile Alero! The Grammy Gown has never seen the red carpet of the Grammys, but it has been to the Oscar Awards!

I'm sure there are social butterflies that cringe at the thought of a woman wearing a uniform to every VIP event. I know my mother has banned me from wearing the Gown with her, although I say nothing when she wears her uninterrupted, head-to-toe leopard ensemble.

See, I believe that if you have a favorite event dress, wear it until the threads disintegrate.

Anyhow, I'm addicted to the gown's fame. And I can't turn back now, as the gown has a fanbase of its own! I'm dared to wear the gown, begged to wear the gown, sometimes, when I'm volunteering, the gown is used as an identifier for others. "If you need Zondra, she'll be stationed at the media table, wearing a brown gown," Dionne, an event planner, says.

Even snobbish fashionistas, that recall the gown from the years before, use the gown as a conversation piece.

Clearly, in this case, the gown does overshadow the woman.

Perhaps this envy of the gown's fame is the reason why I am looking to retire it, and soon.
But I have one last fantasy journey for the Grammy Gown: I will wear it, with a tiara, at the downtown victory parade, for our World Series Champs, the Chicago Cubs.

Then, and only then, will the journey of the Grammy Gown feel complete.

Go Cubs. Please.

This entry has not been influenced by any gifts or compensation from Cache* or any brand mentioned here.

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