Picking Out a Dress
A lot of things happened on our way here, but we finally made it to the dress shop.
Although Philine was the one who introduced the shop to us, it wasn’t a store that was only available to the Imperial royal family, it was open to the public for ordinary citizens as well.
That being said, it was still a choice of an Imperial princess.
Even the appearance of the shop looked very stylish, with a gaudiness that peacefully coexisted with an air of exquisiteness.
“Let’s go in.”
Lana, Eve and I were all feeling a bit awkward about this, but Claire-sama pushed the store’s door open like it was nothing.
As expected of a former villainess.
She wouldn’t feel awkward over something like this.
“As expected of you, Claire-sama.”
“What do you mean?”
The Claire-sama that didn’t even know what she was being praised for was endearing.
I love her.
“Welcome. Are you looking for a dress?”
As soon as we went inside, a shopkeeper came over to us.
“I am Claire François, and we’re here today under Philine Naa’s recommendation.”
“François, was it? Understood. Please come with me to the back.”
Upon mentioning Philine’s name, the shopkeeper smiled and guided us to the back of the store.
There were various colorful dresses lined up in the back of the store that were fun to look at.
…….. As long as you were a fan of dresses, that is.
“We’ll be happy to assist you.”
I thought that we would be picking out our own dresses and heading home immediately after buying them, but somehow, a large number of clerks appeared before us.
And for some reason, they were all grinning at us.
“You don’t have to be so kind to us, though?”
“No, no, for a group full of accomplished women such as yourself, Miss François, there’s no way we wouldn’t show you our hospitality. Plus, you were introduced to us through Philine-sama.”
Somehow, Claire-sama was being valued quite highly.
“It seems that you know quite a bit about us. However, if that’s the case, then you should also be aware that we are considered enemies to the Empire too, right?”
“Of course, we haven’t forgotten about that side of things, but as a fellow woman, I bear a strong sense of admiration towards you, Miss François. Please let us cater to you today.”
“If you insist……”
Claire-sama looked uncomfortable as she reluctantly agreed to it.
It seemed that she wasn’t good with being treated as the heroine of the revolution.
In any case, there were two clerks assigned to each one of us.
Apparently, they were going to help us pick out a dress and change into it.
“So I heard that you were searching for dresses for the upcoming ball…….”
“I apologize if this is rude, but have you ever picked out a dress before?”
“I’ve done it a countless number of times. I’m not sure about Rei and the others though?”
“Neither have I.”
“…… Me neither.”
The differences between a former noblewoman and former commoners were too great.
“In that case, how about we let Miss François choose her own dress, while we help the rest of you out? How does that sound?”
“I’m fine with that. What about you, Rei?”
“Yes, please do.”
“……. I’ll leave it to you.”
And just like that, the rest of us were separated from Claire-sama.
“Let’s have you all pick out your own dress to start, and then we can take a closer look at them together afterward.”
After being prompted by a clerk, Lana, Eve, and I all went to go choose our own dresses.
I decided upon one right away.
“What about this one?”
The one I chose was a black A-line dress.
A-line dresses were literally outfits shaped like the letter “A”, and they typically had a bit more volume towards the bottom.
The neck area was shaped like a boat neck.
I didn’t have much of a chest to speak of, so I chose this one.
Even someone like Audrey Hepburn was a fan of wearing boat neck dresses.
Well, it was a bit disrespectful to compare somebody like me to her, though.
It was also stitched with plenty of lace in a French sleeve style.
The sleeves were just hovering around the shoulder area.
Evening dresses usually weren’t supposed to have sleeves, but French sleeves didn’t count.
This was good for those who wanted to aim for as little exposure as possible.
“Oh, Miss Taylor, you seem quite used to picking clothes out. I apologize if this is rude, but if I had to guess, is your name somehow related……”
“Yes, my parents own a clothing store.”
“So I guessed correctly, huh. There shouldn’t be any issues with this. I think that dress is quite alright.”
Upon receiving approval from an expert, I felt relieved.
I knew a little about clothes and accessories thanks to the knowledge of the main character’s body, but this was the first time I ever had to use it.
I’m glad I didn’t embarrass myself.
“I like this one!”
The dress that Lana chose was a white empire line dress.
Empire line dresses were designed to be fitted through the bust, with the rest of the dress flowing just below it.
The waist area was quite high up, so it was suitable for shorter people.
The chest area adopted a round neck style.
The round-cut line around the neck added a gentle and feminine touch to it.
“Miss Lana, you have quite the ample chest, so how would you feel about wearing a dress with a sweetheart neckline instead?”
A sweetheart neckline was basically a type of dress that didn’t have any shoulder straps to them, and the neck area would usually have a heart-shaped cut to it to accentuate the chest area.
It was a type of design that wouldn’t work unless your chest was of a certain size.
“Wow, it’s cute! I’ll try that on!”
“I’m certain it’ll look good on you.”
Lana picked out her dress without running into any problems as well.
“……. I might……. go with this one……..”
The dress that Eve chose was a black sheath dress.
Sheath dresses were designed to fit naturally on slender bodies.
Eve wasn’t very tall, so the sheath dress that made her look taller suited her perfectly.
Like mine, the chest area was also shaped like a boat neck.
Eve didn’t have much chest to speak of either, after all.
“That dress might overlap with what Miss Taylor chose, so perhaps we should choose a different color for you. What do you think about this light blue dress over here?”
“……. Ah, it’s beautiful.”
“This was a work created by a young up-and-coming designer. I’m glad that it caught your interest.”
And on that note, Eve had picked her dress out as well.
“Have you all finished deciding?”
Claire-sama came with a dress in hand.
“Now then, everybody, please feel free to try them on.”
We all went into separate fitting rooms to get changed.
Dresses were a pain to put on.
That was something I thought about every time I went to a friend’s wedding even when I was Oohashi Rei.
“What is it, Claire-sama?”
Perhaps it was because she was so used to this already, Claire-sama was the first one to come out of her fitting room.
The dress that Claire-sama chose was a red mermaid style dress.
Mermaid dresses were designed to fit perfectly starting from the upper body, all the way down to the knee area, where the rest of the dress would spread out and flow from below the knees.
This refined style strongly emphasized femininity and carried a dignified and elegant air around it.
The voluminous dress was designed to accentuate the waist and legs, which would make the person wearing the dress look beautiful while they walk.
It was a one-shoulder style dress.
I felt that the asymmetrical design was something very Claire-sama-like.
Well, who cares about the details.
Claire-sama wearing an evening dress looked so beautiful that I couldn’t bear to look at her.
“Rei, you look great.”
“Please stop. When Claire-sama says it, I can’t help but think you’re being sarcastic.”
“I truly mean it. I don’t particularly like the color black, but my impression has been changed. You look very elegant in it.”
Ah, I feel embarrassed.
“Miss François, it looks a bit tight around the chest area. We’ll have to make some adjustments to it, so we’ll have it delivered to you at a later date.”
“I’ll leave it to you.”
“Yours is a bit long, Miss Taylor. We’ll have yours delivered later as well.”
For the dress to be too long, it’s basically implying something.
Hmph, that doesn’t make me sad or anything, though.
“Sensei, how do I look?”
“…… I feel exhausted just changing into this……..”
Lana and Eve came out as well.
Out of all of us, Lana’s dress had the most exposure.
Her chest was the biggest, so she looked the sexiest.
Just like me, Eve’s figure was not something you could call glamorous, so she looked a bit pitiful while standing right next to Lana.
“There are no problems with your dresses at all. You can bring them home as they are now.”
And that was the end of our dress selection.
After changing into our own clothes and paying for the dresses, we left the store together.
“I feel like my eyes were blessed today.”
“That’s my line. Claire-sama in an evening dress is like giving an ogre an iron club.1”
“What does that mean?”
“……. Either way, it’s probably just Rei-sensei getting lost in her own delusions again.”
Lana asked, with Eve following up afterward.
Somehow, doesn’t it feel like my students are gradually starting to treat me roughly as well?
I saw something good today.
“I’m looking forward to the dance party.”
“You’re finally starting to feel in the mood for it, huh.”
Claire-sama smiled wryly.
If I am to be dancing with Claire-sama looking that beautiful, I was seriously going to have to step it up with practicing.
The day after I managed to renew my sense of determination, the spartan-level training that Claire-sama put me through and the muscular pain I experienced afterward is a story saved for another day.
1) An idiom that has a similar meaning to “the rich only get richer” (used to express that something that is already strong is given something to become even stronger). I decided to translate this literally so that the rest of the group have no idea what Rei is talking about.↵