One writer tries to ca­su­ally pull off be­ing a grown-up in a tiara


I didn’t know I needed a dia­manté crown un­til I saw Hedi Sli­mane’s grunge prom queens on the Spring 2016 Saint Lau­rent run­way: The tou­sled waves, slinky slip dresses and old school wellies gave off a Hole-“Live Through This”-meet­sKate-Moss- at- Glas­ton­bury vibe. Then came Gigi Ha­did in Tommy Hil­figer’s Fall 2016 show ( left), work­ing a prim frock and a mini-crown. Moschino fol­lowed suit with sig­na­ture quirk, while Dolce & Gab­bana of­fered re­gal head­pieces. Call it a royal meet­ing of Frozen, Kate Mid­dle­ton and ’90s fash­ion hys­te­ria: Tiaras are hav­ing a mo­ment.

My last tiara-as-ac­ces­sory phase was roughly 24 years ago and was, ad­mit­tedly, more age-ap­pro­pri­ate. For a girl ob­sessed with high heels and lipstick, an or­nate di­a­mond top­per on a Tues­day af­ter­noon was nor­mal. Now that I’m all grown up, could I still em­brace princess cul­ture with­out look­ing like a sad Dis­ney re­ject? The Hil­figer look—all Peter Pan col­lars and cute mini-crowns—felt cos­tumey, but the girls at Moschino, who are more likely to reach for a sep­tum ring than for se­quins, ap­pealed to me. Since I rarely let a trend ex­clude me, I set out to find my crown—and some tex­tur­iz­ing spray to rough up my blowout (self-blown, of course: What do you think I am, a princess?).

I strode into tween ac­ces­sory mecca Claire’s and asked the clerk for the, ahem, adult tiaras (she pointed them out, un­fazed). As I tried on var­i­ous rhine­stone mon­strosi­ties, I hap­pened upon a sweet tiara that was, dare I say, taste­ful— a far cry from the over­sized crowns you’d ex­pect to find at a big fat wed­ding. As I gazed at my face adorned by a dia­manté halo, some­thing hap­pened. I felt edgy. I was the peo­ple’s princess, nei­ther an overly made-up tot nor an in­fan­tilized adult.

The first time I wore my be­jew­elled head ac­cou­trement out for a drink, I paired it with high-waisted denim, a tee and matte cerise lips—af­ter all, Sli­mane said a tiny crown goes “with every­thing.” I got im­me­di­ate at­ten­tion, al­beit more of the “girl at her bach­e­lorette” va­ri­ety than the “non­cha­lant fash­ion girl” type. Still, I ac­cepted the free rum and coke from the bar man­ager af­ter he pro­claimed that they’d “never had a real princess here be­fore!”

What fol­lowed over the next week were grins at my lo­cal bak­ery, smiles on side­walks and an un­ex­pect­edly courtly re­cep­tion at a hip­ster café. I got the best table be­cause, I as­sume, the power of the tiara sim­ply de­manded it.

Dur­ing my short reign, the jewel-en­crusted head­wear gave me sur­pris­ing con­fi­dence. But I re­al­ized that peo­ple weren’t nicer be­cause they thought I was roy­alty (or roy­ally bonkers)— they were pick­ing up what my tiara and I were putting out there: an ex­hil­a­rat­ing self-as­sured­ness and lib­er­at­ing joie de vivre born of a de­ci­sion to not care whether I was nat­u­rally “edgy” enough for my new fave ac­ces­sory.

The power of the tiara, I learned, isn’t re­ally how it makes you look but how it makes you feel: stately and com­mand­ing. Sli­mane was right: That re­ally does go with every­thing.

Clock­wise from top: Tommy Hil­figer, Dolce & Gab­bana, Louis Vuit­ton.

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