The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Enchanted is one of those movies that I’ll always hold near and dear to my heart. I first saw it when it was new to the theaters in November of 2007. My twin sisters were born that summer, doubling the number of my siblings from two to four, making life difficult and lonely for seven year old me.
The tickets were free—we received them as a gift from our neighbor who was a hairstylist and often got tickets from her client who was also the owner of the independent movie theater downtown. I finally got alone time with my mom and Enchanted became a source of comfort for me at the opening credits. Best believe that I rewatched immediately after finding out that it had been put on Disney+. Finally.
Now, we fast forward from November, 2007 to April, 2021. I stumbled across a TikTok that questioned why our protagonist, Giselle, would wear a “normal” dress to a ball where every other attendant was in Medieval period clothing, very similar to Giselle’s costuming during the rest of the film.
The arguments present here are two-fold. First, they (the creator and their commenters) are wondering why she wouldn’t wear a Medieval gown given that it is more similar to what Giselle is familiar with and comfortable in. Second, they wonder why that dress at all. The purple floor-length gown that Giselle ends up wearing to the ground has received some heavy criticism for being ugly.
Well, the answer to both questions is quite simply Robert, her New York love interest. I’ll explain.
For the first question as to why Giselle would wear a “normal” dress to this Medieval ball, she has spent the majority of the film learning what Robert’s opinion of life should be. They butt heads, yes, but she’s obviously listening and cares about his opinion given that she makes Prince Edward go on a date.
Assimilation is difficult, there’s a learning curve and Giselle is bound to make mistakes while she chooses to adapt to New York City’s way of life. This is one of them. She’s imitating what she thinks, through Robert’s perspective, she’s supposed to wear to a fancy event.
More importantly, however, and this is also my argument against criticism of the dress itself, is Robert’s opinion in a more intimate sense. His opinion of Giselle.
Giselle chooses this purple gown for Robert.
She takes a stab at what she thinks he will like. And she was right. It is impossible to miss in Robert’s expression when Giselle arrives at the ball that he thinks she is the most beautiful woman in the room.
So who cares if YOU like it? Not me, even though I also hate the dress. I think it’s ugly and entirely un-special. But none of our opinions matter, just Robert’s.
I can feel your eyes rolling with the counter that Giselle shouldn’t have to change for a man. I don’t think wearing a dress that Robert would like is changing for him, especially considering that she goes right back to her quirky self that he had already fallen in love with. She just did something to get his attention.
Giselle knew what she was doing when she picked that ugly dress and it worked. She got the man that she wanted, all without having to look all that good by today’s fashion standards. Just say you’re jealous and move on.