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The Red dress

The 2015 Red Flannel Queen Bailey Lachniet wearing the lucky red dress. From left to right: Court member Megan Zinn, Queen Bailey Lachniet, and court member Jessica Plowman. Photo courtesy of the Red Flannel Festival.

By Deanna Inskeep Bailey

Most everyone is familiar with the story of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. It was a best selling book and eventually made into a movie. The story follows many young women who go separate directions in their life and the pants that keep them all tied together. This story that I am sharing follows one red dress, many young ladies and the one dream that they are all chasing. 

This story starts back in the fall of 1988 when Laura (Inskeep) Warlick  decided to try out for the Red Flannel Pageant. She selected the perfect, beautiful, red sequined dress to wear in the evening gown portion of the pageant. Although Laura competed beautifully that evening, her dreams of being the Red Flannel Queen were not fulfilled. So what does one do with a dress that they know they will probably never wear again but is full of sentiment from one of the most amazing and memorable experiences of their time in high school? They hang it in their parent’s closet and that is exactly where the red dress stayed until 5 years later when Laura (Allen) Felsted borrowed the red dress to compete in the 1993 Red Flannel Queen Contest. Laura Allen’s mother, Deb Allen, worked with Laura Inskeep’s mom Diane. Deb mentioned that her daughter Laura was competing in the pageant, and my mom mentioned that Laura had a beautiful red dress that she had worn years prior that was hanging in her closet that her daughter, Laura Allen could borrow. Laura Allen was crowned as the 1993 Red Flannel Queen and took her victory walk across the stage in that beautiful sequined red dress. The red dress was then hung back in the closet and yet its story was far from over. 

Fast forward to a couple of years later and now the red dress is hung at Laura Inskeep’s sister’s house. There the red dress hangs untouched at Deanna Inskeep’s house for 22 years until the fall of 2015. Laura Inskeep’s youngest daughter, Ashlee Warlick, has a friend that doesn’t have a dress for the pageant. Bailey Lachniet asks if she could try the red dress on and decides to borrow it for the pageant. She decides to make the dress more of her own style and pairs it with a pair of red converse sneakers and strolls her way across the stage. The luck of the red dress continues and Bailey is crowned the 2015 Red Flannel Queen in a dress that is over 25 years old. 

Fast forward to 2017 and the story of the red dress continues. One of Bailey and Ashlee’s mutual friends, Jenna, is competing in the Red Flannel Pageant and borrows the famous red dress that has helped so many dreams come true. On September 30, Jenna Alcumbrack accepts her title and is crowned as the 2017 Red Flannel Queen, while wearing the red dress that is almost twice as old as she is. 

In this day and age, styles come and go it is so refreshing to see that the red dress has proven to be a timeless classic in every way. Every young woman who has worn this dress has a unique story to tell, a different body type, and a different sense of style. Yet the one thing they have in common is they are trying to fulfill their dreams of becoming the next Red Flannel Queen. For now the red dress will go back in Deanna’s closet until the next lucky girl chooses to borrow it for their big night and a chance at making their own dreams come true.

Anyone young girl wishing to borrow this dress for the pageant should contact Deanna Bailey at dlbailey474@gmail.com.

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