Cinderella is the ultimate girl in a great gown. A version of her narrative exists in nearly every culture, from a 9th-Century Chinese story to the old German fairy tale of The True Bride.Fairy tales such as these reveal the magical thinking behind dresses: the fantasy that a perfect gown exists that will allow us to be seen, finally, as we truly are. Throughout history, stories of women wearing beautiful dresses reveal the belief that they can bewitch and beguile – and even bend people to their will.But does a dress really have the power to transform the way people see us? Watch the video to find out more.In this new video series, The Secret Life of Clothes, writer and academic Shahidha Bari explores how the clothes we wear reveal powerful truths about ourselves, our histories and our cultures. If you would like to comment on this story or anything else you have seen on BBC Culture, head over to our Facebook page or message us on Twitter.
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