An 8-year-old girl wore a floor-length, bejeweled ball gown for her class photos — and it was too cute for her mum to argue

Erin BorgesBelle of the ballroom? More like belle of the classroom.
  • Erin Borges of Carmel, California, documented heartwarming photos of her daughter’s third-grade picture day outfit: a bold red, floor-length gown with white gloves and silver heels.
  • The 8-year-old, Dahlia, disregarded the ensemble her mum laid out the night before and proudly walked into the classroom wearing her favourite princess-worthy ballgown.
  • Dahlia’s charming fashion choice came at a time when the family needed it most.
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When Erin Borges’ 8-year-old daughter, Dahlia, insisted on wearing a princess-worthy ballgown for her third-grade school picture day, the mum couldn’t help but smile.

The little girl, from Carmel, California, didn’t stop at the gown: She paired it with white gloves, silver heels, and even a Wonder Woman shield.

“Her favourite colour is red and she felt like a million bucks, so we weren’t going to argue with that,” Borges told Insider.

Dahlia’s bold but adorable fashion choice brought a much-needed moment of joy to the Borges family, who have had a challenging year.

Last October, doctors found Erin Borges had a rare tumour behind her left eye. In the midst of her treatment, the family’s first home, which they had bought just a few months earlier, flooded – forcing them to relocate to hotels for six months, she said.

Through it all, Dahlia’s positivity has been a constant reminder to celebrate every day.

“During the past year, I’ve been unable to take [Dahlia] to school, make meals, or really do anything for our family, and Dahlia just doesn’t miss a beat. She always says, ‘It’s not about how you look. It’s about how you feel,” Borges told Insider. “She’s wise beyond her years.”

Dahlia’s mum had picked out a coordinated outfit the night before – but the 8-year-old had another ensemble in mind.

Little girl wears ballgown to schoolCourtesy of Erin BorgesDahlia was ready for her close up.

Borges, who is required to lie face-down on a cot for 20 hours a day as part of her treatment, caught a quick but memorable glimpse of Dahlia’s outfit before school. Instead of putting on the outfit her mother had laid out the night before for her picture day, Dahlia had dressed in her favourite floor-length, red ballgown, complete with sequins and silver heels.

“I saw her little silver heels come over with the trim of her bright red sequined gown, and I knew what she was wearing, and I thought, ‘Maybe there’s a wedding or something.’ But that’s what she wanted to wear for school pictures, and I went along with it,” Borges said.

Borges said she and her husband, Shawn, thought their daughter’s dress was an interesting choice for school, but it wasn’t out of character for the happy-go-lucky girl.

“We let Dahlia really express herself,” Borges said. “I know the day is coming where she’s going to be a teenager and everything has to match and everything has to have a label, so I’m trying to postpone that as long as possible.

“She’s in this pure and loving state where she’ll mix plaid with polka dots and 12 different things on top of each other and rock it.”

Her dad made sure she didn’t leave the house without the right accessories, including a sequined backpack and her favourite photo prop, a Wonder Woman shield.

Little girl wears ballgown to schoolCourtesy of Erin BorgesDahlia’s glamorous outfit.

While Dahila’s dad did his daughter’s hair for school – which he does every morning – he also helped her accessorize.

“He asked her, ‘Do you want to wear your white gloves with it or not?’ and just made sure she had a jacket to stay warm, and off they went,” Borges said.

Dahlia was the envy of the playground.

Little girl wears ballgown to schoolCourtesy of Erin BorgesThe star of the playground.

Dahlia’s school and classmates were supportive of her unique outfit. Her mum said she knew even if her daughter did encounter a rude remark, she’d know how to handle it with poise.

“This was still early in the school year, a few weeks after the first day of school, with a new teacher and new students, so it was a lot of new faces,” Borges said. “But Dahlia really knows how to handle herself. If she hears somebody saying something that’s not nice, she’ll walk up and politely intervene.”

Her ballgown made for a class portrait to remember – but her fashion moment was more than an outfit.

Red dress school photos little girlCourtesy of Generation School PhotographyDahlia’s class portrait.

Her choice of outfit was also a symbol of her positive attitude that inspires her parents, classmates, and everyone around her.

Dahlia’s mum continues to undergo treatment for her tumour, which she said has caused her to go blind in her left eye.

Borges added that her employer, Dahlia’s school, and community organisations in their hometown have been vital in the family’s journey this past year – and she continues to use each experience as a teachable moment for her daughter.

“We all get so busy that we don’t slow it down enough to celebrate every single day,” Borges said. “We teach [Dahlia] that sure, this is a rough time, and we’ve been experiencing it for the last year, but what matters is that we’re together, and it doesn’t take anything to smile and to be kind and to be you.”

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