Dressember FAQ: DO I need to buy more dresses or ties to participate?
A question that gets asked a lot when Dressember rolls around is, “Do I have to go out and buy a whole bunch of dresses or ties?” It can be tempting to want to stock up on these pieces so that you never have to worry about having nothing to wear. But I’m here to tell you that you shouldn’t let the thought of not having enough dresses or ties make you reach for your wallet or stop you from participating in Dressember, because what you already have in your closet is all you need!
If you’re like me, then you take every opportunity to go out and buy a new dress or outfit. However, as I’ve become increasingly more aware that human trafficking is ever-present in the garment production industry I have tried to stop buying mass-produced dresses, and taken to conscientiously purchasing dresses from fair trade companies instead. We don’t want to use the Dressember campaign as an opportunity to increase the fast-fashion demand and accidentally support the problem of human trafficking. We want our dollars to cast votes for ethical and thoughtful purchases. So, instead of telling you to head out to the nearest mall and load up on whatever you need to feel well-dressed for the month-long campaign, I’m here to encourage you to be creative with what you already own!
I know what you’re thinking, “31 days of dresses, that’s a lot of dresses to get creative with!” However, the truth is that once you get into the rhythm of wearing a dress every day and figuring out how to match it to your style, it becomes easier to get creative. Sometimes that means scrolling through some Instagram or Pinterest pages to find new inspiration; or maybe it means taking a quick trip over to the nearest thrift shop to find that all-purpose, multi-way dress. There are many different ways to be well dressed during the month-long campaign of Dressember without breaking the bank or jamming your closet full of pieces you’ll only wear twice. Here some some ideas to get you started:
Remember that sharing is caring! You can always share dresses with a roommate, sister or the ladies on your Dressember team. You could turn it into the, “Sisterhood of the Travelling Dress,” and all share the same couple of dresses, (don’t forget to wash them in between). For the tie-wearers, sharing ties with your fellow advocates is also a great way to save money while sporting that tie your friend has that you’ve been eyeing.
Embrace the capsule wardrobe and decide on a couple of basic dresses that you can wear styled differently each day. That way you don’t have to pinch pennies to save up for buying several new dresses, and you get to stretch your outfit-making skills.
Put your styling skills to the test by taking on the challenge of wearing only one dress for the entire duration of the campaign. Founder Blythe Hill took on this challenge in the 2017 Dressember campaign, and showed us what a difference accessories and sweaters could make in transforming your look from one day to the next. We’ve also had a male advocate who took this challenge to the extreme and wore the same outfit every day. He wore the same shirt, shorts, and tie--now that’s commitment!
Go the vintage route and wear those cheesy statement dresses and ties loud and proud. Whether this means tweaking some of your mom’s dresses from the 70’s, pulling out those forgotten Grandpa ties or hunting through the dusty boxes in the attic, bring those classic gems back to life and stand out in any crowd.
For those who wear dresses and ties alike, consider coming up with a theme for your outfits. Maybe that means a monthly theme of superheroes, or a weekly colour scheme, or maybe you only wear Christmas all month long. Creating a theme can make it easier to find and plan outfits to wear.
Ultimately your dresses or ties should reflect who you are as a person and fit with your lifestyle. For me, this means finding dresses that not only can withstand the snow-filled winters of Canada, but also allow me enough movement to work with horses. Despite the clashing winter boots and snow pants, I found myself waking up each morning looking forward to putting on a dress and answering questions from curious passersby.
If you walk into Dressember with a clear game plan in your mind, then the struggle of uniquely styling five dresses for a month won’t seem so much like a burden. One Dressember advocate only wore two dresses all month and got creative with scarves, tights and tee shirts. Participating in Dressember shouldn’t stress you out, it’s meant to be an experience that allows for you to speak up against human trafficking and draw people’s attention to something otherwise hidden. So go out there, get creative and get talking!
Raise your voice against slavery this December!
Commit to wearing a dress or tie every day in December. You'll challenge yourself, expand your knowledge on modern slavery, and be equipped to lead your community in the fight to end human trafficking. Registration is open for Dressember 2018 and fundraising has already started! Be a part of the impact for our local and global partners by creating your campaign page today!
About the Author
Katherina Toews sees the world mostly from between the ears of a horse, and wouldn’t want it any other way. She believes that there is nothing that can’t be fixed by sharing tea, chocolate chip cookies, and a good black and white movie with friends. Katherina is currently the Head Wrangler at a year-round camp and retreat centre, teaching people about horses and helping them to overcome their fears.