What if nobody asks me about my dress or tie?
So, you’re halfway through the month of December and you’re feeling a little bit discouraged because people aren’t noticing the fact that you’re wearing a dress or a tie. I’ve been there and I feel your pain, friend. Going into my fourth year of being a Dressember advocate, this is one of the biggest obstacles and insecurities to overcome. So, let’s chat about it!
What do I do if nobody asks me why I’m wearing a dress or tie?
First of all, know that since this is a frequently asked question, a lot of other advocates feel the same way. You are not alone! But you can overcome this hurdle through several simple steps.
First, try wearing a pin that says: “Ask me about my dress!”, “Ask me about my tie!”, or shop the Dressember marketplace for other conversation-provoking gear. You can also wear a dress or tie that is wackier than what you normally wear! It will catch people’s eyes, and most likely inspire them to ask why you are dressed in a fun way. If you receive a compliment on your outfit, that would be a great opportunity to spark up a conversation about why you’re dressed up. Let your dress or tie be the tool that gives you confidence to be bold in conversations!
It is easy to be discouraged if you feel like people are not striking up conversations with you about your dress or tie. So, I’m going to share a bit of my personal experience from three years of Dressember, and what I’ve learned from feeling discouraged in this way.
First of all, I currently live in Sweden. Typically, Swedes tend to be more reserved and do not frequently spark up conversations with strangers. As a friendly southerner from Texas, this was a big point of culture shock for me, especially during Dressember. Last year, I purchased the “Ask me about my dress!” button, and had a whopping total of one stranger use the button as a point of inquiry the entire month.
I came to the realization that I was expecting others to do the work of starting conversations. I also had to let go of the expectation that all of my Dressember conversations were going to be with random strangers. Some of them were, but I wasn’t realizing I had the chance to share with my current network and start up conversations with people I do know.
This is why I believe social media plays a huge role in Dressember. When I post a lot on social media, I receive a lot of responses or questions from people who I know but don’t normally interact with. When I run into acquaintances during the month of December, the first thing they bring up is my Dressember campaign. Around the holidays, it’s always a great conversation point at parties with family and friends you might not see frequently. The conversations normally start with something along the lines of, “I’ve seen your posts on Instagram, tell me more!” It’s a great starting point for talking about Dressember as a whole, or explaining more specifically what our grant partners do.
Using social media can be a way to give prompts for in-person conversations. For example, I try to post some content with statistics or facts, some with more of a personal perspective, and some that show how #youcandoanythinginadress. That way, you reach out to people who have diverse interests or conversation styles.
Another great conversation starter is to host a fundraiser! Here are some ideas. If you are selling crafts or baked goods, or if you’re hosting an event open to the public, this is a great way to catch people’s attention and start conversations.
It can certainly be frustrating to feel like conversations are not being started in the way you expected, but the main thing to remember is that what we are fighting for is much bigger than your own discomfort or frustration. You are making a bigger difference than you realize, so keep wearing your dress or tie with confidence!
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
Anna Stephens is a native Texan pursuing her Master's of Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science at Lund University in Sweden. She has participated in Dressember for 3 years, and plans to continue using fashion as a platform for awareness and eradication of human trafficking. In her spare time, you can find her drinking iced coffee, looking for dogs to pet, or exploring Swedish nature with her friends.