Friday, September 7, 2012

The October Dress Project

A while ago a friend made a comment on Facebook about "the October Dress Project" and it made me curious.  I had heard of the Uniform Project before, which was a girl who wore the same little black dress for a whole year, but what was this October Dress Project??  I looked into it a bit more and here's some info from their blog:
Here is the basic idea: for thirty-one days, from October 1st to October 31st, you will build all your outfits around one single dress. You will put this dress on in some way, shape, or form, every time you get dressed.

Why? There are a lot of a different women participating, and each participates for different reasons, but the motto sums it up as 'anti-consumerism, pro-simplicity, anti-conformity, pro-imagination.' This can translate into a lot of different motivations, from an out-of-control wardrobe to a concern for environmental sustainability, from an intellectual exercise to a deep rethinking of what you do with your clothes and why. It encourages thinking of your clothing more creatively as you use one dress as a canvas for the other clothes you have in your wardrobe. It prompts dressing more responsibly as you begin to reevaluate the versatility of a single garment. It helps you to cut away the clutter surrounding personal worth, body image, and consumer culture (one of the first thing many people notice is that no one else notices them wearing the same dang thing every day!) It gives you a starting point to begin challenging cultural norms of buying habits and our perception of needs.

31 days seems like a really long time to wear the same thing, but I'm going to attempt it!  I even bought my "October dress" yesterday.  I know, I know, it seems a bit counter-intuitive to go out and buy something new for a project that supposed to help you learn about anti-consumerism, but they do acknowledge on their website that you may need to buy a dress to have something that's versatile enough to last all month (while I have several dresses already, none of them were really suitable for a month-long wearing).  And I bought my dress at Value Village, which is something new for me.  I don't usually shop second-hand, mostly because I usually feel overwhelmed when I walk into a place like that and you have to hunt to find what you're looking for.  However, I want to make an effort to buy second-hand clothes more often, because they're often still in excellent condition, for much cheaper.  Although, I have to admit, I was a bit surprised at the $13 price tag on my dress.  Sure, it was in great condition, but it was more than I was expecting from Value Village.

Here's my dress.  I was hoping to find a grey dress, but there was nothing in my size, and I liked this brown one (it's actually very similar to a purple dress that I had when I was a teenager!).  Just a question though - can you wear black with brown??  I hope so!  I like that the dress has snaps all the way down, so I'll have more style options (I could even wear it totally unsnapped and open, like a cardigan over a shirt and jeans).

So, why am I doing this?  Well, it's not because I need to learn to buy fewer clothes (despite the fact that I like to have new things, I actually really dislike shopping for clothes for myself) or get my wardrobe under control (since I've been participating in clothing swaps regularly it's really helped to get rid of those seldom-worn items).  My main motivation for doing this is to learn to look at my wardrobe more creatively.  I've never been great at creating "outfits" and accessorizing, and since having kids, I've done even less of that.  Why bother putting together a fun outfit just for hanging out with a preschooler?  Or why bother putting on a cute necklace or scarf if it's just going to get pulled on by little hands??  I'm stuck in a rut, and I'd like to break out of it.  I think this is going to force me to be more creative with my clothes.

So now if you notice me wearing the same thing all the time in October, you'll know why!  I'm planning to take a picture of my outfit each day, and post them here once a week (I'm not good with doing daily posts so I figured once a week would be better).  I'm excited for this challenge.  What about you??  Anyone want to join me???


Laura Bollinger said...

Interesting idea! I like it! My friend is a professional image consultant and assures me that you can wear any and all neutrals together (black, brown, grey, white), so yes, black and brown together are okay! I never really knew either and sometimes still doubt it, haha!

Andrea said...

Hmmm....intriguing idea - and I will look forward to seeing what you all come up with. But I've been so excited to make use of my fall wardrobe again, I can't bear the thought of just accessorizing around ONE dress for a whole month! :)

Anonymous said...

I think it's a great idea!
You can do it!

Melissa said...

What an awesome idea. I would totally do this with you if I wasn't about to give birth any moment..... I am having a hard enough time finding anything that fits me in my closet:)

I love buying second hand, it's so much better on so many levels:)

Can't wait to see what you come up with friend!