The Dress Project

October 10, 2009 by 1mama  
Filed under Loving


So I’ve been wearing the same green dress for the last five days to participate in The October Dress Project, a project that started from the inspiration from The Little Brown Dress and The Uniform Project. It’s a month of ‘fasting from our clothes’ in efforts to re-prioritize and think creatively with the things (in this case, clothes) we’ve been given.

A few disclaimers: 1) I’m not nearly as fashion-forward as most of the women are who are wearing their dresses for one year and because their dresses and accessories are so versatile, they never look like they’re wearing the same thing day after day, and 2) I’m not one of those super-hip, super eco-friendly, re-purpose everything sort of gals. I’m a mom of 2 and a grad student on the side, but I figured that even though I don’t buy many clothes for myself (still trying to get that pregnancy weight off!), that there’s something to be gained by wearing the same dress every day.

What, you ask, is the point of wearing the same thing every day? For starters, it’s a practice in reorientation. Though given the stage of life I’m in — mother of two little ones — I don’t normally spend much time on my appearance, wearing the same green dress every day enables me still care about my appearance — after all, I try to make the same thing look different each day — and to learn to care about my appearance through the lens of stewardship. I admit “retail therapy” has appeal; even buying small, inexpensive things like red nail polish can instantly make me feel better about myself. Not only am I being prideful that I’m being frugal by only buying nail polish but I’m also finding my satisfaction in things at some level, so you can see, I’m a mess. But, wearing the same dress every day helps reorient that default position of my heart — finding satisfaction by outward things, whether clothes, or nail polish or what other people think of me — and in turn, leaves room for much more. It reminds me that I don’t need much, that I don’t need a closet full of clothes and that a green dress can serve as my ‘daily bread’. It inspires me to be creative with what I have rather than longingly flipping through magazines wishing I had ‘that’ thing.

My green dress isn’t going to change the world, and it probably won’t change my immediate community — after all, most of my friends think it’s pretty cool, if they even notice I’ve worn the same thing the last several days in a row. And it likely isn’t going to change my life that I begin to really enact the art of the commonplace in my daily life — again, my life is besot with little sticky hands and dishes! and laundry! — but I do hope that my practice of wearing this green dress will cause me to pause and consider that when I’m quick to complain to instead think not only of the copiousness of what I’ve been given, but also of what I can offer and with small means and imagination, how something ordinary can become beautiful and new.

Reposted from The Lion Rampant.