One Dress Protest is me, Kristy Powell, wearing one dress for one year in order to protest the ideas and motivations behind how and why I wear my clothes. Over the year I aim to challenge the ways identity is constructed through clothing, what sustainability means for consumption, how our perception of others is so often based on external presentation, and what “fashion” ultimately means for me going forward.

Jan 7 11
{day 5}

This Week in the Dress and on the Web

This week… in the dress:

It hasn’t been a full week yet for my One Dress Protest but I thought I’d post on Fridays about the previous week lived in the dress. This week was unique indeed.

Day 1: On January 3rd, 2011, I put on my dress for the first time. As I posted that day, I felt snazzy.

Day 2: It felt less strange to put the same dress on again the next morning than I thought it might. Initially I was worried that the kids at my job at the psych-hospital would comment that my clothes were the same as the day before (and I really need to keep from being an attention-getter in that setting). Thankfully, none of them have seemed to notice as far as I can tell, so we’ll see how that fares in the weeks to come.

Day 3: Full disclosure… I sweated a lot in my dress on day 3. Ugh. Of course, this made me anxious, which probably is what lead to me sweating even more. And to top it off, I spilled split-pea soup on my dress at lunch. I am a bona fide food spiller, tried and true. Russ’ over-under on when I would spill something on myself was actually four days. Naturally, he had called “under,” and got a chuckle out of being right.

On day three I also started to worry about the longevity required of my dress, which by Wednesday had 362 more days left to go. Less silly, though, was my noticing how I felt more fashionable these last few days than I had felt in a long while. I welcomed the complements and hopefully accepted them graciously, but as the week wore on I became a little frustrated. I was quickly realizing that in the last six months, or ever since I had made the decision to wear one dress for the year of 2011, I had put absolutely no effort into my attire. I figured anything I bought or cherished would be stored away for a long while over the next year so it was only futile to give anything I presently wore very much attention. Hence, this week wearing my cute vegan shoes, my tighter leggings to stay warm, and my black dress I probably seemed more flattering and fashionable than the last six months combined. You can imagine this felt a little defeating; how can someone “fast from fashion” when they feel more fashionable during said “fast” than they did the previous year?

Yet Russ reminded me that while I may feel this way now, once I give the dress some time the utter lack of options is sure to begin nagging at me, and my dress’ newness is sure to wear away. And ultimately, the people who think I’m cute now will soon either a) stop noticing, b) stop caring, or c) just think I’m gross.

Day 4: On day four I wore my first (dun dun dun) “accessory.” While I’ll post more about my thoughts on accessories next week, today I wore a hand-made knitted scarf to keep me warm at work.

Also, later in the day when I went to teach Pilates for five hours and had to wear teaching attire I actually missed my dress. There’s a first time for everything, right? That feeling is also likely to disappear, though, sooner rather than later I’d imagine.

And this week… on the web:

Along with my weekly dress round-ups, I thought I’d also devote a little time each week to weekly web round-ups as well. For starters, this first edition of links is definitely a little old. I’ve been saving them for months now because they’ve either encouraged me or impacted me somehow during the preparation for my own project. For those of you new to the minimalist fashion arena, these links are a great resource to get up-to-speed not only on what I’ve personally been reading, but also the wide world of minimalism on the web (of which these links are a small window into).

Shoppers on a “Diet” Tame the Urge to Buy; from the New York Times — This was encouraging for me while I was preparing for the undertaking my own project (which, of course, initially felt like a seriously crazy idea).

Six Items or Less NBC Interview — After telling one friend of my intentions to wear one dress for a year she called me a couple weeks later sounding even more confidant in my idea after seeing this interview on TV. Six Items or Less is a great resource and is featured here on the One Dress Protest on the Join In page.

Wear Your Love — I just really appreciate their message, which attends to “reminding people to value and cherish their clothes.” That is, the clothes we already have.

If you are toying with the idea of pairing down your wardrobe, this is a great read.

How to Live in the Land of Enough – Space — This is a really helpful break down of how and why we need to purge our closets or other spaces of excess. It was written by the wonderful Courtney Carver of Project 333, which is also listed here on the Join In page.

Fear, Exposed – Featuring Tammy Strobel — This post was also very helpful to me as I inched closer to January 3rd, attempting to hold my fears at bay. Tammy Stroble of Rowdy Kittens, whom this post features, is also a blogger I follow and whose influence I really appreciate.

As for the weekend, I’m jetting off to the wonderful Charleston, South Carolina (alone, much to Russ’ chagrin) tomorrow and need to get packing. Something tells me, though, that packing won’t be that difficult this time around.

Have a great weekend!

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  1. Oooh, you’re braving the south in the same dress everyday?! I am loving the scarf.

    • Seriously. I’ve already discovered people comment more freely on each others clothes here. Makes me more nervous to see the same people tomorrow.

  2. Sounds like an interesting first week.
    It certainly makes you stop and think about the impact that clothes have in our lives.
    I just went out for dinner tonight and found myself standing at the wardrobe trying to decide what to wear- is that dressy enough? is that too fancy? does the colour match and the patterns?
    I guess you won’t have that problem for the next year. And packing clothes to go away won’t be an issue either.
    Keep smiling.

    • It certainly is requiring me to stop and think about that impact, profoundly so.

      And what you describe, David, about questioning your outfitting options was a MAJOR contributor to my decision to protest. I felt as though I was always thinking and questioning if some item/outfit was too much or not enough of something. I think I was truly asking if I were too much or not enough. And now after writing that to you in this comment I know I need to really think through that more.

      Smiling away.

  3. I have to say I am pretty impressed with your 1 dress and hardly any accessories! After my 1st week, I’m feeling pretty good about all my 6 (really 8) items, too.
    But one question…where do you live that you are ok to be wearing just short sleeves right now?!

    • Six is ridiculously impressive. And if it is what feels right to you, then that is what matters about the number of items.

      I live in New Haven, CT. It is freezing and covered in snow. I have been wearing my big scarf as an indoor sweater. But I find it tends to be warmer inside in the winter with the heat on anyhow. And of course I wear a coat and the whole deal outside. I also have one sweater and one cardigan held out as options. So I don’t just have one item (the dress). I have very few, it’s just that I’m wearing the dress every day.

  4. Oh man, so many good links to visit.

    I consider myself a minimalist wannabe and am currently making a list of all the appearance related items I am not allowing myself to buy this year.

    This is so exciting to me!

    • I’d love to hear what and why you are limiting yourself from consuming this year. I love to keep up with what readers are doing/not doing with regard to their clothing consumption. Let’s keep the conversation going, Leah.

      I’m excited by your excitement. Ha.

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