Last year, I had the absolute pleasure (thanks to the ever-so-wonderful Jennifer Morrison) of getting introduced to what I now consider one of my all time favorite causes: Dressember.
Dressember is a global movement fighting against human trafficking and modern day slavery – “an opportunity to reclaim and reappropriate the dress as a symbol of freedom and power; a flag for the inherent dignity of all people.” What started with its founder, Blythe Hill, executing a simple idea of wearing a dress every day of December to raise awareness has turned into an international phenomenon that has raised over $5 million towards the eradication of slavery and sex trafficking. The concept of wearing a dress (or a tie!) throughout the 31 days of December serves as a massive statement and a very practical conversation starter to educate entire communities about a very real issue.
Joining and participating in Dressember is as easy as it gets, but if you’re as fashionably challenged as I am, coming up with creative ways to sport a dress for a whole 31 days can quickly become rather challenging. This is where my blog post comes in! I’m going to be sharing the
not-so-top secret tips and tricks I’ve gathered throughout these past few months on how to manage Dressember without the need to make an overwhelming wardrobe commitment.
Shocker, am I right? Obviously Dressember promotes wearing a dress on a daily basis but this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to wear a different dress every day. After all, the point of the cause is to raise money for human trafficking, not spend it on trying to afford an entire new wardrobe. Don’t be afraid of repeating dresses! What’s so great about this is that dresses have the potential to be utterly versatile – they can be dressed up or down and can be styled differently depending on the accessories you decide to pair them up with.
- Use the dresses already in your wardrobe and change up the style by using various accessories. Scarfs, belts, tights/leggings, hats, and jackets/cardigans are all great options for this.
Dressember 2017: Same dress and jacket, tights vs. no tights, different shoes
- If you do decide to purchase a few new dresses for the challenge, make sure they’re neutral colored ones, as those are easier to customize to various styles.
- The shoes are essential to this challenge; they’re really what can drastically change up the entire appearance of an outfit. If you have numerous dresses to work with and are (hopefully) planning to repeat them, space them out as best you can and switch up your footwear options to give them a different vibe every time!
Dressember 2017: Same dress, same tights, different shoes
BONUS TIP: If you’re planning to purchase new dresses, try to purchase them from brands that support the fight against human trafficking so you’re consequently double helping the cause! Dressember has some (pre-sale ends on October 1st!), as well as several other brands.
CLICK ON EACH PHOTO FOR PURCHASE LINKS!
I think this is one of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to the Dressember challenge and I’m happy to say that, yes – skirts do count! What I love so much about this option is that not only does it give you a break from wearing dresses every single day, but it also offers lots of new ways to spice up your wardrobe. Skirts tend to be cheaper than dresses and they are even more versatile. Again, if you already own a few, or even just one skirt, put it to good use! Although, if you decide to purchase a new one specifically for the challenge, at least you know you can repeat it more than a handful of times without growing bored of it.
- A simple change of shirt can totally shake up the look of a skirt! Dress the skirt up or down depending on what you’re doing that day.
Dressember 2017: Same skirt, same tights, same jacket, different tops, different shoes
- If purchasing a new skirt(s), aim for neutral colors (preferably black) as that will offer you more options for what tops you can pair them up with. Just like before, if you want to double up your support, consider purchasing them from brands that support anti-human trafficking efforts.
Elegantees has some great skirt options! CLICK HERE TO SHOP
- Because I understand that not everyone lives in Florida like me – where cold weather is basically a rarity – skirts might be trickier than dresses but longer skirts are always a great alternative. Tights also add a classier, cozier touch! For an even more cold-friendly option, add a sweater and a pair of winter boots.
Dressember 2017: Christmas sweater (because you still need to honor the festivities) and winter boots!
BONUS TIP: Guess what skirts go great with? T-SHIRTS! Tees of any kind are such a practical item to pair up with skirts that actually look great. Not only are they easily accessible, but they’re typically inexpensive and you probably already have tons laying around. I loved pairing up t-shirts with skirts during the last round of Dressember and I’m wholeheartedly planning on doing so again this year.
As you can probably tell, I’m all about doubling up on challenges so, to take this bonus tip even further, pair your skirt(s) with tops from anti-human trafficking brands!
CLICK ON EACH PHOTO FOR PURCHASE LINKS!
Accessories accentuate both dresses and skirts and are yet another way to spice up any outfit. You could practically wear the same solid colored dress all 31 days and change it up by solely altering the types of accessories you choose to wear.
- BOW TIES – because wearing dresses is not the only way to participate! Dressember encourages everyone to get involved (yes, men, I’m looking at you) so the option of wearing bow ties/ties is available to everyone. Bow ties are a unique way to style your outfits and provide a change of pace.
- Scarves and hats can offer extra warmth for those colder climates while still keeping your outfit fashionable. They are also great for repeating outfits! Bonus points if you purchase them from great and helping brands – like Citizen & Darling or Freeset – whose products benefit trafficking victims.
- When the word ‘accessories’ is mentioned, one thing comes to mind: Jewelry. Jewelry comes incredibly handy when attempting to dress up a previously casual dress/skirt. It even works for dressing down an outfit, depending on the type of jewelry you choose to use. It’s cost effective, as you can find cheap pieces in various sites and locations, and most of us have random pieces just laying around anyway. There are also tons of charitable options out there, if you do want to purchase some new items.
If you wish to go all out to support the cause with what you wear, check out my other blog post where I share a list of 51 FASHION BRANDS THAT FIGHT HUMAN TRAFFICKING!
Although I’m aware that not everyone is able to participate in Dressember, I do hope that those planning to be involved are no longer overwhelmed by the idea of having to style 31 days worth of outfits and acknowledge just how easy it is to incorporate the same dresses and/or skirts throughout the length of the month. If you fall into the category of officially being unable to participate in this year’s round of the Dressember challenge, I have some further resources that could be beneficial if you’re still looking for a way to help!
Dressember – although an astounding organization that I’m so proud to be able to annually support – is not the only way to get involved with anti-human trafficking efforts. The following are other organizations working towards improving the lives of trafficking and exploitation victims and putting an end to modern day slavery:
“We join forces with the sharpest minds from tech, non-profit, government and law enforcement. We work to stop the spread of child sexual abuse material and stand up to child traffickers.”
“Polaris is a leader in the global fight to eradicate modern slavery. Named after the North Star that guided slaves to freedom in the U.S., Polaris systemically disrupts the human trafficking networks that rob human beings of their lives and their freedom. Our comprehensive model puts victims at the center of what we do – helping survivors restore their freedom, preventing more victims, and leveraging data and technology to pursue traffickers wherever they operate.”
“ZOE fights against child trafficking in three ways: prevention, rescue, and restoration. Our goal is to rescue children from human traffickers and provide the children with new life. With currently 20.9 million victims of human trafficking worldwide, ZOE makes every effort to rescue children in need. From spreading child trafficking awareness to feeding and educating human trafficking survivors, ZOE does everything it can to ensure the safety and well-being of children.”
“Our mission is to end slavery. We are a nonprofit organization fueled by radical hope that human beings everywhere will be rescued from bondage and completely restored. We are the abolitionist of the 21st century. We work with you to free slaves and disrupt demand.”
“Love146 is an international human rights organization working to end child trafficking and exploitation through survivor care and prevention. The trafficking and exploitation of children is one of the darkest stories and most severe human rights abuses imaginable. But for us, the hope of ending it is a reality. Love146 is helping grow the movement to end child trafficking while providing effective, thoughtful solutions. We believe in the power of love and its ability to effect sustainable change. Love is the foundation of our motivation.”
“GABRIELA National Alliance of Women is a grassroots-based alliance of more than 200 organizations, institutions, desks and programs of women all over the Philippines seeking to wage a struggle for the liberation of all oppressed Filipino women and the rest of our people. While we vigorously campaign on women-specific issues such as women’s rights, gender discrimination, violence against women and women’s health and reproductive rights, GABRIELA is also at the forefront of national and international economic and political issues that affects women.”