For all of my life’s proudest and most memorable moments, I’ve worn a dress.
My university graduation.
My first public speaking gig.
Call me a “girly girl” all you want but dresses have always made me feel confident and powerful. But unfortunately, there’s many women around the world that currently do not have the opportunity to experience such moments.
So when I was invited to become an advocate for the Dressember campaign, it was a no brainer.
According to the International Justice Mission, “there are more than 40 million people in slavery today”. That’s a large, scary number. But, through reclaiming the symbol of a dress, we can begin to bring more awareness to slavery and sex trafficking industry, ultimately dismantling it and restoring the dignity of the many female victims worldwide.
Here’s a little background on the campaign:
In 2005, Blythe Hill began to learn about the issue of sex trafficking but wasn’t exactly sure what she could do to help. At the time, she was a fashion blogger and wanted to come up with a way to leverage her fashion background to make a difference. She challenged herself to wear a dress every single day in December (coining the name ‘Dressember’) and year after year, more friends and then friends of friends began to join in until it developed into a full-fledged collaborative movement, leveraging fashion and creativity to restore dignity to all women.
Amazing, right? Well, here’s how the campaign works:
From December 1 – 31, each woman that participates pledges to take on the creative challenge of wearing a dress. No, skirts do not count – a full dress each and every day in the month of December. You also sign up on the Dressember website to create your own fundraising page that brings attention to your personal campaign and allows you to raise funds based on a fundraising goal that you set.
The funds are then put towards efforts such as relief, recovery and resources for the victims. After-care and rescue operations require the most funding as of course, it takes an extensive amount of time and money to safely free victims and provide them with the long-term care they need to restore their health and dignity.
How you can show your support
There are two ways that you can participate:
1) Commit to wearing a dress every day in December and create your own fundraising campaign
This is what I’ve opted to do and you can view my fundraising page here. My goal is to raise a minimum of $350 – let’s make it happen! I’ll be sharing my dresses on social media everyday (you should too!) so be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter. A few hashtags that you should use are: #IJM #IJMCanada #ItsBiggerThanADress #Dressember #UntilAllAreFree
To learn more and to sign up, click here.
2) Advocate and donate
Maybe you’re not up for the creative challenge of wearing a dress for 31 days this year but you can still show your support by spreading the word about the campaign and donating whatever you can to this important initiative. Every single dollar counts.
*Please note: Dressember is an organization based in the US and as a result tax receipts cannot be issued for Canadian donations.
How I’m preparing for it
31 days of dresses? Now, that’s certainly a creative challenge! It may sound like it will be difficult (especially if you’re located in a cold climate like I am) but interestingly enough, I find that I actually wear more dresses in the winter! There’s nothing I love more than layering a dress with my trusty pairs of fleece-lined tights. I’m really looking forward to this challenge to not only become a Dressember advocate but as a personal challenge to see how creative I can get with my wardrobe. You don’t need 31 different dresses to get through Dressember – just a few (I say anywhere between 5-10 is good) that you can add layers and accessories to in order to create a unique look each time you wear them.
These are the items that I consider to be essential for this challenge:
- A few pairs of fleece-lined tights (you can typically pick these up at a store like Winners or Marshalls (probably Target too, for my US friends) or even your local drugstore (Canadians – I’ve picked them up at Shoppers Drug Mart before). Basically, you can look at any store where you can get tights.
- A few pairs of coloured tights (I currently have a light pink and dark pink pair but I plan to pick up a few more colours from Charming Charlie to add to my collection)
- Earrings and necklaces
- Striped tops
If you have all of these already – you’re good to go! If not, I recommend taking advantage of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals coming up so that you can stock up on any additional items.
Yes, the issue of sex trafficking and slavery is bigger than a dress but we can certainly use a dress to make a difference. I hope you’ll join me in making it happen.
Note: This post is not sponsored – I was invited to learn more about the campaign and ultimately made the decision to become involved. I’m not receiving compensation for this and all thoughts shared are my own.
Photography by Gooseberry Studios.