Last month, I participated in Dressember for the first time. For the entire month of December, I wore a dress every single day to raise awareness for human trafficking. In the process, I learned a lot about the injustices being committed around the world, including here at home, and the work being done to rescue those trapped in modern-day slavery.
At the end of the month, over $800,000 was raised by Dressember participants to support the efforts of A21 and the International Justice Mission in their fight against human trafficking. It was incredible to know that I was part of a worldwide movement to change lives and create social change. Beyond what I learned about human trafficking, I learned even more about the world and myself, in the process.
Wearing a dress every day for 31 days, made me realize that I really enjoy wearing dresses! For seven years, I wore a uniform of pants and a button-up shirt or polo, almost every day. Then, a year ago, I quit my job to work from home, and my everyday attire essentially became gym clothes. Even going out on the weekends, the most I would get dressed up would be a nice shirt and jeans. And, church was the same way!
I was caught in a casual, comfortable rut.
But, Dressember changed all that. Wearing dresses on a regular basis made me feel good! I actually looked forward to getting dressed each day, instead of lingering in my pajamas till the afternoon! (Terrible, but true.) Changing my wardrobe caused me to make more of an effort with my appearance in general, and, as a result, I felt and appeared more confident. I stood up straighter and smiled more, something pointed out to me by both my husband, who appreciated seeing me dressed up more often, and my mother. It’s a big deal when the people around you start taking notice!
Dressember taught me that we should dress how we want to feel. Not to draw attention to yourself or for it to become a source of pride, but because we feel good when we take care of ourselves and that includes dressing like the beautiful creatures we are. This was an important lesson and reminder for me, though not exactly the takeaway I expected to get from the experience.
During Dressember, my Instagram feed was full of women (and men!), demanding dignity for all people. I found out that there were good people all over the world that have something in common with me. We all want to see an end to human trafficking. So we banded together, liking each other’s photos and sharing each other’s posts to get the word out. We even contributed to each other’s campaigns, in some cases! Seeing so many people come together to do good and help those in need, reaffirmed for me that, even in a dark and sometimes cruel world, love and compassion are alive and well, and they’re making a difference. I’ve heard enough rescue stories from human-trafficking survivors to know it’s true.
What did a month of dresses teach me? That every one of us is wonderfully made, and we should celebrate that by taking better care of ourselves and honor that by fighting for those that can’t fight for themselves.
Not to mention, wear more dresses! 🙂