It really is bigger than a dress.
Dressember’s hashtag for the event is true in many ways.
I find that when we live small, we really live big. It’s the small stuff that means more. Wearing dresses on repeat is no exception. Here are a few takeaways from participating in Dressember that have shown me “it’s bigger than a dress.”
While the main goal of Dressember is raising money to support organizations who are fighting to end human trafficking, the other goal is raising awareness.
And it’s not just raising awareness for others (as I hope this did for you), but for participants as well. Wearing a dress daily forced me to remember why I was doing it. It forced me to think about, and pray for, those caught in trafficking.
I spent many nights falling asleep, thinking about women who would wake up in the morning, knowing their day would involve strange man after strange man. I chose makeup some days and not others, knowing that for many women, looking a certain way for their “clients” is a necessity. I watched my children sleep peacefully, knowing there were children everywhere who had anything but peace in their lives, forced to slave labor, or forced to expose themselves sexually or commit sexual acts.
I’ve prayed for victims. I’ve cried for victims. But probably more than anything is I’ve sat with God in silence, not knowing how to form words for the massive issue of human trafficking. I’ve asked what more I can do and I wait for His guidance.
Increased desire to shop small
As my awareness for the reality of human trafficking increased throughout the month, so did my desire to support companies who are making a difference for those freed from trafficking. Companies like Elegantees and Imagine Goods, who provide much-needed employment for women after they have been freed. Companies like The Root Collective and Ten Thousand Villages who provide fair income and wages to help in prevention. It’s increased my desire to continue to find other companies to share with you so together we can all shop small and shop with intention. You can find a list of companies where your purchases can make a difference in my Shop Small Directory.
Increased appreciation for dresses
While this might seem silly, the reality is true. I’m much more for jeans and tees. I really only wear dresses in the summer, and even then, not that often. So choosing to wear a dress in the winter forced a little creativity and I certainly wore things I would not normally have, like long shirts over sleeveless dresses. Seriously, I never would have done that before.
Dresses and leggings are actually rather comfortable to wear. And even dresses and sweatpants work when you’re just around the house.
Freedom from wondering what to wear
We’ve all had that feeling of waking up in the morning and staring at the closet and wondering what to wear. When you know you have to wear a dress, then that’s what you wear! And sure, you have to decide what to wear with it, but when your dress is the main choice, the rest is easy.
While I am happy to put on jeans and regular shirts, I certainly do have a new appreciation for a dress.
The ease of a simplified wardrobe
I have plans to write more about the idea of a minimalist wardrobe but participating in Dressember is certainly an easy way to make that happen. I had 6 dresses I rotated throughout the month, one being a very “dressy” one that I maybe wore twice. So I mostly wore 5 of them. I had three pairs of legging and one pair of jeans I rotated through. A few sweaters and a scarf. A few long-sleeved shirts. And warm boots mostly since it’s cold in December. If I add all those pieces up, I rotated less than 20 pieces altogether. And I never once felt like I was “missing” out or even tired of what I wore.
While this isn’t the place for elaboration, our culture owns too much clothing in general. I look forward to continuing a minimalist approach to clothing.
Together we can do more
When you look at an issue that’s as huge as human trafficking, it’s easy to feel helpless, like what you do doesn’t really matter. When you think that there are millions trapped, it’s easy to not do anything because you assume what you do doesn’t matter. I think that’s the voice of the enemy, making us believe that our small acts don’t make a difference.
Think about this though: 6 lovely ladies joined my team and together we raised almost $2000. We joined several hundred teams around the world who together raised almost $1.5 million dollars, enough to free almost 300 from slavery. For those individuals, the small act of wearing a dress matters.
If we listen to the voice that says what we do doesn’t matter, we’ll never do anything and then it really won’t matter. But if we declare that no matter how small our acts, no matter how little it seems in the scale of life, we go after that which matters. And we really do make a difference.
I’m convinced ever so much that it’s the small things we do that matter. God can take our small acts and turn them into something much bigger than we can imagine on our own. Take steps to do something, no matter how small or insignificant it seems.
If the idea of Dressember intrigued you and you weren’t able to participate this year, have no fear! Next year it will come around again and I hope you’ll join us! And these organizations don’t just need our help one month. You can donate any time of year to places like IJM and A21. No matter how small the amount, it makes a difference in the life of a real person.