Column: My try at the One Dress Protest
Aug. 30, 2011
The opinions expressed by The Maneater columnists do not represent the opinions of The Maneater editorial board.
A couple of weeks ago, I read that The Situation and other members of the “Jersey Shore” cast were being offered money by Abercrombie just to not wear their clothes.
Inspired by such a lucrative fast from "fashion," I decided to offer myself money in the form of unused laundry quarters to not wear a lot of my own clothes.
It's a bit of a stretch, but in my search to find things to do and write about, I stumbled across an article that a friend of mine wrote about this thing called the "One Dress Protest," a movement started by a woman named Kristy Powell.
As she mentions on her blog, Powell is wearing only one dress for an entire year as a "fast from fashion" to protest things she finds ethically questionable in today's fashion industry, including advertising techniques and unsustainable patterns of clothing consumption.
After reading her blog, my friend decided to participate in the protest for a month, wearing a white V-neck and khaki shorts instead of a dress, to experiment with the concept of minimalist fashion and support her cause.
Being a humble weekly columnist, I decided to try my hand at the One Dress Protest for a week, also wearing a white V-neck and khaki shorts in lieu of a dress.
As I'm writing this, I'm currently on day five, and I'm already feeling the impact of the experiment. Sure, wearing the same thing a few days in a row in college isn't really that out of the ordinary (any shackers out there?), but I think the most revealing aspect of my little week-long experiment is how little people tend to notice.
Over the course of these past five days, I've seen a lot of the same people, and I've been wearing the same clothes. (Note: Thanks to the economically friendly nature of white V-necks, I've been able to change into a fresh one everyday for hygiene's sake).
But unless I'm completely oblivious or people feel too bad for me to say anything, I haven't caught any odd looks or gotten any comments about what I've been wearing, which has reaffirmed something I’ve been thinking about for the past few months.
Having a vast wardrobe of fancy clothes, at least for an average guy like myself, isn’t really all that important to how much people like me.
I could’ve gone out and bought seven new shirts to wear this week, and the money I spent on them and the time I put into picking out the best combination of shorts/pants/shoes to wear with them wouldn’t have made a noticeable or worthwhile difference in my relationships with the people I’m around.
Like Facebook for my social life, clothes can serve as a crutch when I interact with other people. Making friends without Facebook requires a little more direct initiative and face-to-face interaction, and presenting myself favorably while wearing the same, simple outfit day after day also requires some personality compensation.
Aside from pushing myself to try something different in my social life, I’ve started noticing how long I can actually last without doing laundry if I wore every one of my shirts instead of just two or three of my favorites.
Even after cutting down on how much I brought to college from last year to this year, I still have enough shirts to go a few weeks without repeating one, and a lot of them don’t get worn more than once or twice a month.
I’m sure if someone were to sneak a few of them out of my closet, I would probably never notice, or at least take a while to do so.
If that’s the case, and I feel perfectly happy wearing white V-necks all week, then why do I insist on owning so many shirts anyway?
Since a lot of them do nothing but take up hangers and closet space, I’m sure I could do myself a favor by donating them, and do someone else a favor in the process.
And let’s face it: laundry sucks, and I definitely won’t be complaining about the extra time or all my unused laundry quarters.