Hello everyone!

If you haven’t yet seen my latest video, my best friend Jess and I are doing a challenge this month called Dressember. We are both wearing a dress for 31 days (all of December) to raise money for two organizations, the International Justice Mission and A21, who help victims of sexual exploitation, human trafficking and other abuses. Dressember is about women’s freedom and our right to live vibrant and autonomous lives. If you want to donate and help support the cause you can visit our page to find out more information!

We just finished the first week of wearing dresses and wanted to share with you our thoughts! Spoiler – It hasn’t been as easy as we thought it would be – we both miss pants already!

Jessica’s First Week Thoughts

My first week in the Dressember Challenge! I’m not going to lie, I miss pants. I underestimated the comfort and ease of pants. I don’t think I’ve ever seriously thought about having a restriction on what I wore or really what it meant to just be able to CHOOSE, to have the FREEDOM to wear whatever I liked.

Let’s start with some of the more shallow realizations from this week:

  • I don’t have enough dresses to wear for a month NOR things to accessorize them with. Too many party dresses not enough casual wear. I am really looking forward to the arrival of the Dressember Dress!
  • I LOVE MY PANTS. I have at least 30 pairs of pants, and I love and miss all of them.
  • December is cold in Canada! Tights are my new best friend.
  • I love tackling this challenge with my best friend! The excitement of new donations and the trials of ripped pantyhose are much better with company.

Now for the heavy stuff:

  1. I am surprised how little I knew on the subject of human trafficking and sexual exploitation, and I’m not the only one! Now I haven’t been involved in anything like this before (fundraising) but I am truly motivated by the fact that I have already learned so much and been able to share this in my tiny circle. The monetary goal is one thing but I already feel like I have brought awareness to a subject that needed more light shed on it.
  2. Being in an uncomfortable or challenging position (however minute) of having to wear the same thing everyday is a constant reminder that so many women are enduring much harsher conditions, every, day. That alone is a reminder of how lucky I am and that this is a cause that needs a solution, now.
  3. The social media on this endeavour is incredible! Not only do I FEEL the solidarity with THOUSANDS of women around the world but you get to SEE it everyday. Posts, pictures, quotes and stories, shared in everyway, on multiple mediums. It’s incredible. AND the founder of this movement Blythe Hill is posting an image of herself everyday in the Dressember dress. The encouragement and empowerment is everywhere. It’s incredible!

All and all this is one band wagon I’m glad I got on!

#itsmorethanadress #guelphdoesdressember

Courtney’s First Week Thoughts

I was honestly shocked at how quickly I got sick of wearing a dress – only three days in and I was already thinking about how much I missed pants. Especially on lazy days where I just want to be comfy and hangout in my leggings. It made me realize how much I take the luxury of being able to choose what I wear every day for granted – which is ridiculous for me to even say because I still am getting a choice! I can choose which dress I wear and how I wear it. Limiting my choice of attire even just slightly to one type of garment has made me feel incredibly restricted and given me a small glimpse as to what a privilege it is to live in such a wonderfully safe and free country like Canada. So many women around the world are forced into slavery, stripped of their most basic right to choose and have control over their own body.

Dressember sent us an email this week with a story of six women who were rescued by the International Justice Mission in Mumbai. They were found trapped inside a crawlspace measuring only about 5 feet wide and 2.5 ft high, hidden inside the wall of a brothel. These women were raped, beaten, forced to sleep with 6 or 7 male customers a day, and refused food or water. They were under constant surveillance and one had not been outside or seen the sunlight in over 3 months. They had no choice. They had no freedom. And here I am complaining about having to wear a dress – a comfortable, perfectly acceptable dress. It certainly did put it all in perspective. Restricting myself even in just the slightest has reminded me of how incredibly lucky I am and how we must all strive to make this world better. We must continue to fight to ensure that women around the world have the right to live autonomous and vibrant lives. We must support the work of organizations like IJM who fight for these women, to ensure their safety and their ability to receive justice. 

You can read the full story of these women, their rescure and how IJM has been heen helping them on their journey back to living free, normal lives here.

It is only the first week and people are already noticing. Friends are holding me accountable – checking to make sure I am wearing a dress when I see them. A girlfriend of mine even bent under the table at lunch to make sure I was wearing one! It made me laugh and showed me that people do pay attention. I am having conversations with people about what Dressember means and why I am doing this. Jess and I are helping to spread the word, even in our own way. 

I am excited for the rest of the month. I am excited to learn more about these incredible organizations and what we can do to help. I am excited to push myself to continue to be uncomfortable and raise awareness about the Dressember movement. I am excited to be creative and find ways to make better use of my clothing and the dresses I already have – which feel like no where near enough! I must admit – I did break down and buy one new dress from H&M this week, but I want to avoid the temptation to buy any others! It is the cliche of feeling like you have nothing to wear when staring at a closet full of clothes. I know I have enough dresses to last me a few more weeks of wear, but it is the shallow temptation to want to look different and feel pretty that makes me want more. I hope that the added personal benefit of doing this will also be to help me to try and adapt a more minimalist approach – being creative with what I already have rather than trying to replace it with something new and shiny. Less consumerism and new things is better for the planet!

Overall, it was a good week. A little tough but definitely worth it in the end. 

Please consider donating to our team and supporting the #GuelphDoesDressember movement. We are almost halfway towards our $1000 goal! Thank you so much to those who have already donated – your support means so much. You can also follow our daily outfits and post on Instagram – click on the above photos to see our accounts and more pictures!

We will see you all next week for our week two thoughts and update!

Love,

Courtney & Jess