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I’m getting excited. I always get excited when I am anticipating something I don’t want to do, but have finally embraced I am going to do anyway. AND, even better, I’m hoping I don’t have to do it alone, that I will be able to convince at least a few of you to join me.

I know I’ve mentioned it before: The dress. The action of dress. Or more so the action of not multiple dresses. I don’t mean going without a dress (You wish! Oh wait, that would be me…I wish)! No, I what I mean is this:

One month. One dress. One cause.

I am taking on the challenge of only wearing one outfit for at least a month. And February seems like a good short month to do this in . . .

An organization called Uniform Project really got the ball rolling with this. A girl bored with her career in advertising decided to wear the same dress for 365 days, and in doing so raised a bunch of money for an organization to provide educations for kids in India. Some of the outfits she made with her dress are atrocious. And I am about to follow her example, becoming a participant of the Uniform Project.

I was actually inspired to try this idea out by some other chick I read about in passing. She did it to raise awareness of extreme poverty. After all, the majority of the world people daily wear the same ruined piece of clothing. Although I can’t for the life of me figure out who this girl is, I agree with her whole-heartily that wearing the same item of clothing just might be noticeable enough to others around us to give us a chance to bring attention to those who are poor. Which, if you know me at all, is something I’m pretty into.

Once upon a time, I used to only wear a few articles of clothing. Back when I was young and spry (well, more accurately, unattached) I worked with a humanitarian missions organization where part of the time I lived out of a very small bag. I actually liked wearing one of my three stained sheet-skirts (sarongs) everyday. They made good potholders and hand towels. But noticeably, I felt free. I liked not having to worry about fitting in or having to decide what would be appropriate to wear. It was okay to wear a large potholder.

Yet, in the rich world, we don’t have the luxury of only having a few things to wear. In the developed world we are expected to conform appropriately while simultaneously radiating our own sense of individualism. We are expected to do this while we are bombarded with beckoning advertisements, descriptions of “cool,” and stores with really big windows (the type of windows that are really automatic sucking doors, luring you to purchase).

One of the most hindering reasons we are not generous is because we are all to some degree controlled by the image we want to project and what we allow ourselves to consume. Some of the others who have tried this Little Black Dress action out, like Project 333 and One Dress Protest, have been doing this to shake themselves from being controlled by stuff. They are kinda on the route to becoming minimalists. Others do it because apparently, the fashion industry isn’t that great for Mother Nature, so their motivation has an environmental twist.

As I try out this Little Black Dress project, my motivation is to both raise awareness and funds to help those in extreme poverty, and to be attempting to loosen the control my stuff and my appearance have in my life. Overall, I will be more free to be generous and probably be more “me.” Ideally, I will be shaped to be a better advocate for the poor and oppressed.

So, how does this work?

The basic idea is that I am going to wear the same main article of clothing for a month. I might wear a ridiculous button, too, which says what I am doing to make it more obvious. When I get a chance I will share about it with those I talk with. I will encourage people to do it with me, and together we will have a fundraising page to give money to organization(s) who are providing relief aid, water, and development in the horn of Africa, where a horrific famine still hasn’t finished its course (look at FWD this Fact to get some of the stats of this famine). I am choosing this cause, related to extreme poverty, because it seems unfair to me that I have many different choices of things to wear while hundreds of millions of people who wear the same thing everyday still don’t even have enough to eat. And in the horn of Africa, there is a large cluster of people who are all still desperate, although thankfully conditions are improving. I know it isn’t poetic or semi-hypothetical, but it is true- Our money literally saves lives.

If you are interested in doing this Little Black Dress action with me, please let me know! This is just my introduction to this action, check out Action: Little Black Dress Pt. 2 (The How) to see to pull this off logistically!

Ideas for Action:

1.) Considering doing the Little Black Dress project with me (or, a little black shirt, or maybe just a boring scarf).

2.) Think of another way you can help us to alleviate extreme poverty or make it more understood while we do this Uniform Project. Here is the donation page:
http://www.crowdrise.com/littleblackdress2012

3.) Learn more about the hunger and famine in the horn of Africa by going to these posts: Famine in the Horn of Africa News and Updates (United Nations),   Drought Relief Update from Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia (World Vision) or the Average Advocate posts, Blog Action Day 2011; Food for Hunger, Hunger Sucks: Understanding The Importance of Food in Developing Nations.

4.) Sign up with me to do the Free Fashion Challenge taking a year-long sabbatical from buying new clothing. Yes, I am doing this too. Well, after I buy the Little Black Dress.

5.) Ask yourself what you really need from what you own. Pack up what you don’t need, donating it to a thrift store whose cause you support, a worthy organization, or a Planet Aid box.

See how this ended: Action Little Black Dress Photos and Overview (2012)
“But if anyone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need and refuses to help- how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let us stop just sayin we love each other; let us really show it by our actions.” 1 John 3:17-18