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Three Months Of #JustOneDress (or Taming The Dress)

And so it has happened. Three months into #JustOneDress and the question I have been anticipating has finally been uttered. After a week back in Singapore at my parents’ home, my trusty black dress is starting to elicit curiosity (and some worry!).

A few nights ago, I was preparing to head out for dinner with friends. As I put on my socks, my father watched me with a puzzled look on his face. On hindsight, I think he was unsure how to phrase his question, so worried he was about possibly insulting me.

“Don’t you have any other dresses?” he finally asked, bewildered and ever so slightly concerned for the sanity of his daughter.

It was a funny first encounter with someone who knew nothing about #JustOneDress.

For people not in the loop of this project, there is some curiosity about wearing the same dress everyday. It is never a big deal, but it does prompt questions. For example, my sweet 11-year-old niece kindly pointed out that I had on the same dress two days in a row. It was nothing more than an innocent observation, tinged slightly with a tone of triumph because she had seen through my efforts to disguise the dress. Clever girl!

#JustOneDress — Three Months In

So far, #JustOneDress has been extremely fun. The easy routine of knowing exactly what I will wear each day is made more interesting by the creative process (I use this term loosely) of choosing different accessories and add-ons.

Washing and maintaining a rotation of three clean dresses has been easy, and I truly believe it would be completely feasible as a properly long-term venture.

At the moment, I am neither bored nor frustrated by my limited sartorial choices.

Taming The Dress

The dress itself is unassuming, simple and wonderfully comfortable.

But sometimes, I want more than simple and comfortable. I want to feel sexy, glamorous, wild, fierce, ferocious, and all those other adjectives women’s magazines employ liberally on their covers.

Sadly, I have been conditioned to believe that there are only a few ways to be and feel sexy, glamorous, wild, fierce or ferocious. Among them, showing off my cleavage (or body in general) and keeping up with the latest, most stylish trends.

These are both empowering choices that all women should be able to exercise freely. But surely, they are not the only ways to wield one’s sexuality and sensuality.

Over the last few years especially — after caring for my mum through a mastectomy and breast cancer — I’ve been thinking a lot about how tightly we’ve wound femininity and sexuality with a woman’s breasts.

Yet, I struggle to reframe narrow and sometimes oppressive ideas of beauty, most notably in how I apply them to myself.

A Learning Curve

#JustOneDress started out as a social experiment with the goal of learning about sweatshops and ethical consumption. Yet along the way, it has revealed itself to be a vessel for other thought exercises.

I’m looking forward to digging a little deeper, and to inflating my sometimes feeble sense of self-confidence by relying on nothing else but myself and my little black dress.

You can follow along with #JustOneDress here and read more about it here.

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