I Wore A Dress 31 Days in A Row and Here's What I Learned
Hey, Sophie here!
You may remember me from that hit HGTV show, Weekend Warriors, where my family and I remodeled our living room on cable television in 2004 (true story, ask my mom).
Anywho, this month I participated in Dressember, a social challenge to raise funds for victims of human trafficking. I simply got sponsors to support me as I attempted to wear a dress every day in December.
When people asked why I got so dressed up, I drove them to donate to my fundraising page.
I’ll admit –I had fun, but not without having my faith and creativity challenged. Here’s 31 things I learned along the way.
1: Enthusiasm Is Energizing
Someone once told me, “For the least dramatic person I know, you’re pretty dramatic.” Still trying to decode that one, but I think they were trying to say I’m generally pretty mellow. I guess when I get excited about something, it’s fairly obvious. As I prepped for Dressember, I was surprised to see my friends and family quickly rally behind me. It was one big encouragement party complete with gushiness, sappy feelings, and unicorn kisses. When you’re passionate about something, people take notice. Try it - it worked for me.
2: It Pays To Be Classy (Literally)
My co-worker commented on the second day, “You’re looking very sharp today, Sophie!” I thanked her, explained Dressember, and she donated $50.00 on the spot! Hashtag shook.
3: Comparison Is The Thief Of Joy
^A former art director tweeted that once. I don’t know if he came up with that nifty thought, but I remember the sentiment sticking with me. You see, my friend also participating in Dressember raised over $150.00 in the first two days. I was what my sister calls “upsetti-spaghetti.” How was I going to reach my goal of raising $350.00?! Well, at the week’s end, I raised over $500.00. Suck it, comparison!
4: You Can Wear Pants With Dresses
This one seems pretty obvious, but I never had extensive practice. The cuteness of a dress with the practicality of pants pockets…heart eyes emoji.
5: Just Ask
You’d be surprised how willing people are to give if you just ask. It’s like Jesus says in Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” It also doesn’t hurt if it’s your birthday ;)
6: Sometimes No One Is Available To Take Your Photo
That is why they invented selfie cameras.
7: Those Cats In Outer Space Leggings You Bought From Target Like Three Years Ago Will Come In Handy
There is a trend going on now called “konmari” where people get rid of things that are no longer useful to them. It’s supposed to discourage hoarding. Fortunately, I don't practice that because my Clifton Stengthsfinder test results says people with the “Input” strength tend to collect objects and ideas or something. Anyways, it surprisingly gets cold in December in California, so I was glad I kept those cat-in-outer-space leggings for an (almost) rainy day.
8: Stop Settling For Mediocre
By Day 3, I had already raised $350.00 through the generosity of others. I was content to stop there, so I could say I achieved my original fundraising goal. But since I had the whole month ahead of me, I was encouraged by close friends to raise the bar. So, I set out to raise $500.00
9: You Have More Influence Than You Think
Welp, by Day 7, I had reached my new goal of $500.00. I was pretty surprised that people were as passionate about this cause as I was. So I decided to double my goal and shoot for $1000.00
10: Shirt Dresses TOTALLY Count
Since I don’t actually own 31 dresses, I did resort to some shirt dress/jeans combos. Some of my patrons tried to reason that these were not true dresses, but I respectfully disagree. What’s in a name, as Shakespeare implores in Romeo and Juliet? The word DRESS, that’s what!
11: Stay Humble
When you see donations actually come through, it’s easy to get prideful. There’s a line from one of my favorite songs, “Difference Maker” by Needtobreathe, that says “And he climbs on up the hill on the rock on which he stands / He looks back at the crowd / He looks down at his hands and he says / I am a difference maker…/ Oh, I am the only one who speaks to Him / I am the friendliest of friends of God.” There is danger when we let our self-righteousness masquerade as “Christian charity.” Every true victory we achieve can be traced back to God. It’s easy to think we achieved success with our own two hands. Let us instead remember that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” - James 1:17
12: Let’s Face It – Us Millennials Are Broke
I posted about Dressember every day on my Instagram story where my twenty to thirty-something friends could see. Yet, a large percentage of the donations I received on behalf of Dressember came from wealthier, older generations after I sent out email requests asking for charitable gifts. For these friends, I am grateful. 2 Corinthians 9:7 tells us, "So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver."
13: But We Aren’t Heartless
Stats keep saying millennials are the poorest, most depressed generation out there. Whether that is true or not, I don’t know. But I do know that we care about causes outside ourselves. It’s not all doom and gloom for Team Millennial. I had multiple friends give small gifts – the price of a cup of coffee – toward Dressember. It’s like the story of the widow who gives her last two coins into the treasury in Luke 21:1-4. Jesus honors that. “And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
14: iF yOU tAke phOtoS aLL bLuRrY iT LoOkS CoOLeR
Where am I going? What am I doing? Oh, the mystery!
15: Give Yourself Permission To Have Fun
1 John 5:2-3 says, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” Sometimes we turn doing “the right thing” into a burden, when God’s Word clearly instructs us to do all with love and joy.
16: I Will Never Be A Social Media “Influencer”
With the holidays, I forgot sometimes to take a daily photo. Some people rock that Insta game. I’m just here for the cute dog videos.
17: It’s Not About Me
Halfway through Dressember, it was easy to lose sight of the real goal. I admit, some days I got too caught up in the challenge of trying to wear a dress everyday that I forgot the actual reason WHY I was doing December. Fortunately, I had a reality check. Dressember isn’t for my benefit. It’s to put others first, not a task to complete to satisfy my ego.
18: Photos Are Better With Friends
This is Stabby. He is the office mascot.
19: Stay Persistent
Hellen Keller once said, “The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of tiny pushes of each honest worker.” It was so awesome to see gifts of all sizes come in to move the needle of change. Everyday, we moved pennies and dimes closer to making a difference.
20: The ‘Why’ Is Everything
Intention is important. Corinthians 13:2 says, “And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” Action must be accompanied by an altruistic motive.
21: Don’t Forget About The Shoes!
Sometimes, the dress makes the statement. Other times, it’s the shoes.
22: When You Have To Wear A Dress To The Beach In 60 Degree Weather, Make Sure You Have Fleece-lined Tights
Seriously, those fleece-lined tights were a lifesaver.
23: One Fun Dressember Game Is “How Many Photos Can I Take By A Christmas Tree?”
The answer is ten, depending on what you consider a Christmas tree. I’ll wait while you go back and count.
24: Do Everything Without Grumbling
One minor inconvenience throughout Dressember is that I had to wear cutoff shorts under most of my dresses. I know what you may be thinking.. and no, I’m not a “never-nude” like Tobias Fünke on Arrested Development.. You see, as a Type One Diabetic, I have to wear a medical device called an insulin pump. Think of it like a small, mini portable IV that delivers insulin 24/7 and looks like a pager or old-school MP3 player. If my dress doesn’t have pockets or a belt loop, then I need somewhere I can conceal it. Cutoff shorts are usually the perfect place to hide an insulin pump, but can sometimes be annoying to have to wear. In one of my daily devotionals, the verse that came up was Philippians 2:14, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing” I read that and thought “Yikes, I guess I need to shape up” Well, on Christmas Eve, my boyfriend gave me the most thoughtful gift… a velcro strap that acted like a holster for my insulin pump! I admit, I felt pretty cool, kind of like a spy. God knows our needs.
25: Scarves Spice Everything Up
You can wear the same dress multiple times if you pair it with a different scarf.
Friend 1: “Is that a new dress?”
Sophie: “No, but perhaps you are noticing my two-toned, heather infinity scarf.”
26: Raid Your Sister’s Closet (With Her Permission)
Around Day 22, I started running out of dresses and my stylin’ sis noticed. So she came in clutch and loaned me a bunch of cute dresses to borrow.
27: Also Raid Your Mom’s Closet
Don’t discount your mom. Those seventies dresses you thought were dated and old-fashioned are now coming back in style. Yo mama so fashionable that no one would even know you were borrowing her maxi dress unless you told them.
28: Don’t Let Your Fear Of Failing Get In The Way Of Being Obedient
My life group leader shared this thought with my women’s group, and it really resonated with me. Sometimes, we are scared to do things outside of our comfort zone because we are afraid of failing. However, Scripture tells us of countless stories where God uses the weak, the lowly, and the foolish to bring about His glory. If He can raise up from the dead, can’t He also help us achieve great things?
29: I Wore This Black Dress 4X already, But I Bet You Didn’t Notice Until Now
The kicker is that this dress is actually a summer dress that I bought two years ago for 10 bucks! #winning
30: Remain Hopeful
Remember how I said my goal was to raise $1000.00? Well, it was the second to last day of Dressember and it appeared as if I gassed out at $670.00. But I chose to remain optimistic. It didn’t make sense, but in my heart I knew I was going to raise $1000.00
31: God Always Provides
I reached my goal! Three hours before midnight, a donor topped me off at 1090.55 while making their year-end donations. Combined with additional donations through Facebook, I raised over $1,100. To God be the glory!