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Remembering the Little Brown Dress Project

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Imagine wearing the same dress, day in and day out, for one year.

Pretty hard to imagine, right?

Not if you are Seattle mom Alex Martin. Martin wore the same brown dress, a dress that she made herself, everyday from July 7, 2005 to July 7, 2006 and chronicled it in her blog/journal called The Little Brown Dress. 

She paired her homemade brown dress with cardigans and stockings, for both practical and stylish reasons. And, for the most part, no one noticed that she was wearing the same dress everyday.

Martin states on her blog/journal:

I challenged myself to reject the economic system that pushes over-consumption, and the bill of goods that has been sold, especially to women, about what makes a person good, attractive and interesting.  Clothes are a big part of this image, and the expectation in time, effort, and financial investment is immense.

So, Martin is right. We are pushed and prodded to buy stuff, (often to emulate the lifestyle we see in celebrity fronted fashion and beauty lines). Even so, most of us aren’t going to stop shopping at Target to make our own biodegradable brown dresses. Personally, I would love to know is how much money she saved by wearing the same dress everyday for a year. If I took a guess, I would say probably enough for a down payment on a house.

Would you wear the same little brown dress everyday?

Inspired by the Brown Dress project, I’m going to try to wear the same thing, everyday, for the month of June. Fortunately for me, I don’t work in an office setting where I see the same people day in and day out.

But I would love it if someone who does would join me in this project and post their comments below. Tell me how the project worked for you. How much did you save? Was getting dressed in the morning easier? Did anyone notice? What did your husband/boyfriend/partner think?

Note: Alex’s little brown dress project as well as her plans to create an entirely new wardrobe from recycled clothing from her own closet are no longer online.

Jennifer S

Saturday 24th of September 2011

In my mind, the last comment, from Sheryl on July 6, 2007, really sums up how I feel about the rest of the comments that look down on the challenge. October 2010, I and a few friends participated in our own October Dress Challenge. Our motivations were many. One wanted to fast from spending money on clothing and accessories. Another wanted to become more aware of her own materialism and desire to buy new clothes. And yet another wanted the creative challenge of restyling the same dress 30 different ways. The 2010 challenge was such a success that we are doing it again in 2011. So far, 14 women have accepted the challenge. Would you consider it?


Friday 6th of July 2007

I find it sad that most of the people reading about this project don’t get it. Or I guess maybe that was the point, that most modern people have no idea that less then 100 years ago, most people only had one dress, two if they were lucky. During WW2 there were ration coupons that were for clothing. And the manufacture of cosmetics was basically illegal. So you were more then lucky if you could go and get a dress or a pair of shoes once a year. We all take for granted the things that we have. Maybe we should all be more appreciative.


Thursday 7th of June 2007

There is this New York artist called Andrea Zittel and she did similar things in early 90s. Look up her six-month uniform project.


Wednesday 6th of June 2007

to the above post (2 above) no, her new project is only clothes she makes from old clothes. WEARD…


Wednesday 6th of June 2007

I want to know what the TBF blogger is wearing for this month? What piece are you wearing every day? Did I miss that in the post? And are you changing it up - adding jeans, etc?

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