July and 31 Dresses

In late July, I attended my high school 20 year reunion.  Click here to read more about what I learned through that experience.  What I did not expect to experience was to find “new” friends in the crowd.  (Side note: I do not remember a ton of high school; in fact, most of my junior year is a simple blur.)

One of the people that I enjoyed “meeting” was AnnMarie who had been a cheerleader, saxophone player and art enthusiast (still is….).

I am sure that we were decent acquaintances in high school, but it was really fun to get to know her more as an adult at the reunion. As we talked, she shared about a challenge she had created for herself to wear a dress every day in July. This was gutsy as our reunion occurred over the time period, so she wore a dress to each of the reunion events.  The more I heard about her challenge, the more I knew I wanted to feature her story on my blog.

Many thanks to AnnMarie who agreed to share her story through a question/answer format for the post.  I am inspired by her courage and perseverance – even through a reunion!

What prompted you to do this?
As I was cleaning out my closet for stuff to add to my rummage sale pile, I kept putting dresses back in the closet and thinking “I still might wear that.” Then I started counting the dresses… I got to 20 and thought, “boy, I have enough dresses and skirts for a whole month, and I really should wear them.” This was the end of June…so I decided, why not?

On July 1st, I put on a dress and started off my month of dresses. I decided not to tell anyone except my husband…just in case I couldn’t go through with it. I knew if I posted it on FB, then I’d be committed and I wasn’t ready for that. After about 1/2 the month, when I realized that I could actually do it, I started to tell some co-workers who were probably wondering if I was interviewing somewhere since we are an extremely casual office where shorts and flip flops are the norm all summer.

What did you learn?

  • I learned I own a lot of dresses and skirts!

  • I learned that dresses are way cooler on a super hot summer like this… but also that not everyday is a dress day… some days you just want a pair of super comfty capri’s.

  • The best thing was learning which I liked and felt comfty in and which I did not… and if I did not, then it probably is time for that one to go to anther person who can appreciate it.

  • I also learned that by challenging myself I actually was influencing and challenging others… some ladies in my work and social circle started to wear more dresses. It was fun to walk into hockey camp and have a friend say, “You inspired me (and Lisa looked beautiful in her dress).”

I’ve always enjoyed wearing dresses… but it was so fun to see others doing the same!

What were your doubts/drawbacks to starting? Did you really have 31 dresses in your closet or did you have to wear some a second time?

I didn’t have to wear any a second time… but I did have to include skirts. Also since I had recently lost 25 lbs, that opened up a few more options that hadn’t fit in a while. So together with skirts and dresses, old and new, casual and dressy, I did have 31… 3 of them are dresses that I use as swimsuit cover-ups, but that worked great when we were at the lake for 4th of July. My only rule, helped too: I decided I didn’t have to workout in a skirt… although I do have a workout skort that I wear most of them time .  And once I have worked out, I can put on something comfty. So this forced me to workout a bit more… especially on days when the dress wasn’t particularly comfy.

Are you keeping all of the dresses?

No… I have about 5 that I have added to the rummage sale pile. The rest I’m keeping, and I will probably continue to wear several a week.

Would you suggest that other women do something similar?

For sure… it was fun! A fashion challenge is a great way to try on some of the things in your closet that we keep but really aren’t wearing… this gets us to wear it and decide if it stays or goes. As for me… I will do this again… dresses again next summer, but maybe sweaters this winter… I have a lot of those that I don’t remember when I last put them on. I just don’t know if I have 31 of them!

Again – many thanks to AnnMarie for sharing her story!!!

In her life now, she is married, has three boys who all play hockey, and is a Configuration Data Analyst for a software company in Mankato. In her “free” time, she volunteers at her boys’ schools, is the webmaster of Mankato Community Bible Study, and serves as treasurer of the Southern MN Autism Coalition (of which she was also a founding member).

What’s next for you, readers?

  • What challenges are youconsidering as we head into fall?
  • Weight loss?
  • A dance class?
  • Better eating habits?
  • More hours of sleep?

I would love to hear about them through the comment section of the blog.  Also – if you have done any challenges similar to AnnMarie’s, I would love to hear about your outcomes as well.

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