The Little Brown Dress

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

I've always been intrigued by wardrobe challenges and I've always enjoyed challenges I've set myself.

I often think about the one that made me think about what I wear more than any other - the Little Brown Dress.

Back in 2005/2006 that a lady called Alex Martin decided to wear one little brown dress for a year.

One dress. For an entire year.

She documented the whole thing on her blog. The blog still exists but it now belongs to someone else and all that remains of Alex's blog is this, an archived post that the new owner thought people interested in the Little Brown Dress might like to read.

I think it's a real shame the blog has been lost, I still think about the project ten years on.

I mentioned this project in my very first blog post as inspiration for my interest in style experiments. This is one experiment I don't think I could do, but I found it fascinating.

I first read about The Little Brown Dress in a magazine and marvelled at the images showing the different ways Alex wore it. Very few of the images remain now that her online journal has been deleted.

I could only find a handful, sadly these don't show her more imaginative outfits.

Images above: Thomas James Hurst  |  The Seattle Times

Images from Alex Martin's original web diary 

Pictured left, from Alex Martin's web diary, July 7, 2005: On the very first day of the project, my birthday, I was so, so, so tempted to put on a pin or something for my birthday party! But I resisted, wanting to keep things simple as long as I can.

Pictured right, from Alex Martin's web diary, June 2006: All I can tell you is that I have quite a bit of pride in the way this item continues to take a licking and pull through in style.

I like how in the picture on the left the dress looks pristine and new, and on the right it looks worn and softened with constant wear.

Alex held an 'un-dressing' party at the end of the project, which was also her 30th birthday, and someone stole the dress. I don't know if she ever got it back but she did receive images of it in different locations for a while after.

I'd love to know what happened to it.

I wanted to record the project, if only so I can look back on it.

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  1. I stumbled upon this blog when it was still around and really liked the concept, although definitely couldn't do it. I do sometimes wonder if I'll ever wake up one day and want to have less "stuff" surrounding me. I think it's a jumble of thinking about moving and packing and the like, but it's something I've been thinking of lately.

    1. I think it's such a shame that so little of it remains.
      Last year I began to feel the presence of stuff - a little like it was weighing me down, so I started to declutter and although it's an on going project I've made good progress and feel better for it.

  2. I've not heard of it but it sounds v intriguing!!! What a shame the blog no longer exists in its previous form!

    1. I was fascinated by this project and spent ages looking through her pictures.

  3. How interesting and what a shame the original posts have disappeared into the ether.
    I can spend a month in India with the same few things but not sure if I'd cope with one dress for a year, what would happen if it didn't dry in time for work? xxx

    1. It would be a bit difficult. I remember Alex made the dress herself and tested it to make sure it would dry overnight.
      I could manage with a few pieces but just one is mind boggling!

  4. This is such a fascinating idea and major kudos to her for pulling it off! xx

    1. Imagine not shopping for a year, the money you'd save, the time you'd save, the headspace...


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