The Traveling Red Dress

If you’re not yet a fan of the Bloggess, you’ll want to read her post about the Traveling Red Dress project before we go any further.

I’ve followed the Bloggess and her usually hilarious, sometimes touching blog for several years now. Around a year and a half ago, she posted this about how she wanted to own a beautiful red ball gown. She didn’t have anywhere to wear the dress, and she felt almost ashamed for wanting it. But then she realized that we deny ourselves a lot of things in life because we think that they are too silly, or that we don’t deserve them, or that people will laugh. And so she had a dress made. And she asked a photographer friend to take her picture in the dress. And then she mailed it to other women who wanted to wear it.

And now, more than a year later, other red dresses are being mailed around the world, and other women are being photographed in them. This is one of those moments when the Bloggess rises above writing about annoying her husband by buying a huge metal chicken (go ahead and go read that post. It’s one of my favorites. I’ll wait.) and does some real good in the world. Because who among us doesn’t need to be reminded that we can do anything, be anything, and that we deserve the whole world?

Recently, the Red Dress has had a rebirth, gathering tons of attention and even meriting an article in Forbes. People around the world are offering to mail red dresses, and to photograph each other in red dresses. And I was, once again, overwhelmed by the generosity and love that this world holds. I immediately volunteered to photograph people in my area, but I realized it wasn’t enough. How many people who read the Bloggess actually live near me? And how many of those people also saw my comment offering my services?

So I decided to do something that is perhaps a little crazy. I decided that for the entire month of February, I will photograph, for free, anyone wearing a red dress. And if your equivalent of the red dress is yellow rain boots, or dying your hair purple, well, I’ll photograph that too. All I ask is that you write a paragraph or so about why you wanted to do this project, and that you allow me to share the pictures and your writing with the world. If you also want to buy me lunch or stuff your purse full of chocolate for me, I’ll probably kiss you on the spot, but all I really want is you, a red dress, and some good light.

If you need a dress, you can visit the Red Dress Facebook page and see if someone will send you one. You can also buy the red dress the Bloggess is wearing in the latest round of pictures on Amazon for $100. Or you can do what I did and just search Amazon for “red dress” and then spend hours trying to decide which you want to buy. I also own a couple of red dresses that are not ball gowns, and might not fit you, but which you are welcome to try.

If you want to be photographed, you can comment here, email me at erinreneecook@gmail.com, or find me on Facebook. And even if you don’t want to be photographed, please share this with people you know and love. You never know who might need a red dress in their lives right now.

Photo: The Bloggess, taken by the talented Maile.

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