The Benefits of Sharing your Dresses

By Amirah Sumarto


At the start of the Hilary term, I realised that my tiny student-accommodation wardrobe was overflowing with clothes. I might have brought and bought more dresses than I will ever need during my time in Oxford. The loneliness during the pandemic occasionally triggers my impulsive dress buying. I shipped a lot of those unworn dresses when I moved to Oxford, and during a brief stay in Omicron prison, I added more to the collection. I realised that this habit is not the healthiest mentally, financially, and environmentally.


With the amount of guilt I have amassed, I realised I could minimize the externalities of these purchases by sharing what I have with more people. A new term started in Oxford and with many events like formal dinners and balls around the corner, many people are looking for something to wear without making new purchases. I started uploading pictures of my dress collection to Instagram and letting my friends know that I now allow people to borrow them. I charge a very small fee to ensure that the access isn't abused but is still affordable for everyone. After receiving many positive responses, I also announced it to some Facebook groups like "Oxford Ball Gown Swap and Shop" and "Oxford Formal Dinners Market Place".


As people started to borrow dresses, it gives me immense happiness to see how these dresses become a part of their fun events and sweet memories. Sharing my wardrobe has benefited me in so many ways.


1. **New friendship**

Renting out these dresses has enabled me to meet and make friends with people I would otherwise have not met. I get to meet other Oxford students from different background, departments and colleges. Many times, these meetings turn into hang-out sessions and formal dinner exchanges as well.


2. **Less FOMO**

The sheer amount of social events throughout the term in Oxford is bound to give you the fear of missing out (FOMO). Now on days that I don't feel like going out, I no longer feel FOMO knowing that someone else is out there having fun wearing my outfit. It's like with my clothes, I get to live vicariously through other people.


3. **Reappreciate the dresses**

After wearing a dress a few times, I would usually get bored and feel that I will never want to wear them again. Now when I see those dresses looking amazing on other people, I began to love them all over again and feel excited to re-wear them.


I encourage everyone to join the movement and do the same with their formal outfits. If you need dresses for parties, formals, or balls, feel free to check my Instagram account @amirahkaca. I am a size 10 with items to suit size 8 to 12.