Waco Chat

Autumn Outlaw

By Kevin Tankersley

Founding member of Dress a Day in May

“You can do this without spending a lot of money.”

I never thought it would be more than a one-month thing, and then we’d move on to something [else]. But my good friend Sarah-Jane Menefee — we worked together at TSTC — she made the comment one day that she had all these dresses from bridal showers and different events that she never wears, and she wanted to have a reason to wear them. So she decided May is a great time of year. It’s warmer in the spring.

She wanted to start wearing dresses each day in May; I jumped on board. I used to do campus tours. I walked all over campus, and it wasn’t always convenient to wear a dress. But I like to dress up. So four or five of us at work wore a dress each day in May.

We kind of made rules up as we went. The first year I didn’t wear them on weekends because my son did soccer and so Saturdays we were [at the soccer fields]. After that every year I’ve done every day throughout May.

Outlaw wanted to meet in the soda fountain at the Dr Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute. She has recently begun a term as president of the museum’s board of directors. She chose to drink, of course, a Dr Pepper. “Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved Dr Pepper,” she said. “I don’t drink coffee, so for a little pick-me-up, I love Dr Pepper.”

I grew up going to garage sales with my grandmother and always just kind of being thrifty. And we pass clothes between friends and all that. So I’m not one to shy away from a good deal or from buying secondhand. I would go to The Clothesline often. And they started doing the Friday flash sales where it’s $1 on either pants or shirts, and one day it would be dresses. And so I started getting a lot of dresses.

About three years in, I said, you know, it’s fun to do this, but I kind of want to have more of a purpose behind it if I’m going to take a picture each day and share it. I wanted to help promote something. I found out more about The Clothesline, and it supports Mission Waco and Manna House. I had 31 dresses or skirts from The Clothesline already.

So for seven years now, I wear a dress each day from The Clothesline. It was never any kind of agreement I made with The Clothesline. I just wanted to do that because I knew it was for a good cause and they do a lot of great things in Waco.

I also wanted to kind of show that you can do this without spending a lot of money. You don’t have to buy 31 dresses. You can mix and match and rewear or borrow or buy for $1 and still feel like a million bucks.

Manna House is [Mission Waco’s] men’s homeless recovery house. Sales go to that, and they also have a voucher system. If someone is in need of clothes, they can go through Mission Waco’s program and get vouchers [to] purchase clothes at The Clothesline.

Autumn Outlaw, who is also on the board of directors for Mission Waco, works in marketing and communications at Baylor University. Ten years ago, Outlaw and some friends decided that May was the perfect time to wear a dress every day that month. Next month marks the 10th anniversary of Dress a Day in May for Outlaw, which she chronicles on her Facebook page. On May 7, she’ll be the emcee for Mission Waco’s Fashion with a Passion style show.

Join the Conversation