Little Black Dress

The History of the Little Black Dress Initiative

The Little Black Dress Initiative (LBDI) is a social media-driven awareness and fundraising campaign started by the Junior League of London to raise awareness about poverty and its effects on women’s lives. 

Since its launch in London in 2014, over 80 Junior Leagues have participated in the LBDI, raising tens of thousands of dollars and awareness about their particular community work focus, i.e., domestic violence, human trafficking, literacy, food insecurity. 

LBDI advocates wear the same black dress (or outfit) for five consecutive days to illustrate the restrictions poverty places on choices, opportunities and access to resources. In 2021 each advocate will wear a LBDI mask that invites dialogue among colleagues, friends, and strangers about this initiative’s message. Advocates also engage on social media, sharing statistics, information, and their experiences throughout the period. Messaging includes a soft ask for donations to support the cause. 

JLW’s LBDI 2021

Washington, DC, is the nation’s capital and the heart of our country; however, 16.8% of its residents live in poverty – which is 3.7% above the national average, meaning one out of every 10 Washingtonians is living at or below the poverty line. Moreover, 15% of these impoverished residents live in extreme poverty – the majority are women between the ages of 25-34. Even more staggering, 23% of minors and 24.36% of families in Ward 8 in Washington, DC, live below the poverty line. 

It is time to combat this issue by donating to the Junior League of Washington’s (JLW) Little Black Dress Initiative (LBDI). The LBDI is about more than wearing a cute black dress. Instead, it is about raising awareness and resources for our neighbors and community members impacted by poverty. Your donation to LBDI goes towards the Community Assistance Fund to support nonprofit organizations in the greater Washington, DC, area experiencing urgent need as they provide community support as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency and JLW’s mission.

Little Black Dress is taking place from Monday, February 1 through Friday, February 5.

To donate to JLW’s Little Black Dress Initiative, please visit: