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Sheena Matheiken's The Uniform Project

Erica Mayyasi is a Red Sox fan in Manhattan. After stints at various magazines she now works full-time in public relations, though she continues to write for a number of sites including her blog etsymay.blogspot.com.

One girl, one dress, one year

Ever feel like you have nothing to wear? What if you only had one dress? For an entire year! Brooklynite Sheena Matheiken takes on the challenge in an inspiring fundraising effort and in the process shows women everywhere how to make the most of what they have in their closets.

Sheena Matheiken's The Uniform Project is inspiring women to make the most out of what they have in their closets while raising awareness for a cause very close to her heart. Each day Sheena reinvents the dress with layers of other clothing, stockings, socks, covetable shoes, rocking accessories, you name it. (The dress is actually seven identical dresses she rotates through each week and is designed by her friend Eliza Starbuck to be extra versatile; it can be worn forwards or backwards or as an open tunic.) Sheena chronicles her daily ensembles at Theuniformproject.com.

She's already garnered write-ups in everything from the New York Times to numerous fashion blogs. But the project is much more than just a stylistic experiment; it's collecting donations as a fundraiser for the Akanksha Foundation, which is a grassroots non-profit working to bring education to the slum children of India.

Sheena's inspiration

"I was raised and schooled in India where uniforms were a mandate in most public schools. Despite the imposed conformity, kids always found a way to bend the rules and flaunt a little personality. Boys rolled up their sleeves, wore over-sized swatches, and hiked up their pants to show off their high-tops. Girls obsessed over bangles, bindis and bad hairdos. Peaking through the sea of uniforms were the idiosyncrasies of teen style and individual flare. I now want to put the same rules to test again, only this time I'm trading in the catholic school fervor for an eBay addiction and relocating the school walls to this wonderful place called the internet," Sheena explains on the Uniform Project's site. As of mid-July, she's raised almost $6,000.
Sheena's wardrobe mix-up is truly an exciting daily visit. Her outfits offer endless inspiration. Let's take a look back at some of her outfits:

May 18 (Day 18):

One of Sheena's greatest strengths is her ability to layer pieces in unexpected and exciting yet still very chic ways. Here she shows that layering is not just for your clothes, but can be for your stockings and socks too.

June 16 (Day 47):

Sheena leaves the dress open, layering it over an altered dress from the Salvation Army. Consider trying the same with a button-down dress or shirt that you own.

June 20 (Day 51):

Sheena takes the word versatility to whole new level with this costume for the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. Don't be afraid to use pieces in unexpected ways: just because you're going to a formal event, you still throw in a casual piece, likewise just because something is an out-of-this-world costume doesn't mean that you can't pull pieces from your wardrobe.
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