Dressed to Protest

All I can think about is Occupy Wall Street! So I’m bringing you a guide on how to dress for your local occupation.

Things you will need:

Waterproof steel-toed shoes:

Both of these are by Severus and if you want to avoid supporting a corporation when acquiring gear for an anti-corporate protest, you can get them used starting from $13.

Durable pants:

Skinny Dickies with double layer re-inforced knees. Not just for bike messengers anymore.

Levi’s commuter jeans. Water resistant, reflective tape on inside seam for night visibility (this will help people find you on the dark streets at night!) reinforced everything and a loop made for holding a U lock, which as you might guess could be pretty handy in a protest situation since it can double as a hammer/weapon for self-defense/tarp weight etc. Or you could use the loop to carry something else like a spray can or a thermos full of tea to share with cold comrades on chilly nights.

Slogan T-shirt:

The beautiful Maya Hart hella loves Oakland @ a prop 8 action in 2008photo by Natalee Kehaulani


If ever there was a good time to wear a shirt that tells what you love and what you believe, it’s at a protest. Also t-shirts are comfortable, often breathable, and easily washed with soap flakes and drinking fountain water or whatever else you can find around camp.  In the pic above you cant really see but that is a panther on the front of my shirt and the back is a screen print of a Free Assata poster.


Because duh. A zip hoodie is the most useful and versatile garment ever made. Despite its being a staple of depressive fashion its ease is also what makes it a site for innovation. Everyone can afford a hoodie and everyone can do something cool to it. The people at Rainbow Alternative who stenciled this hoodie have a goal to “spread social change through wearable art.”

Canvas jacket with lots of pockets:

When you are living outside your pockets become important real estate. Things you might want to keep in your pockets:

1. Instructions from an organization like ACLU about what to do if you are arrested.

2. A pen with some duct tape and some masking tape rolled around it. You can always use two kinds of tape and a pen.

3. Poems. I’m not kidding.

4. Snacks — nuts or bars or shot blocks — high-calorie, high-nutrition, small size food.

5.  A list of important phone numbers — you might not have access to electricty to recharge your phone and you are a 21st century baby who doesn’t have a single phone number memorized.

You can sometimes find similar jackets at military surplus places. It’s interesting to me the ironies created by utilitarian dressing — what you need to wear to go to war is what you need to wear to go war — so you might be protesting against the corporatocracy (I just made that up — is there already a word for corporate government? Don’t say “Democracy” I can’t take the joke) and the military industrial complex that makes it possible, while wearing things designed to be worn in their service…which brings me to:


This one is used Swiss army. For the things you cant fit in your pocket, like your sleeping roll and tarp and canteen and copy of The Fire Next Time and tampons and extra hoodie.


Bandanas are ubiquitous in protest fashion because they protect 1. your identity and 2. your face and airways from pepper spray and other chemical warfare. This is a cool upcycled one by Rogue City Killers.  I like the idea of it, it’s like a political version of the tuxedo t-shirt. You can also use Bandanas to clean things and wipe things up and tie things together and wave joyously in the air when THE PEOPLE’S DEMANDS ARE MET!!!

Lastly, please remember, the police will be wearing this:

So be careful out there!




About Carrie Leilam Love

i love words, babies, and shoes better than everything.


  1. Brilliant post, I think you might have even beat Bill Cunningham to the punch on this fashion scoop.

  2. Michael von Braithwaite

    See? I knew you would do a better job than I. Great post! NOW LET’S MAKE SURE THE PEOPLE’S DEMANDS ARE MET

  3. Thanks for the update on the protest, i spend my day researching this stuff..so it’s always nice to come across a blog like this.

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