What to Wear to a Protest March

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what to wear to a protest march

This post was originally written in December 2016 in preparation for the first Women's March which took place in winter.  Since then, we as citizens of the United States have had several reasons to continue marching and protesting.  I have since updated this post to be a valuable resource for anyone who is attending a protest march. f you have additional resources or tips on what to wear to a protest march, please share them in the comments so this can be a useful destination for all. 

When I first wrote this article in December 2016, I focused on what to wear to a protest march in the winter. However, in the past couple of years especially, we have had reason to protest in all seasons, for many reasons. Inspired by protesting experts and my experience protesting, I share below what to wear to a protest march in summer, in winter, and suggestions on what to bring and not to bring to your next protest, march, or rally.

what to wear to a protest march
What I wore to the 2017 Women's March in Washington DC

What to Wear to a Protest March in Winter

Feet First

You’re going to be doing a lot of walking and a lot of standing. A waterproof hiking boot is a great choice as it will provide arch support, warmth, a high profile to protect from splashes or puddles, and a fabric that will keep you dry even if you’re in two inches of mud slush.  For the Women's March, I wore my Merrell winter boots that have Vibram® Arctic Grip™ outsoles for traction on wet ice. They kept my feet warm, dry, and comfortable. Four years later, they're still keeping me comfortable, dry, and stable in icy conditions.

If you are wearing traditional boots or sneakers, I highly recommend adding a wool or shearling insole to add more comfort as well as warmth between you and the frozen sidewalks. I have shearling insoles and they are utterly awesome; these are a vegan alternative that also get great reviews. I've seen wool insoles on Etsy for just $10 that are great.  Wool socks will not only keep your feet warm, but also wick away sweat to keep you comfortable and help prevent blisters.

Whatever shoes you wear, make sure they are well broken in before the event. You will be standing, walking, and may end up running. Be sure your shoes don't hold you back. It makes more sense to wear a pair of well-worn sneakers than brand new waterproof boots.

Have a Base Layer

I swear by Lands’ End’s Thermaskin collection. Their silk-like pieces are so thin they can slip under suiting pants and even leggings without feeling like the Michelin Man, yet keep you extremely warm. They also come in regular, petite, and plus sizes up to 3X. I recommend the pants and long-sleeved shirt for an event like this, though a tank or cami is great if you’ll be moving more and just need to focus on keeping your core warm.

Silk underwear accomplishes the same thing. Lands' End is again a place I recommend for silk interlock long underwear available up to size 3X.

The Coat Matters

Like your boots, I recommend something that is insulated, comfortable, and waterproof. While many have wool coats they love, for a protest march I recommend something that will repel water and has a hood. There may be snow, sleet, or other precipitation along with the low temps. It's also a good idea to wear your hood to blend into a croud and be less recognizable. A longer coat may protect more, but you want to be sure you have a coat that lets you move easily and quickly on short notice.

My Lands’ End Squall Parka is over a decade old, has been on many adventures and keeps on kicking. It’s waterproof, has plenty of pockets, a hood that can go up without covering my eyes or taking away my peripheral vision, a neck that zips up to protect my throat without choking me, and the hand pockets are fleece lined so they’re a nice place to keep your fingers between snaps on your phone.

The Lands' End Squall Parks comes in regular, petite, tall, plus, and petite plus up to 3X and has some lovely colors so you can stand out in a crowd while staying warm and dry. Their Squall Stadium Coat is a longer alternative with all the same great features. Be sure you can move easily in it before committing to wear it to a protest march.

What to Wear to a Protest March featured by popular Washington DC petite fashion blogger, Wardrobe Oxygen
At the 2008 Presidental Inaguaration

Time to Accessorize

Accessories are key. They can be stuffed in a pocket or bag when not in use, but can keep you extra warm and toasty when standing and waiting or if the wind picks up.

For hands, I like the combo of thinner touchscreen-friendly gloves and waterproof mittens to go over. A reader made a great suggestion – connect your mittens with a long piece of elastic and thread through your sleeves.  Remember doing this as a kid or for kids? Makes sense for adults too especially if you keep slipping them off to take pictures!

For the top half, I like using a mix of items instead of an all-in-one. A beanie (or knit one of these!), ear warmer/headband, scarf, and a pair of large lightweight sunglasses will give you options depending on the weather and whether you’re walking, chanting, or standing and huddling to stay warm.

For a scarf, I find a pashmina style to be the most versatile as it can wrap around the head, the throat, or be crossed across the body and tucked under the coat for extra core protection. Sunglasses will protect your eyes from the sun, wind, and anything else without restricting your vision.

wardrobe oxygen march for our lives
At the 2022 March for our Lives anti-gun rally in Washington DC

What to Wear to a Protest March in Summer

It may be tempting to wear less to deal with the heat, but when considering the violence that has happened during previous peaceful protests, it is smart to dress to protect yourself and your identity.

Feet are Still First

I cannot stress this enough; you need shoes that you can move quickly in, wear for several hours, and not end up with blisters and hot spots. I also recommend wearing a closed-toe shoe to protect your feet in a crowd. A pair of well-broken in sneakers or hiking boots are your best choice, even if it is a very hot day.

For socks, bypass cotton for a synthetic or wool which will wick moisture, keeping you cooler and dry. A sock designed for running or hiking is a good choice for a long day of protesting and marching. I really like these hiking socks from Smartwool and these running socks from Bombas.

Keep Your Outfit Functional

Even if it is hot out, I recommend wearing pants long enough to cover your knees. Not only is this sun protection and chafe protection, it's also knee protection if you by chance fall or have to kneel. A cotton, twil, or denim garment will be less likely to cling in the heat and humidity than a knit fabric.

Feel free to wear a t-shirt, tank top, or whatever is comfortable on top, but consider packing a solid dark-colored lightweight long-sleeved layer. Sun protection, warm days that turn into breezy nights, but also a long-sleeved top will reduce ways to be identified if the event turns aggressive.

I also recommend packing a small poncho. At least in the Mid-Atlantic states, any day between Memorial Day and Labor Day can start sunny with a cloudless sky and end up with a 3 pm rainstorm.

Protect Yourself from the Sun

Don't rely on sunscreen you may have applied before heading out. Bring sunscreen to reapply during the day. A baseball cap will not only protect your face from the sun, it helps you blend into a crowd. Bring a bandana, fold on the diagonal and tie around your neck with the point in back covering your neck (you can also tuck the bandana into the back of your hat to protect your neck). Again, a lightweight layer, especially with UPF will protect your chest, shoulders, and arms when in direct sun for long periods of time.

Sunglasses are smart for many reasons. They can protect your eyes if any gas or spray is emitted, they hide your identity, and they reduce glare on bright days. Leave your favorite sunnies at home and consider a budget-friendly of lightweight polarized shades. I have friends who swear by the quality, functionality, and style of Shady Rays sunglasses. They are polarized and offer replacements and a lifetime warranty.

What to Bring to a Protest March

Should I Bring a Bag to a Protest March?

A fanny pack or belt bag is a great choice to hold your essentials while keeping your hands free.  I have often used my belt bag from Girlfriend Collective for such events. It is water resistant, rip-stop material, and has a surprising amount of room for its manageable size. I can easily switch it from a crossbody to a belt bag too. A faraday belt bag is a smart choice as it will protect your devices and cards.

If you need to carry more than a belt bag can offer, I recommend a backpack. A streamlined style will keep your arms free and it's easy to wear for several hours on your feet and will be secure if you have to run to safety. When looking for a backpack, search for running backpacks, which are lightweight, streamlined, and designed to not bounce around when you're moving. I really like this commuter backpack from Sweaty Betty; this bag from Nike is subtle and streamlined.

D.C. Area Law Enforcement enacted the following policy for the Women’s March on Washington. I kept this list as it may be a similar list decided by law enforcement for future protest marches:

  • Please note all bags may be subject to search.
  • Backpacks are not permitted unless they are clear and no larger than 17″x12″x6″ (colored transparent bags are not permitted). Consider a ripstop fabric crossbody with a wide strap that won't dig into your shoulder.
  • Bags should be no larger than 8”x6”x4”.
  • Specifically for people who would like to bring meals, each marcher is permitted one additional 12”x12”x6” plastic or gallon bag.  This crossbody clear bag is the type approved for stadiums that have this same policy.  Many are taking gallon Ziploc bags and using duct tape to attach paracord or twine to make a tote.
  • For marchers who have medical needs or for mothers who need baby bags or breast pumps, one clear bag or backpack no larger than 17″x12″x6″ will be permitted and subject to search (colored transparent bags are not permitted).  This clear backpack is within the size limitations, but with padded straps and heavy-duty PVC it will better support breast pumps and supplies.

Once at the Women's March, I found no one checking bags. In fact, I have yet to be at a protest march or rally where bags have been checked. For the Women's March, I ended up carrying a black nylon crossbody that was within the size range.  It has a wide strap that wouldn't be easy to break and remained comfortable all day.  I've carried the same bag to rallies and protests since.

what to wear to a protest in the summer
At the 2018 Families Belong Together March in Washington DC

What Should I Pack for a Protest March?

Again I reiterate, bring as little as possible, but pack thinking you may be there longer than expected and with fewer facilities than expected. The basics:

  • Water: Bring water as it may be hard to find. I really like those reusable water bags, as they don’t take up much space or weigh much once empty.  You can also use a bladder for backpacks like Camelbaks without the actual backpack. Bring enough for 12 hours – better to have too much than too little.
  • Snacks: Energy bars are the best as they don’t take up much space, can be broken and shared with others, and if it's cold, can be eaten without having to remove your gloves.
  • Medications and Glasses: If you take medication, bring enough for a minimum of 12 hours even if you think you’ll be there for far less. Better safe than sorry. If you wear contacts, bring a backup pair of glasses and eye drops.
  • Personal Care Products: I recommend bringing a travel-sized pack of wet wipes. They can be used for the porta-potties but also for other cleanups during the day. One of those purse packs of tissues is also awesome, especially in cold runny nose weather. If you’re having your period or want to be the BFF of someone who may have had theirs come earlier than expected, bring a couple of tampons or pads. Again plan for 12 hours even though your day will likely be shorter. If you have a nervous stomach, some Immodium AD may be your BFF. I recommend bringing at least one clean bandana. It’s not heavy, won’t take up much space, and can prove quite useful for a face cover, washcloth, pouch to hold small items, head covering, and more.  Also, bring lip balm – it's something that will make you more comfortable and help if you have to go a while without refilling your water.
  • Communication Essentials: If you don’t have a sturdy phone case, this is a good time to get one. Also, bring a battery pack to juice up your phone mid-day (or be the hero of a fellow protester). Some paper or a notepad is also good to bring. I recommend a Sharpie as it can write on most anything, even if it’s damp from rain or snow.
  • Personal Identification and Money: Bring your ID, your insurance cards and medical information, one credit or debit card, and $25-$40 in cash. If you don’t have phone numbers memorized, consider a piece of paper or write on your arm the number of an emergency contact just in case your phone dies or gets lost. All money and IDs should be on your person. This is a time when that money belt your mom bought you before your first overseas trip will come in handy. Not only will this prevent pickpockets, it will keep your hands free and make it easy to move quickly.
  • A Paper Map: Especially if you are not familiar with the city where you are protesting, bring a paper map with you. With so many people, you can't rely on cell service to get you around. Trying to get basics like a map on your phone will drain your battery quick; if you don't want to carry a paper map at least save some maps as photos on your phone so you can enlarge and get your way around town. For those who are locals, we have a duty to help fellow protesters who look lost or confused.
  • If you have room, a bit of duct tape can prove quite useful for making signs on the spot, helping out a fellow protester with a broken bag, and other unexpected situations.
dc women's march wardrobe oxygen
At the 2017 Women's March

What Do I Need to Be Safe at a Protest?

It is important to be prepared to protect yourself and your loved ones while exercising your right to protest. Even when protesting peacefully here in the United States, many still experienced violence and attacks.

  • Wear Unidentifyable Clothing to Cover Yourself.  Your clothing can protect your skin from pepper spray, so choose long pants, long sleeves, and a jacket or shirt with a hood.  Choose clothing that isn't memorable; dark solid colors, no logos, and clothing that can cover identifiable features such as tattoos. 
  • Pick Shoes You Can Run In.  As I mention above, it makes more sense to wear well-worn sneakers than brand new boots. Yes you may need arch support or find protective toes or warmth important, but none of that will matter if you have blisters and foot pain.
  • Emergency Contact Information.  Let three individuals who are not joining you know where you are going, when you are going, and when you plan to be back.  Ensure they will answer the phone if you need to call.  Memorize their phone numbers or write them with a Sharpie onto your arm.
  • Bring Eye Protection. Safety goggles aren't expensive, can be found at most home improvement stores, and will protect your eyes from pepper spray, tear gas, and debris.  If you can afford it, bring extra pairs to pass out to other protestors. If possible, choose to not wear contacts and use your glasses. 
  • Bring a Mask.  The pandemic is still happening, but you may also want to protect your identity as well as your face from tear gas and pepper spray.  Along with a traditional mask, consider bringing at least one bandana which can be used as a bandage, moistened to clean skin, and much more.  Please note, wetting a bandana or mask is not proven to help in situations of gas and spray; keep them dry unless you're using it for hygiene or cleaning an injury.
  • Prepare Your Phone.  If you are heading into a protest, turn off BlueTooth, go into Airplane Mode, and turn off your fingerprint or Face ID feature.  This article from Wired delves into the reasons you need to secure your phone during a protest and why you may be better off leaving it at home.  If you are using your phone to document the event, do not take any photos of protesters' faces to protect their identity. 
  • Have a Meet-Up Point.  There is a good chance you will be separated from your group and any location within the area of the protest may be blocked off. Together choose a location far enough away from the protest area to meet up at the end of the night.
  • If you Need a Bag, Make it a Backpack or Fanny Pack.  You may have to run, crouch down, and hide in places. A bag that doesn't bang against your body or require your hands to manage it will make the most sense and likely be the most comfortable for a long day.

What Not to Bring to a Protest March

 Do not bring anything that could be considered a weapon. That includes your tiny Swiss Army knife on your keychain.  It also includes signage with handles like wooden sticks that police could claimare weapons.  Along with this, a protest march is not a place for drugs or alcohol.  Keep your jewelry and expensive items at home.

What to Wear to a Protest March featured by popular Washington DC petite fashion blogger, Wardrobe Oxygen
At a 2011 Planned Parenthood rally in Washington DC

Should I Bring My Child to a Protest March?

As for children, you as the parent know best.  There is a big difference between an organized rally and a last-minute protest. If it's one where there's a good chance for arrests and violence I'd keep them home. Small lungs are more impacted by tear gas and pepper spray and there is a great chance you will have to run to escape a dangerous situation. Many have written about this subject, here are some links that can prove helpful:

I do not consider myself an expert on this topic; please do additional research before attending your next protest. Connect with like-minded individuals in your community for safety as well as camaraderie and share your ideas on what you plan to wear and pack. And please use the comments below for additional suggestions and to share your own advice.

Please note that the comments area has comments that go back to 2016; they are in chronological order with the newest on the top. Since this post has changed multiple times over the years with additional information on what to wear to a protest march and what to take, some of the comments may no longer be relevant to the content. However, I have chosen to keep them as in total, they are all informative and a good resource.Save

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. Thanks for the tip to bring a battery pack to the march with us so we can charge our phone during the day. My husband and I are thinking about becoming more active by organizing a grassroots lobbying event. I’m glad I read your article because you helped me feel more prepared to have a good time at the march!

  2. Well, tomorrow’s the big day. Thanks for putting this together. It’s a nice way to look out for your readers. I’ve shared this post with people going to the march in DC and those marching closer to my home in North Carolina.

  3. Can someone please tell me how many bags I’m permitted? Does the food bag have to be clear?

    I’m a filmmaker and would like to bring my camera bag, so if it meets the size requirement is it still permitted in addition to food as well as a main bag?

    1. Unless there’s a specific media pass, I think all you can bring is two bags, the second one being clear. I don’t think they’ll freak though if that second clear bag isn’t just meals but has other items. And yes, that second bag must be clear. Hope that helps!

      1. Any idea how to obtain one at this point?
        I imagine a fishing vest with several pockets would not be prohibited. But the language is really not clear… would say a tripod be admitted?

        1. I never saw any info on press passes, sorry! They said nothing that could be seen as a weapon, I’m not using any posts for my signs because of that. I don’t know how they will feel about a tripod. I think a fishing vest is a brilliant alternative!

  4. For those who would still like to avoid shopping with Lands’ End, Cuddl Duds are available at Target in sizes S (6-8) through XXL (22-24).

  5. Hi – We just received the link to this page today from the group I am traveling with. Your recommendation to get the Metro card for Sat is appreciated but unfortunately the site indicates that in order to have the card by Sat, we needed to order it no later than the 13th. Ummm, any suggestions?

  6. Good news–the march website (under FAQs) was changed yesterday to show that clear backpacks measuring 17″x12″x6″ are now allowed for all participants. It’s late to get one (overnight from Amazon Prime?), but check to see if you can borrow from friends who go to football games.

  7. Thank you so much for this post — it’s the most useful web resource I found while writing the packing list for my trip to DC.

  8. And a very important tip, especially for women: Go to the bathroom before you begin! There may be no accommodations nearby and it could get uncomfortable.

  9. Hi! Based on a previous version of your article, I ordered the Tommy Bihn small cafe bag for the march. It is a little bit larger than what the guidelines say – “Bags should be no larger than 8”x6”x4”.” Based on your experience attending these events, do you think it would be ok to bring it? I haven’t had much luck finding a water resistant purse that fits the size requirements.

    1. I think it’s going to be just fine. There aren’t security checkpoints, I believe it will be more general and not like with TSA where they may actually measure. I still think I’ll be taking my Cafe Bag, should be just fine!

  10. I wasn’t up to reading all the comments, but as a Scout leader, hiker, and tourist, I thought I’d throw my 2 cents worth in. I know it’s a little late for this march, but maybe people will read this and be better prepared for the next one. The biggest thing I would like to emphasize is training. So you’ve got all this great gear, that’s gonna make your marching experience a piece of cake. Start taking walks in it, with everything in your gear bag, just as you will have on the march. Start out at a moderate pace and distance. Whatever hydration system you have chosen (water bottles, hydration pack like CamelBak, etc.) fill it and use it like you would on the day of the march. Try to find that balance point between going thirsty and drinking so much you have to take frequent potty breaks. If you can only walk a few blocks at the start, don’t be discouraged! You’re out there making the effort! “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” – Lao Tzu. Make yourself a schedule. Look at the calendar. Figure out how long you have to make your goal distance, and when you need to be halfway there. Set your training schedule accordingly. If you find carrying the gear difficult, use the same system. Start with what you can carry comfortably, then add pieces until you can carry the full load. Use the time to make adjustments to your boots, your socks, your outerwear, your undergarments, everything. Anything that is slightly uncomfortable on a 45 minute walk can be unbearable if you have to put up with it for 6 hours. [Personal note here: I have flat feet. I have walked 20 mile hikes and had no problems with them. The secret for me was finding walking shoes and hiking boots that do not have a high insole! The arch support that some brands use as their claim to superiority actually irritates my feet. So know your body and what works for you.] Keeping safety in mind, don’t slack off your training if the weather is bad! It’s good to know how to adjust your gear when the rain is whipping in your face! The day of the march, the weather may be worse! Things like freezing rain, where you can’t walk without slipping, and severe wind chills would be exceptions to training out in the weather. Find some place inside to do the time and distance. Our local community center has a basketball court, is open most of the time, and it’s free! Keep your focus! Whatever incentives work for you, use them. Whether it’s putting up inspirational reminders on the fridge and the bathroom mirror, or treating yourself to something nice when you’ve reached an intermediate goal, do it! Know that you are improving your health, both physically and mentally, by undertaking a task, setting goals, and accomplishing them. Know too, that you may have setbacks and disappointments along the way. They are just a part of life! Keep strong, and fight the good fight! I wish you all success!

  11. Have a few in your group bring $50 cash – we attended a ‘Know Your Rights’ training last night and that is the fine collected if you get arrested and released. This is expected to be a peaceful event and we do not expect any arrests! Also one person can pack a first aid kit with advil, bandaids, coldpack.

  12. Thank you for this informative post! A co-organizer and I have two buses going from Michigan and we will share this with all of our party. Readers might want to check out a button created by two people in Ann Arbor for the March on Washington and beyond. It features an “I Love You” sign language graphic. Cost is $5 … $1 goes to the ACLU and $1 to Planned Parenthood. I don’t receive anything for telling you about this; just passing the word about a cool item. Link to it here: http://www.pincause.com

  13. Thanks so much. I’m going to the march, but also organizing rides from Leisure World, Maryland to Congressman Jamie Raskin’s breakfast rally and bus and then rides from the metro back home. I’m looking at your map and not understanding where the march begins and where it ends. I thought it started at 3rd and Independence. Does it end at the Capital, or at the Lincoln Memorial?

  14. Grew up in Northern VA and currently a college student in-state. I will be traveling back home to march in DC and I second EVERYTHING in this post. Especially about Metro. Metro is a mess even on your average workday, so don’t underestimate the extra time and planning it will take to successfully navigate it during an inauguration weekend.

  15. A bit too much advertising about the clothes. Keep your kids under say, 10, at home! A big throng of people will be scary. I recall reading an article in my local paper about a mom who took her 6 year old kid to a protest and was shocked that the kid was scared to death.

  16. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! Not only is this one my first protest march, but I am bringing my pre-teen daughter. So, needless to say I was a bit apprehensive about maneuvering a city have never visited, let alone with thousands of people there too! Your detailed information has settled much of anxious chatter in my head. Now I am invigorated and ready to take on Washington!

  17. I appreciate the relevant and detailed suggestions and will certainly utilize them on the day of the March. One constructive comment I’d like to add.
    I also appreciate your transparency in why you suggested certain brands of clothing and links. However, this March is a voice for all women and the clothing choices are expensive with a “privileged” perspective.
    Perhaps adding suggestions to layer clothing with already owned clothing such as tshirts, sweatshirts, leggings and tights under jeans, etc. would be more inclusive of students and those on tight budgets.
    Thanks again!

    1. Hi Peggy, thanks for this. When this post was written I had no idea it would be as popular as it was, and would reach past my regular audience. Other readers have provided great budget suggestions in the comments and I welcome tips like yours as well!

    2. Try to avoid items made of cotton (such as jeans) and wear technical fabrics instead.

      –Michigander, X-C skier

  18. Terrific information! You reminded me of a few things I wore to Obama’s first Inauguration which were helpful. I suggest, for those who need a restroom frequently, wear a large pad or an adult lightweight diaper. With long spot-a-pot lines, they can save the day. Hand and feet warmers are great too. See you on the 21st!!

  19. Personal item suggestion: lip balm. Dried and cracked lips, especially in the cold and wind, are no fun. Wishing all of you strong women who are marching the very best!!!

  20. D.C. local here. I don’t think this was said before but the Metro map above is old. The Silver line is now an option, paralleling the Orange and Blue lines for the parts of the system of use for the march. Here’s a link to a new map. https://www.wmata.com/schedules/maps/upload/color_map_silverline.pdf


    Also, I saw AT&T equipment in front of the Freer Gallery on the Mall two days ago. Perhaps supplemental wireless service support, but I still wouldn’t bet on getting a signal.

  21. This is great information, but I don’t know why wearing a tutu “belittles the situation.” I’ve seen multiple people wearing Pink tutus for Planned Parenthood at marches and I think its festive and shows passion for the cause.

    (I also went to an event for dancer’s benefits where a lot of people were wearing tutus but they were professional ballerinas so it was a little different.)

    1. You can wear whatever you wish. That statement was made for those who I have seen who find this a great Instagram moment and personal style moment and not realizing the importance of the event. Everyone is different and carries things and events off differently. My suggestions are exactly that, not gospel 🙂

  22. I’ve been on two protests before, but on peaceful urban protests through the streets of London. I’ll be marching in London this time around, too. I will dress warm, but it will be the considerably glamorous Old Hollywood look, because women’s rights are going back 60 years or more. I love the fashions of the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s anyway so this is a good opportunity for me.

  23. Re: lack of bathrooms: If you have a weak bladder, or even if you don’t, wear or bring a bladder control pad or panty. Just in case.

  24. Thank you for this information. I’ll be in DC on the 21st, and as a first-time marcher I now feel like “I’ve got this”. Thank you for a healthy dose of empowerment!

  25. Wish i could march with all of you, but difficult with fractured pelvis, so my thoughts will be with you on that momentous day. Thank you for organizing this important event. Stay safe, be warm and know that others who cannot attend will do their part in other ways!

  26. Wow – nicely done! You are professional material at this – did you link it to the main website/facebook for the march? You should – very comprehensive and well articulated. I’m sending it to everyone!

  27. Though I know what to wear when marching, this will be the first march I will do in a wheelchair. I’m car pooling with friends from Baltimore and suggested we park at the Greenbelt metro station and head in from there. Anyone have suggestions on how best to handle doing a march while mobility impaired. I can walk, just not long distances and am healing from a broken foot.

    1. I did a right to work protest at our state capitol with a leg cast…and a sousaphone.
      — Bring the chair, and plan to use it. You’ll get preferred space. (I used a cane a lot, and crowds parted like am Eastertime movie.)
      — Bring a length of polarfleece and use as a lap robe. Place in chair, spread out, sit down, then arrange over your legs.
      — Pee early and often, don’t wait
      — Leave the chair outside the restroom line with a friend (or adopt one several stall-wait-lengths back)


      1. Thanks, I’ll be wearing Depends and heading to the nearest bathroom, or Port-a-Potty, the instant I have the need for one. I have been to enough events in D.C., that I always plan for long lines.

  28. I would suggest wearing a Depends or some sort of pad thing for just in case… No, I am not joking. When there are 200 women in line and you waited till you had go…or could find where to go, and when you finally did..there’s a long line. NOBODY WANTS WET PANTS OR TO SEE WET PANTS!

  29. Thanks so much for the advice! I’m heading to DC from Alabama and had no clue what to wear! Just checked out the Land’s End Thermaskin pants and top you discussed and wanted to let your readers know they are on sale right now and they come in pink! Thanks again for helping to keep this Southern girl warm!

    1. Woo hoo! Now watch it be 65 degrees that day… I recommend keep your receipts and tags on until the day. DC weather is so unpredictable. The record high for the 21st is 70 degrees and record low is -4 which really proves how crazy winter can be in DC!

      1. An addendum…I signed up for their email program and got an instant 40% of one item! I’ll keep them for the snow we get here every 10 years!

  30. Thanks for all the excellent info; very useful. I’m a bit confused about the smartTrip card. Won’t we need the all day pass ,for a round trip back to the stadium ($14.50)? The $10 card seems to be only one way. am I wrong? Thanks again for all the great advice.

    1. You shouldn’t need even $10 for the day on the Metro. Here’s a link to a trip planner on the WMATA site (Metro). This is for 8am from RFK (Stadium Armory station) to the US Capitol (Capitol South station) https://www.wmata.com/schedules/trip-planner/trip-planner-results.cfm?travelby=BCFKLRSTX123&arrdep=D&hour-leaving=5&minute-leaving=53&period-leaving=AM&month-leaving=1&day-leaving=6&route=T&walk-distance=.75&widgetLocationLatLng=&widgetDestinationLatLng=&location=RFK+MEM+STADIUM&destination=capitol+ you will be fine with only a $10 card and I know some of you are getting bulk purchased $5 cards and those too should be fine for a weekend.

  31. GREAT article – I have reposted to get this advice to the people attending the Portland Ore. march! See you on the 21st!

  32. Thank you so much for this article! I’m on a committee that is bringing 2 buses of people to the March, and I am so happy to be able to share the terrific information and valuable advice you so carefully put together here. I used your link to buy that LE squall coat. It’s on sale to boot! Thank you again.

  33. Thank you! This is all really useful advice, and, as other people have noted, delivered with humor and friendliness. I’m with you, sister!

  34. I have tried repeatedly to order the metro cards online. The site keeps saying to try again later. Any idea what is going on?

      1. Thanks Allie! I tried again last night. I kept going through the process even if the site said I couldn’t. I finally got a confirmation that the transaction went through. Crazy system! I won’t believe it until the passes arrive in the mail!

  35. Thank you for this wonderful information! I’m confused – A number of us were planning to attend a march in NYC. It is not available on the links to the “sister marches”. Does anyone know why?

  36. If we don’t/shouldn’t take backpacks, how to we haul water? Thanks so much for this great, informative post!

  37. in my only other protest march, before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, I was in NYC’s Greenwich Village when a big section of marchers behind me were sprayed with tear gas or some kind of crowd-control spray by police. I have bought a gas mask to bring with me for this march. Do you think that it will be allowed to be carried? I am new at all this but also want to protect myself as best as I can.

  38. Hi! Just wanted to know what the rules are for signs in DC. I know in NYC there were issues with wooden posts. Does DC have any regulations about them?

  39. Your excellent guide is going to make the march day better for all of us — you’ve identified necessities many of us might not have considered, and you’ve provided excellent suggestions for how to survive a cold winter’s day in DC. You absolutely rock!

  40. I have never protested before but I intend to be there for the sister march in NYC with my husband and my sons. Thank you so much for this valuable information, so many useful tips I hadn’t even considered.

  41. Even if you take the metro from RFK to the rally point, you will STILL be walking about .75 mile total. If the metro is ridiculous (likely) you’ll see MANY people walking. I was at a rally of only 30K people, and there was a LOT of walkers. That is 2.5 miles in total, approx. Just FYI.

  42. How about Icon Undies, just in case you can’t get to the bathroom quite quickly enough? I’ll be marching in NYC, wearing mine!

  43. I have a home in Houston, Tx and just outside the DC area and I can tell you that there are some really good thrift stores all over. Why buy new when 2nd Ave and Goodwill have a bunch of great winter things? Do a Google maps search of the area you will be staying in and you’re sure to find a resale shop close by. I’m looking forward to this and was surprised last week when my husband said that he wants to go too.

  44. Love this, I will be in Sacramento, not DC, but it helps me picture what it will be like in Washington and much of the advice is applicable here too.

  45. Hi All,

    My name is Lorne and I host a radio show here in Arlington Virginia. On Sunday Jan 22 I am going to be interviewing people who marched, why they marched, what is important to them. If you want to be a guest, email me at Lorne at Electric cow dot com. The studio is located at Arlington Independent Media (WERA 96.7 fm) in Clarendon VA just off Wilson blvd. These are recorded shows that will play at a later date and reside on the web after that. We are in studio from 10am to 8pm.

  46. So….Is it bad form for men to wear pink kitty hats? I ordered one in my giant head size and I plan on wearing it proudly in DC. Do you think this an issue?

    1. Good point! As a former wireless specialist, and someone affected by the power outage August 2003, I’ll add that text messages tend to go through when calls have limited service. Wait to upload photos, and plan to not use FB Live broadcasting. If you absolutely have to make a call, you might need to walk several blocks away.
      Sometimes major carriers bring in temporary cell towers for major events, and that might happen here.

  47. Thanks for the post! I use to live in Chicago, but now that I’m in texas I’ve forgotten how to deal w/the cold. I’ve looked online, but do you personally have a good guestimate of how cold it might be? Also is the wind chill a huge factor? I’m trying to pack efficient & smart.

    1. Oh gosh, this is hard to answer. In DC it can be 60 degrees or 6 degrees this time of year, and sometimes all in the same week. I looked at weather.com for that day and the record was 70 degrees for warmth and -4 for coldest. As for wind chill, some days here the wind is whipping, other times it’s calm. There will be a crowd to protect a bit, I know that has helped me at events on the Mall in the winter. I’d say pack for 20 degrees but layers so you can adjust that morning. Wish I could be more help but our weather is so all over the place!

  48. thanks for explaining your donation policy and choice to plug Lands End after the controversy. I love your transparency. And the tips…especially about the metro. Hadn’t thought about that 🙂

  49. If you’re wearing mitten or gloves, hit your local fabric store and pick up about 9ft (3yds) of cording or stretch tape. Sew each end to your gloves/mittens and then thread them thru your coat sleeve, across the shoulders and back thru the other sleeve. If you take your mittens off — and you will — you won’t lose them.

    Mothers do this so their kids don’t lose ten pairs of gloves every winter. Do it for yourself. Frozen fingers are no fun.

  50. Bring cash to buy souvenirs or T-shirts of your attending the March. Why? Once you leave your job isn’t finished. You need to go back to your states and resist and organize and having items from the March is a great motivator of your commitment and conversation starter! I will be there with my company LeftWing-Bling.com helping the new March partner We Are Woman sell their t-shirts and LeftWing merchandise to help support grassroots causes and fund advocacy groups operating on a shoe string! Change starts in our communities!

  51. Thanks for these great tips! Don’t know if you’re aware of the Pussyhat Project, but it is one way to keep your head warm at the DC march (or sister marches) while helping to make a statement. Thousands of people are already involved, knitting away! Check out this activist project at pussyhatproject.com.

  52. Hi Allie, I want to thank you for your post! I’ll be marching with my 19yr old daughter. I wanted us to be prepared for the physical aspects of the march, since it’s our 1st one. While I think that much of your post is very informative, I’m just wondering if you realize the dollar amount if one was to purchase 1 of each of the items you recommended, (in my case it would be double!) It literally comes to $713.84, (and that does not include the optional cane seat, duct tape, swiss army knife or any shipping wherever applicable). Regardless of whether or not you are donating to the cause, something about the fact that you receive money from some of the links feels a little inappropriate to me. I’m not trying to bash you or be mean, but just wanted you to be aware that some folks may feel that they don’t have the right kind of clothes, shoes, etc. that you suggest. Maybe they don’t have the kind of cash to buy all of your recommended items and they may not know that you benefit financially from the links. In the future, you may want to write in such a way that you recommend the type of garmets,(as in warm, thermal, waterproof) first and then put any links at the bottom with a disclosure that any money you receive goes to the cause. It just may feel more ethical. You strike me as an intelligent and engaging person that is willing to hear feedback and I just thought I’d share that with you. Good luck in 2017!

    1. When I wrote this, I had no idea it would have the reach it has accomplished. My blog is all about being a guide, not gospel. The post explains why I suggest the different items, so it’s very easy for one to choose alternatives. I also figure most people would already own some of the items, I wouldn’t want someone to buy a whole new wardrobe for a march, a vacation, a new job, anything in life. Borrow, thrift, there’s many options that I would think one would consider if they are packing for the march, no matter their income level.

  53. Wintersilks.com has excellent silk [different weights] long underwear.
    Also, query: The Squall Parka, is it well lined? What does one need under it as far as layers? ..and, last, but not least, what are the pants that you wear [material]? Thank you!

    1. Wintersilks is a great suggestion. There’s a few versions of the Squall, I have the standard a few years old. I plan to wear under it a Thermaskin tee (could be long underwear), a wool sweater, and then the coat. On the bottom I’ll be wearing the Thermaskin leggings and and these heavyweight knit pants I got on Amazon:White Sierra Women’s 29″ Inseam Power Pants http://amzn.to/2hHKBo5 they’re water resistant, I’ve worn them sledding and shoveling previous years and they’re warm but not stiff. I’d recommend something that has wind and water resistance. Lined jeans, a pair of waterproof pants over knit or fleece pants, combo of protection and flexibility.

  54. great advice! Some important stuff I wouldn’t have though of even tho I’ve been to lots of demonstrations

  55. Wanted to expand on your comment that “With so many people, you can’t rely on cell service to get you around.” Please understand that it is possible/likely that with so many people in a relatively small area, the cell phone towers may become completely overwhelmed. (This happened to us at the Jon Stewart “Rally to Restore Sanity” which only involved about 200,000 people.) If you get separated from your group you may not be able to contact them by cellphone. Be sure to arrange a meeting point in case you get separated during the march. Even if you are all planning to get back together at your bus/parking lot, etc. at the end of the march, things can go wrong in the meantime.

  56. There’s a national knitting project making hats for the March, called the Pussyhat Project. Every knitter I know is making them! Go to http://www.pussyhatproject.com to download the free pattern. Then go dig out that pink yarn in your stash–the brighter the better!

    1. I knitted one hat and then decided there is a better way. I am making them out of pink fleece ($4.99 a yard at JoAnn’s). That works out to $0.75 a hat. So far I have made 130 hats. I can crank out about twenty in an hour and a half. Enough for two buses with some left over. They are a lovely Pepto-bismol pink! They are my donation to the cause.

    1. Yes, the CEO did that, and she was outed from the company earlier this year partially due to that. I updated the post with some details above regarding this. I had boycotted Lands’ End after what happened with Gloria Steinem but once the CEO was removed I decided to feature them again, giving them the benefit of the doubt. Thank you for mentioning this, it’s important for us to vote with our wallets!

      1. Thanks for your reply. It was the CEO who conducted the interview who was then ousted by Land’s End, Frederica Marchionni. She did the interview, it was her project, then after the backlash they vanished Steinem from the website and later fired Marchionni. So I will not go back to them. Here is my pic of page 1 of the 4 page handout I still keep. https://goo.gl/iUv0Ky [edit: fixed link] and here is a story discussing her tenure as well as the Steinem issue. She may not have stayed anyway, but I can’t go back, at least for now.

        1. I fully understand your decision. She was also the one who did the apology. In theory I love that they featured Steinem but I feel it was a strange choice considering their base audience. It was an unfair thing to do for Steinem, the ERA, and all of their customers. The whole thing from start to finish was an epic fail.

          1. Thank you for your reply. Agree, it was a failure, and ill considered. I guess I just wish that once the decision was made, she had stuck. Instead, it feels like she threw Steinem under the bus, yet once again. For me, once it occurred, it felt like I would be going against what GS stands for to forgive Lands End their error. Maybe its just me.

          2. I agree with you, Paul. Thanks for calling attention to the issue. Your links are not constructed properly. The first should read: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B4X1alc8pQaZb2JtUi1XNzlRek0
            The second duplicates information in Allie’s link at the bottom of her post, but here is a cogent opinion piece about the Lands End issue from the Chicago Tribune: http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/stevens/ct-lands-end-gloria-steinem-apology-balancing-0226-20160226-column.html

            And thank you, Allie, for your very very helpful protest wardrobe advice.

  57. There is a one day Metro SmarTrip pass for inauguration day for $10.00. It says that it can be used before and after that. Can anyone verify that information? There is also a “silver lining” card for $10. Can anyone from the area give some advise on this? Also note that Trump’s name and picture will NOT be on the inauguration pass. Yeah!

    1. The link above or the online Metro store has many different looking SmarTrip cards but they all work exactly the same. The inauguration one is slightly different in it gives you unlimited rail and bus on the 20th, but come the 21st it will just work like the other cards. The Silver Line card is to recognize the Silver line of the Metro which just opened this year. Be sure if you order one online you get one with stored value in it or head to a Metro before the 20th to stock it up with money!

    2. I swear the inauguration one says ONLY that day. Might be wrong. There is a one-day unlimited pass for 14.50 that locals are suggesting.

      1. it says that it works like a regular smartrip card the days before and after the inauguration; on inauguration day it is unlimited riding

  58. I will be marching in Spokane, WA — very cold and likely to have snow and ice. Thanks for this great post. I appreciate your stance on human rights and equality.

  59. Hello! LOVED the tone AND the content of this blog–all good sound advice. I learned a couple of new tricks here already and decided to paste in the post I wrote for our WMW New York State Facebook page. Who knows, it might help others too! Thanks for giving us this place to share!
    DRESS IN LAYERS and for all weather conditions. For outer waterproof layers, clear ponchos work best (your personal protest sign will still be visible pinned to your back). Good sturdy ponchos cover your head, your backpack and down to your knees PLUS you don’t have to hold up an umbrella all day long in a freezing rain (don’t shoot the messenger and don’t bring a cheap poncho from the dollar store!!!)

    I bought hand warmers that will last 10 hours for my MITTENS (not gloves) and foot warmers that will last 6 hours for my boots at Agway this week for $1 each packet. I also bought merino wool (the best insulator) long johns and even socks that are battery powered ($10–not sure I should trust them completely though???)

    They say 80% of your body heat dissipates from the top of your head–get a fleece-lined “Yukon” style hat with ear flaps that tie down nice and snug (you can develop a terrible earache in a very short time in wintry winds) and a good scarf that will keep your neck warm plus you can also use it to cover your mouth and nose if the air is REALLY frigid that day (people from California and Florida have no idea what I am talking about here!) January temperatures in DC are reportedly like in the mid-20’s in the mornings rising to the mid-40’s midday.

    While most museums are free and will be open along the march route on Saturday…just remember that they all have some sort of security check line (could be very long) and you won’t be able to run right in to use the restroom, get a snack or just get warmed up again. Search online for the websites designed specifically to locate and rate restrooms in the museums and around DC in general.
    The porta-johns along the route are not going to be “user-friendly”. For one, they are not too private–at Obama’s last Inauguration, people were using them to sit on top of for better views! Often they are too far away from you and have not had the paper replaced towards the end of the day. Bring hand-sanitizer, your own paper source and maybe even the new compact version of Depends (especially important if you are hydrating like you should all day.) Starbucks has always generously offered the use of their restrooms to non-customers and most locations will let you do that (and who can’t find a Starbucks when you need it?). Hotel restrooms are usually easier to gain access to than restaurants’–just act like you belong while crossing the lobby.

    PS It was 15 below zero here where I live with a 40 mile an hour wind last week and I thought I was going to die just pumping gas for 10 minutes! LAYERS, folks!

  60. What about some plastic bags for all the trash and litter – which is normal to see after Democrats protesting. They leave the place looking like a dump. Maybe some advice how to handle the payd crowd of protesters: tell them – do not burn cars/flags, do not loot, do not riot – behave as decent people. As leftist they do have respect for women? Do they not? Ha ha… just kidding. Yeah, make your voice heard to the violent crowd ladies – if you dare, they are not helping. Merry Christmas and greetings from Norway.

  61. Having been to several of these type events, if there are large crowds, you may not be able to use your cell phone. Even if you get a signal, there may not be enough bandwidth to complete a call or even a text. If you are planning to meet up with people, make a plan to meet at a certain place and time and try to make it a place that other people won’t be using (not “let’s meet at the Washington Monument”). If you do need to use your phone, walk away from the crowd and you can usually get a signal within 6 or 7 blocks.

    Same applies to ATMs. If they use cellular communication, they may not work. Have some cash with you.

  62. Also good idea to bring honey sticks. Haven’t been at a protest rally yet that I didn’t deal with at least one diabetic who was under prepared. Hard candy can be choked on if person is less responsive.

  63. Another inexpensive long underwear option is Uniqlo: soft, warm, effective, though the sizes are not as wide-ranging as Lands End. Made of polyester mostly, BUT still stink-free. Very good value.

    1. They are great but I find their thermal leggings run short in the crotch – I wore them for a day, spent the whole day tugging the waistband up, and eventually gave them to a friend! My dad swears by their thermal tops though.

  64. I’m so glad I found your blog. I love the fashion advise and the point of view on other things as well! Thx!!!

  65. Thanks so much for this post. I’m torn about whether I should march in Washington or march here in California. But at least I know that I’ll be well prepared if I make the trek out East. In my heart, I am still overwhelmed that in this day and age (2016!!!) I would even have to consider marching on Washington to support women. I feel like this election has turned the clock back 50 years.

  66. Wintersilks has a nice variety of lightweight, warm silk under layers. Fairly pricey, but indispensable. I live in mine.

    1. Cycling or running tights, yoga pants, or jogging pants can help provide that comfy base layer. Check your friendly local thrift store!

  67. Such a timely post! I am going back and forth about attending my local march here in Boston or trekking down to DC… love the parka recommendation (although I my old coat still does the job so I can’t justify buying something new right now) and I agree on the silk underwear — I live in mine all winter long 😉

  68. I won’t be there, but I’m a longtime reader and this is officially my favorite post ever. Thank you!!!!!!

  69. Great advice! I like a secure nylon cross body rather than a backpack (can be more secure on the front of my body). Also: sunscreen (yes, I’m in California, but I think the sun shines in DC, too :-)! ) Happy protesting, my friends.

  70. Fantastic post. I’ll be there, too!

    One additional suggestion, based on attending the very cold 2008 Inauguration: those hand and foot warmer packets. I had on the warmest boots I owned and my feet were still getting cold until I put in the warming packs.

  71. I’ll be participating in the Portland Oregon march. I’m 44 and I’ve never marched in a protest before. This advice is really useful for a newbie like myself. Thanks for the great post!

  72. I’m in love with this post! I can’t go (an infant and a toddler aren’t great at multi-state travel) but a friend of mine is going and I’m sending her this post while she packs!

  73. Brilliant advice (of course) and a really important message. I think many of us need to start preparing our protest wardrobe, because we should all be hitting the streets frequently this next few years. Make yourself heard!
    I’ll be right beside you in spirit, bucking up your energy when you flag, reminding you of what’s most important, and giving you lots of love for being so brave and doing the right thing.
    lots of hugs

  74. Alison, thanks for this post! You’re my favorite blogger for many reasons, your politics included! I’ll be walking in Arkansas’ March & we’ve been asked to wear purple. Our state’s weather is usually not as frigid as yours (although today it’s 24!!) but who knows what it will be like in January. I’ll be prepared.

  75. I am attending the Women’s March in St Louis, MO. Thank you for the tips, a local boutique has a knit cap that says Feminist, it is on my list of things to wear, plus I am helping a sister out by shopping small. I will post a photo afterwards. Rock on sista

    1. Love this post and also the idea of wearing a Feminist hat from a small female-run business. If you post a link to her store I will buy it. Marching at Sundance!

  76. I really love how you’re going about using your blog here to voice your beliefs. You’re not being pushy or rude, you’re being polite and factual and providing help in a very unique and effective manner. A commenter on another site said she wanted to “normalize political behavior”, and I think this post and the Giving Tuesday posts are perfect examples of how to do that.

  77. Thanks, I realized I’ve been thinking more than usual about what I’ll be wearing to DC in a few weeks- very useful tips! Loved the pic of the March for Women’s Lives! I was there too!

  78. Nice combination of sensible fashion advice and tongue in cheek humor (making a political statement without actually offending). While I won’t be marching in D. C., I’m with you in sensibly clad spirit.

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