The very best sale

via we heart it

When I was a teenager, it was not uncommon for me to have an assortment of CD’s, video tapes, and various clothes belonging to my friends strewn around my room. We were always trading, sharing, and borrowing each other’s things. I guess it was a solution borne out of our incessant want for more things, and our inability to buy them for ourselves. It was quite smart really, even if not always well executed. (Who has my blue sweater? And when will Janelle finally return my Ace of Base CD??)

What happened to all that sharing now that we’ve grown up? Perhaps it’s just a lack of close girlfriends in near proximity, but I almost never share clothes with anyone anymore. It seemed to stop right around university, maybe because we all got busier and moved further apart, or maybe along with making money we started attaching more honour to being able to buy our own clothes. Whatever the reason, I’m pretty convinced my teenage self had the better idea – a more wallet-, closet space-, and planet-friendly idea.

Luckily, some wonderfully down-to-earth friends I’ve met recently think so too and actually did something about it: each spring for years now, they have been holding a clothing swap. I’ve had the privilege of attending the last two, most recently this past weekend.

It’s pretty simple: you get together a group of girls (of hopefully varying but overlapping sizes – this has seemed to work out well for us so far) and each brings their rejected, their no-longer-fitting, their I’m-just-plain-sick-of-it stacks of clothes. It tends to add up to a shocking amount. We go through the bags one piece of clothing at a time and you just grab whatever piques your interest. Once you’ve got an armload, you run off to change and trade, to gasp and compliment, and sometimes outright laugh. Whatever isn’t claimed in the end gets donated to charity.

I came home from this weekend’s clothing swap with basically my entire summer office wardrobe in tow. I got four pairs of capri pants, a few t-shirts (one brand-new), a dressy red knit vest, a silky turquoise top, a black pinstripe blazer, and a wonderfully flowy white top that is just begging me to take it to the beach. (A cute black dress with the tags still on nearly made it on this list, but alas, was too tight – bugger!)

I also got to be a bit adventurous in a way that my practical self would never allow if money were exchanging hands: I picked up a sweater dress and denim tights that I am not quite sure I can pull off, but am willing to play around with since there is absolutely no reason not to at least try (except to avoid potentially looking ridiculous, but I rarely reach my daily recommended intake of that anyway).

via we heart it

Besides the new wardrobe, what I love most about the clothing swap is the stereotype-busting display of honest female camaraderie. There is no underlying cattiness – we each just want to match the right person to the right piece of clothing, and that means conceding with a cheer a piece you had your eye on when you see how perfectly it accents another woman’s eye-colour, small waist, or newly-acquired mom-boobs. And accepting the compliment proudly when that woman is you.

So if you can find a group of easy-going women willing to share the deep crevices of their closet with each other, I highly recommend hosting a clothing swap. Cause you know what they say, one woman’s angst-inducing pre-motherhood oh-god-my-body-will-never-be-the-same-again clothes are another woman’s new summer wardrobe.

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Posted on May 9, 2011, in Life and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. ahhh I’ve heard of these magical get-togethers, how on earth did you find this group of women? sounds like so much fun!

  2. We totally did these in college — we called them Naked Lady parties. SUPER FUN. I’d love to do another sometime.

  3. NOW I WANT TO ORGANIZE A CLOTHING EXCHANGE! Gah! Do I even know enough people?

    What a sweet idea.

    • You know what’s kind of cool about it? A lot of us don’t know each other very well, if at all. There are a couple of girls who are the ‘hub’ and started it, and they each invite a friend or two, who then might bring along another friend or two – this time we ended up with about 8 of us. Free clothing just attracts people!

  4. That’s amazing!!

    I am surrounded by super tiny people here–run constantly, several inches shorter–so I’m boned. But I will love it from distance!

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