Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Would Swishing by Any Other Name Be as Cheap?

Swish (v): to rustle, as in silk,
or your friends' clothes.
I swished this weekend. Or rather, I went to a clothing swap. It was awesome. Free clothes, timed conditions--it was like being on a game show. There was also socializing and snacks. One group I hooked up with had a whole strategy down. While we were still arranging our discarded clothes, they gathered their favorite items into a corner.

The way it worked (at this particular exchange) was that each person (girl) drew a number, 1 through 3. 1s would go first, then 2s, then 3s. Whoever happened to get a 1, would grab as many of the most coveted items as she could.

We would all have five minutes to grab six items at a time.

One of our group was a 1, and grabbed many nice things. I was a 2, and missed out on some asymmetrical braided leather sandals, but I grabbed more of the coveted pile. Actually, since I'm leaving the country soon, it was my intention only to dump, not to grab, and then see if I could live on my assigned capsule wardrobe.

But there were so many nice things.

Price of a new Banana Republic Skirt 
at Banana Republic: $80
 Price of a used Banana Republic skirt
at a swish: $0

One girl grabbed dress after fabulous dress, even as the rounds went on. I was inspired to do a little hunting myself, and probably grabbed some things I didn't need (but hey, it was free!). The gratis nature of the activity also encouraged me to try on or grab things that I wouldn't normally have bothered with. I had never been a bag person before, but I took home half a dozen (partially justified by how I would be more in need of bags to compartmentalize my things). I also got a dress that needed to be fitted, a pearl necklace, and a black pencil skirt from Banana Republic--just what I needed seeing that I my work skirts had gotten too frayed, too small, or too warm for the weather.

I had brought shoes, skirts, dresses, tops, jackets, coats, and jewelry. Some of it, I was sad to see go, but I was also mollified to see my peacock green dress from Thailand to go to one of my friends. Another dress, a black and white lace confection that had never looked good on me, was claimed by another girl who made it work. It made it easier to see my former clothes go, seeing other people wanting them. It also flattered my sense of style.

Bags to bring clothes to and from home vs. Bags to bring home.
I went in with a large trunk and a full bag and came out with few enough bags and clothes that they could fit inside the black traveling bag I had originally brought. Other girls recounted their own successes. They had come with two bags and come out with one. One girl was disbelieving. She had come with two bags and come out with three! There were still a ton of clothes left in the swap room. They would be left there until the next clothing exchange. Sometimes the owner of the property made donations to charity. Other times, when she was sick of her closet, she would go down and hunt for something new.

Swishing is a great way to rustle up some new clothes and accessories for yourself. It's a great way to reduce and revitalize your wardrobe. It's good for the environment, is great for socializing, and doesn't cost a thing. Organize one in your town this weekend.

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