Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Swap til you drop!

Happy New Year! I know many of us are extremely excited to be able to say we made it to 2012. This year things are going to be different, or so most say. One way to switch things up is to have a clothing swap, especially if you're dying to get rid of that holiday sweater that really just isn't your style.

Last year I attended a swap at a friends house, in which some lovely ladies and a couple stylish guys brought clothing and accessories they were ready to say "Sayonara!" to. My good friend Chelsea was a wonderful hostess, offering up a tasty spread of veggies, chips, dips and sweets. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed wading through racks and piles of apparel. I snagged myself a sweet summer dress and an oversized plaid button down from one of the gents. After all was said and done anything left was donated to those in need.

Today I attended another swap, but due to the last minute nature it was just my friend Annemarie and myself. As I'm trying to be very conscious of the clothing I add to my wardrobe this year, I decided to pass on the holiday gifts that were made in China. I also got rid of some brand new panties I'd gotten with Victoria's Secret gift card, after I read that the organic cotton used to make them was picked by child laborers in Africa. Annemarie picked a handful of items from my box and I picked two items from her pile. We decided to schedule another swap so more girls can participate next time around.

I'm totally in love with the concept of swapping. Why spend hard earned money when you can get what you need for free? This is also a fabulous way to do your part in helping our environment. Clothing production is a long, typically dirty and wasteful process. Swapping helps you get what you need without having to add to the problem of pollution. Keeping all that in mind, I feel that in order to have a highly successful swap one should focus on a few key componants:

A mix of body types - Most people know what it's like to feel left out of something fun - it sucks. Make sure you invite enough friends so as to have a variety of sizes and styles available.

Nutrition - A good host/hostess should provide at least some sort of snack for participants. The more people you invite the longer the swap is likely to take, so you friends will appreciate something to tide them over. To make things more interesting serve some cocktails, or turn it into a pizza party!

Plans for the clothes nobody wants - Once everyone has picked through the options there's probably going to be a few leftovers that didn't tickle anyone's fancy. This is the perfect time to discuss with friends where would be an appropriate place to take these items. Consider donating the remainder to a shelter, church, Salvation Army, thrift store, etc. If you're strapped for cash you could also look into a consignment store.

If you find yourself in the Rockville, MD area one store to check out is My Best Friend's Closet. Aimed towards preteen to adult women, they offer customers the chance to bring in any gently used, stylish items that are in season to receive cash. They also don't have a problem with you buying an item to wear for a specific event and then selling it back to them.

So the next time you feel your wardrobe needs something different, try organizing a swap with friends. Remember, you can swap anything - toys, books, movies, etc. Anything goes!

By: Sara Moline

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