Style Sense: Swap, Don’t Shop

SS1I love saving money, and I have a hard time tossing down huge amounts for clothing (Goodwill, anyone?). Now, there are some things that are worth paying a little more for—good-quality classic pieces that will outlast the trends. But especially in this economic climate, and especially when our size is often changing with age, pregnancy, and diet, spending a lot on clothing can be impractical—and unnecessary.

I love to spend time with my friends, and I love new clothes. So may I suggest a perfect combination—no shopping required. For some “new” additions to this fall’s wardrobe, swap, don’t shop. Round up some of your friends, “old” clothes in hand, and enjoy the pleasure of a new wardrobe from the comforts of your living room. Leave the kids and the cash at home.

Organizing your swap

Inform your friends. Let your friends know that you’re organizing this swap. Grab some girls from your mom’s group, church, carpool, or neighborhood. There doesn’t need to be a limit on the number, but keep in mind how much space you’ll have for the swap. One thing to consider: styles and sizes may vary. Make the best attempt to invite those who have similar tastes and body types.

Choose a time and location. Make sure the location is large enough for your group and all their clothes, and that there is a clear-cut starting and ending time. It’s also nice if there are several “dressing rooms” for girls to try on things.

SS2Collect your clothes. Make sure all clothing is in good condition. Items should be clean, without stains and dirt. Don’t even bother bringing clothing with holes, unless the pieces have been well mended. Remember, if you wouldn’t want it, why would anyone else? The reasons for parting with your clothes is because your style and size change, not because they’re unwearable. Also consider including shoes and jewelry—I have had plenty of unworn accessories in the past that could have had a much better home elsewhere.

Determine the rules. How will the swap be handled? I don’t recommend a free-for-all. Perhaps have a drawing, where each girl chooses a number and you continue in that order until everyone has had a chance to accumulate some pieces. Swaps may also have the restriction that you may take as many items as you brought.

Make it enjoyable. Turn on some great music. Clear the house of men and kids. Set out some snacks, desserts, and drinks (each person may contribute one food item). Acquire some great “new” pieces, clear out some of your own that are cluttering your closet, but most importantly, have some great fellowship with friends.

As you are hauling your new wardrobe back to your house, after an enjoyable time with friends, you may be planning your next swapping adventure. Who knows, maybe you’ll never shop again.

By Lisa Grimenstein

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