When times are tough, shopping for clothes can seem like too far a luxury. So, some women have discovered a nifty way to refresh their wardrobes – and to socialize
We all looked longingly at a dress or jacket and then thought we couldn’t afford it.
But there’s a good chance we can – if we got rid of all the unloved clothes hanging in our closets at home.
And some women do just that.
In some cases, this is a free clothing swap for everyone – also known as a swish. Other times there is a point system. Some fashionistas will charge cash. And in some evenings, it’s a mix of all three.
What all events have in common is the idea of using the value of old clothes to fund your new wardrobe.
Kal Di Paola is the Managing Director of Buy my wardrobe, a fashion resale site. Since the site launched three years ago, more than 1,000 sellers have signed up.
She said Mirror silver: “Before, the attitude was, ‘I’m not going to spend that much money. Now that’s good, because you can sell it.
“We have a lot of low income students and fashion lovers at our events. If you buy a second-hand dress, as long as you take care of it and clean it, you get it for nothing.
TO Buy my wardrobe, which only sells high-end fashion brands, Di Paolo estimates that the clothes are at least 50% cheaper than in stores, and often 70% cheaper.
Another site, rustling, sells used brands for just £ 4.
While many face-to-face exchanges are announced informally, this website has a list of upcoming events.
But if you don’t mind sending your clothes or waiting for an event, you can just invite your friends over and see what happens next.
Louise Croft, who writes the blog Poor to princess, said: “Don’t worry too much about it – bring in a group of girlfriends and ask them to bring clothes.
“If everyone flaunts all of their clothes – clothes horses are great for that – then you can all just walk around and grab whatever you want. Don’t worry about how much people take or what will work for whom – you’d be amazed at how easily this all works.
Here are some more tips from clothing swap hosts:
Trade or sell?
Your friends can compliment you on your fashion sense. But when time is of the essence, are they really going to give up something to bring your clothes home?
Heidi Aho, a charity worker in London, hosted her first clothing swap this year.
She said Mirror silver: “The clothes swap I hosted was one of the funniest events I hosted for my friends, pretty much for free. We browsed clothes, drank, chatted for almost seven hours.
“I was nervous that many people wanted the same item because the styles of the people there were quite similar.
“But in fact, there were very few items that more than one person wanted, as everyone’s style is still unique and idiosyncratic.”
Zing Tsjeng, journalist, prefers to sell his clothes.
She explained, “I’m trying to downsize my wardrobe, which means I would much rather see my clothes go to a new home than replace them with my friends’ ones.
“It’s also much more satisfying to have money on hand.”
What if we were different sizes?
If your friends come in different shapes and sizes, attending a themed clothing swap may be a better solution.
Kirsty Fife, an archivist, organized plus size clothing swaps across the Fat Positive Facebook group in London.
She said it saved her “a huge amount” of money: “I find most of my clothes are exchanged these days, so I only buy things every now and then, but I always have a full wardrobe. “
According to Kirsty, swapping clothes isn’t just a way to save money, it’s a way to socialize that doesn’t involve spending: “That positive, uplifting atmosphere isn’t something you want. just get by buying someone’s clothes on eBay. “
What if no one comes?
Kirsty promoted her clothing swaps through his blog, Twitter and Facebook. She said, “I invited some friends and then I encouraged them to invite more. This combination of word of mouth and social media has built a huge following. “
She recommends finding an inexpensive place to host exchanges, such as a community space or a pub reception hall.
You can also find some brilliant tips on how to host a clothes swap here.