Seattle-ite, +40 blogger, roller derby maven, vegan and unofficial #SECONDHANDFIRST advocate, Jean is a pretty cool person all around, and a delight to know. We met a while back at a blogger meet-up, and let me just say, as fun as her blog, Jean of All Trades may seem, she is much more fun (and stylish, and smart and pretty!) in person. I am honored to have her guest post today, covering a FANTASTIC Secondhand First practice: swaps.
Reduce, reuse, recycle. It's the mantra of eco-conscious people everywhere. I like to apply this philosophy to my sartorial life too. I try to shop less, I remix items in new ways, and I recycle.
No, I don't put my old clothes in with my bottles, paper and cans. I attend--and often host--clothing swaps.
Clothing swaps--or exchanges--are a fun way to recycle fashion. They keep clothing out of landfills and keep me out of the mall! Best of all, the clothes don't cost a penny.
Every swap I've been to has landed me with great "new" items. It's low risk too; If I don't wear something from a swap, I simply bring it back to the next one.
It's also a great opportunity to catch up with friends and meet other budget- and green-minded fashionistas. And despite the varying shapes and sizes of people who attend, there will be something for everyone. At the last clothing exchange I went to, we ranged from size 4 to 12, from 5′ 2″ to 5′ 11″ yet somehow we all found wonderful clothes.
If you've been thinking of hosting or attending a swap, here are a few things to keep in mind:
• Bring as little or as much as you want to get rid of, but gently worn items only. Leave items with holes or stains at home.
• Don't worry that no one will be your size or that you don't have much to offer. Bring yourself, and maybe some wine, and be part of the fun.
• Shoes, purses, belts, hats, and costume jewelry are also great to swap (plus, with the exception of shoes, accessories will fit almost anyone).
• Don’t fight over the goods! Remember that you wouldn’t have anything if you hadn’t been invited. And you won’t get invited back it you don’t play fair.
• Gather up and try on a few pieces at a time. Keep what you like, and return the rest promptly so others can discover them.
• Wear something that’s easy to slip in and out of and make sure you have on decent underwear! I wear boy shorts and a full-coverage bra so I don’t feel quite so undressed.
• Don't worry about people's sizes. Invite people who you think would have fun.
• Lay clothing around the room by type: pants on the sofa, sweaters on the coffee table. It will help people sort through the piles of goodies.
• Set up a full-length mirror so people can see how outfits look.
• Set aside a bathroom or bedroom for shy guests. Not everyone is comfortable changing in a group environment.
• Offer some snacks of beverages so people can take a break and socialize. After some nourishment, they'll be ready to dive in for second helpings of clothes.
• Pick a great charity so you can make sure leftover items go to a good cause.
I'm a huge fan of clothing exchanges. I've made great friends, re-homed perfectly good clothes, and scored wonderful items. Not convinced? Have a look at a few of the outfits I've assembled from clothing exchanges:
So, tell me, have you ever attended or hosted a clothing swap? What advice would you give?