Jun 23, 2012

Swap is the New Shop

Posted by Tonia at Saturday, June 23, 2012
Estrofests is thrilled to host guest blogger, Cynthia Marshall Shore. Cynthia is a writer and happy mother of two beautiful daughters. She blogs about her adventures in parenting girls to women at http://growingmygirls.com

By Cynthia Marshall Shore

I just threw my first clothes swap and now I’m hooked. I’ve got some new-to-me clothes and a more organized closet – what could be better? No clothes in a landfill, wonderful free duds, and that all-important itch of discontent now scratched. Life is good! Good food and drinks, great friends, new outfits - the urge to organize a husband-swap has now disappeared. Strange how that works.… 

When throwing a clothes swap, it’s important to set the scale to your comfort level. At my first swap, a birthday potluck, women burrowed through wrinkly clothes in tattered paper bags, tossing unwanted things aside, leaving me to scrounge around on the floor. (Which yes, I did. I love new clothes.) Even so, I came home with something I still wear – but I did wash it first.
The second one wasn’t technically a swap. It had racks filled with our elegantly hung and low-to-moderately priced contributions, many of them from labels I only dream of. There were tables laid out with rows of high heels and bags and a local knitwear designer came to sell her wares at full price. It was held in a beautiful, high-modern house and champagne was served. The floor was carefully avoided. Very fun, but didn’t come home with much.
My friend, Molly (her blog as a wannabe DIY superhero can be found here), and I modeled our clothes swap on the third swap I went to: an appetizer potluck. Clothes were laid out carefully on couches, tables and (recently vacuumed) carpets. Guests provided the good food; we provided the good wine (well ... ahem ... at least it was chilled). Husband was banished to his office; oldest daughter was permitted. In fact, she made the first score – a pair of patchwork pink Converse high tops. The grown-ups were shy at first, clinging to their plates of crackers and cheese, until Molly and I broke the ice, picking out pieces and bringing them to people. Soon, we were all stripping down in the living room, seeing what would fit. We watched each other try things on, gave advice, talked about foundation underwear and made boob jokes whenever someone squeezed into a low-cut dress.
Of course, there’s always one – be prepared – always one woman who looks great in everything she tries on and takes home more than anyone else. Sigh. She looked fabulous and the rest of us went back for a second round of dessert.
But everybody found something. All unwanted leftovers were taken to a thrift store except those grown-up pieces that got snapped up during my daughter’s end-of-swap scrounge. Her style theme in the last few days is now “elegant and baggy.”
A cleaner closet, a virtuous sense of thrift, new clothes to enjoy; not many parties can promise all that. We’re looking forward to doing it                                                   again in the fall. 

Cynthia Marshall Shore is a 53-year-old writer and happy mother of two. A former columnist, her work has also appeared in the New York Times and other magazines. She is currently blogging about parenting at http://growingmygirls.com Go check her out!


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