Friday 24 June 2011

Clothes Swap Party

Brilliant idea or fraught with danger?

When I was asked if I wanted to go I thought it was a brilliant idea. Bring along 5 items of clothing that you no longer wear and swap them for something you hopefully will wear. Simple.

But in the build up, I started to think/stress about it and spotted a few problems.

  1. The clothes that are there to buy will be awful. Fact.
  2. You are an awkward shape (size 14 hips, size 16 waist, size 18 top) so a good fit is unlikely.
  3. The 'older' generation that have been invited are unlikely to be bringing hot fashion items. More likely polyester floral prints with gold buttons.
  4. The 'younger' generation that have also been invited are unlikely to be bringing anything you can wear in public at your age.
  5. You don't want anyone to see what you have donated for fear of 'did you see the state of that' raised eyebrows.
  6. Anything you do buy is a friends cast off and you can't wear it because 'they will know'.
  7. If a friend buys one of your cast offs do you tell them? If not, every time you see them are you going to be kicking yourself that you gave it away because it actually does look nice?
  8. Are you going to regret your donations and think about what you could have got for them on ebay?
  9. You might buy something that you think looks good but your friends are thinking "what does she look like?"
  10. Do you pay for your stuff to be dry cleaned before you donate it?

You see, fraught with pitfalls!

But it was for charity, Motor Neurone Disease in fact. An extremely worthy cause. A hideous incurable disease that progressively devastates lives. The courage and strength that families muster is beyond admirable, it is awesome and I hope that one day a cure will be found.

So I grabbed carefully selected some clothes from the darkest recesses of my wardrobe (and laundered them where necessary, I hastily add) and took them along to the Charity Clothes Swap.

After quickly depositing my donations into a discreet box to be swifty swept away into another room, I grabbed a glass of wine (very civilised I'm sure and a great way of loosening the purse strings) and sought refuge at the back hiding my blushes behind a flyer for a style consultant.

My friend gave a very moving introduction raising awareness about Motor Neurone Disease and why it is vital to raise money for this charity. (Managed not to blub but I tell you, this disease is devastating). Then the Style Consultant let rip.

Within the first 2 minutes, on her advise, I would have to buy a complete new wardrobe. Out with the old and tatty (no matter how lovely and perfectly suited to your colouring and figure) and out with the dated (I swear my 90's fashions will come back one day). So left with bugger all to wear she dropped a few hints and tips about how to rebuild your wardrobe following a few rules. Never wear pastels unless you are less than 12 months old. Noone can ever wear beige/grey/black next to their face. Never tuck a top into trousers or skirts. Illustrated by some classic slides showing before and after shots, it was impressive and I'm sure with a makeup artist, a personal hairdresser and a limitless credit limit I too could knock a few years off. Obviously for a small fee she will personally assist with this exercise.

She hung around when the doors were opened to tell people to take back to the rails the (previously considered gorgeous) item of clothing as it did not suit them. Slightly counter-productive for raising money for charity I thought, persuading someone not to buy? Anyway...

As predicted I couldn't find any clothes to buy (polyester/ugly/too small) but there were some accessories too so my stash consisted of a couple of bracelets, a pashmina and a bag. For £1 each they were a steal.

Etiquette was interesting though. One school mum I was chatting to made it known that one of the bracelets I picked up was her donation. Was that a hint of pride I saw? I was told who the bag belonged to and safe in the knowledge that the previous owner has style and taste I shall use it. Even on the school run.Yes, publicly.

So in summary, Clothes Swap are a bit of fun. But here are a few rules of my own for attending such an event:

  • Give generously. Your donations should be clean, presentable and you should be able to imagine one of your friends wearing them.
  • Don't point out your donations to everyone. Bit cheesy. Just saying.
  • Before buying something else try it on and ask for another opinion. No point swapping something you don't wear for something else you won't wear.

More than £600 was raised at this event so they are definitely worth it and yes, I did enjoy it. A good giggle.

Do you have any clothes swap stories, funny, embarrassing or outrageous? Do share...


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