Yesterday was our 4th annual clothing swap!
We ( Holly and I ) held our first swap the very first year we moved to Montreal. I had always wanted to hold one and finally got my act together and committed to it. With nothing but 4 clothing racks, 100 dry-cleaning hangers, 40 cupcakes and the secret ingredient…wine… we waited to see if anyone would come.
Well, come they did! With their jeans and blazers and shoes and scarves and purses and dresses. Armfuls of clothing, all pretty and pristine and ready for a new home.
A tradition was born.
We have observed some universal truths since that first swap.
We learned that people always bring more than they take. And that everyone has something in their closet with a tag on it.
That there are sizes for everyone. And that everyone loves shoes, shoes, shoes.
That teens need their own space to swap. And that moms love the teen space because we all buy our kids nicer clothes than we buy ourselves.
That the first time a swapper swaps, they are tentative and a little worried. The second time they swap? They are right in there at 2PM, ready for the first grab. 4th year? They do not even make it past the mannequin at the front door before finding something awesome ( yes, you can undress the mannequin…we do not have any stuck up store rules! ).
Cupcakes and brownies are the universal food of swapping…but all the grapes and tomatoes will disappear as well.
That there are swappers who love the dressing room. And swappers who never disrobe. Ever. Not once in four years.
Why, when you can just fit that dress right over top!
We have honed some details since that first swap. We made a lot less rules. Tooling around on the internet ( yes, Pinterest ), I found that there are a lot of clothing swap rules. Hell, there was even a clothing swap where the hostess spelled out a dress code to best complement her clothing swap decor.
Nope. We are simple…bring the items sitting, lonely, in your closet that you would want your best friend to wear. The best of your unloved. The pieces you bought because you could not resist them…but that somehow let you down once you got home. You know how that happens. Too often. And then swap them, allowing them find life again on someone else.
We really believe that there is clothing waiting for everyone. Especially beautiful jackets that everyone coveted but…like in Cinderalla…was only meant for one!
In the early years, the swap was totally and completely free.This year we switched that up. We had a dedicated charity and asked that every participant donate 5$ to the cause ( the Sheela Bal Bhavan School in Jaipar, India, if you are curious ). This was awesome and several hundred dollars was raised for an extraordinary cause. Girls helping girls.
And of course, as in the other years, all the left over clothing will be donated to charities supporting women. The teen clothes will go to teens in need and to India with Holly’s trip. The casual clothes will go to young moms. The business clothing will go to women needing to revamp their wardrobes to re enter the work force. Women helping women.
And so as I look around at my post swap home, waiting to undress those racks and pack up the hangers for another year, I am smiling.
And already planning next year’s swap.
Let me know if you want in on the fun, new swappers always welcome!
Oh, this year, we had a photo booth. While this may come across as one of those over the top Pinterest fuelled ideas, let it be known that we had the backdrop and all the props on hand already. So only a little bit crazy. Teeny tiny bit cray cray. Kind of like the photos…