Friday, April 23, 2010

Clothing Swaps - A "How-To" in Humanity

Trade.  Exchange.  Give.  Barter.  Lend.  Borrow.  Swap.

Call it what you will.  People have been practicing the art of the swap well before today's trendy label was affixed.  Either way, it's no surprise to me that clothing swaps have become very "in" these days, especially among my fashion-forward peers. 

Our motivation?  Well, most of us make an attempt to live as greenly as we can, even if we find ourselves whizzing through a yellow light on occasion.  We flaunt our creativity and social prowess by hosting a party in the name of the three R's, all while flexing our thrifty muscles.  We each go home with a load of new different stuff, remarkably, while helping others as a result.

These folks know exactly what I mean...  According to them, clothing swaps are "revolutionizing America's approach to fashion."  Hmmm....  A strong statement, indeed.  My hand-me-down hat's off to them for taking note, organizing clothing swap fundraising events for charities, and spreading the word on how it all works.

And they're certainly not the only "voice of the swap" out there...

Many articles have been written on the how-to's of swapping, and there are even online options outlining the hands-off approach to hand-me-downs.  In the midst of the social savvy hoopla that has saturated our go-to media outlets, I just can't help but reflect on the fad and wonder how we'll feel when the economy comes back around... and the newness wears off.

Which in turn, leads me to realize that this concept is far from new.  A stretch, perhaps, but early explorers scoured the seas searching for new trade routes.  Retail stores exchange items to ensure a pleasant experience for consumers.  And school children continue to get a thrill out of swapping potato chips and cookies during lunchtime. 

What's the common thread?  How are today's clothing swaps different than yesterday's swap meets, flea markets, and trading posts? 

For me, there's no major difference at all.  I relish in the satisfaction of knowing that I've made a friend feel pretty and confident by offering up an old pink trench coat.  That just because I repeatedly purchase shoes that seem to fit in the store, but don't when I get home, the money I spent wasn't a total loss. I know I can swap them for something equally as fabulous that actually fits.  And finally, that I can walk into the Goodwill by my house on any given day and find an item that didn't to find a new home at one of our swaps.

Trade out any synonym for "good" and that's exactly how it has always felt.  I remember the warm fuzzy feeling I got in elementary school when I'd trade my Doritos for a classmate's apple.  Or when my older cousin Caryn handed me a huge garbage bag full of her old clothes.  And today, that same feeling emerges when I set aside certain items from our swap parties for the sixth-grade girl I nanny for.  It will be that way for me long after the how-to articles are archived and we've found a more exciting reason for hosting parties.

That coveted "good" feeling is MY common thread.  I look forward to weaving it into future endeavors, and swapping misfortune and greed for a lifetime of newness and contentment.

What's YOUR common thread?


1 comment:

Single Mom in the City said...

I think mine is "savings" I'm always looking for savings, when it comes to time, money, etc....and swaps are like a two-for-one. It saves time on having to shop and money (and ADDs the benefit of hanging out with all of my favorite friends!)

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