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Try on a Clothing Swap for Size

Ylan Mui

I swear I will never stand in front of my closet and complain that I have nothing to wear ever again.

That's because I spent the weekend going through my clothes with a critical eye, pulling out items in perfectly good condition but that I rarely wear. I felt a pang of guilt as each article came out and I recalled how much I paid for it. Ouch.

But the purge was all for a good cause. My good friend Angel Stone , who runs Eshe Body Center, held a "fashion swap party" this weekend, and I had a whole bag of clothes to exchange.

Swap parties have become all the rage among recessionistas. We told you last week about the Greater Washington Clothing Swap, and Nancy recently wrote about people sharing and trading everything from bikes to power tools.

This weekend was my first time on the bandwagon. I brought three skirts and about half a dozen tops to swap, including a prized Juicy Couture sweater that never hung quite right on me. I had held onto it simply because I had paid a pretty penny for it and was too embarrassed to bring it back.

About a dozen girls gathered at Angel's apartment for cocktails and snacks before the swapping began. At first we were friendly and ladylike. We browsed the merchandise in an orderly fashion. We politely remarked on color, cut and size.

Then Angel allowed us to choose our first item, and the frenzy began.

I tried on dresses, pants, shirts, skirts and sunglasses. Our piles of clothes grew so large that more than once we picked up a cute top only to hear someone say, "Hey, I wore that here!" Everything felt up for grabs.

But here's the funny thing: Not only did I get a thrill from finding new clothes (Ann Taylor dress, Betsey Johnson skirt, Calvin Klein shoes), but I also got excited when a friend tried on something that I brought and loved it. The friend with the funky sense of style took my brown studded halter top from Benetton. My Juicy sweater found a new home with another stylish girl.

Anything that wasn't swapped will be donated to a local nonprofit, So Others Might Eat. Angel reports that they will be receiving five bags of clothing!

"Your participation in this event proved that being selfless is fashionable," she wrote to us in an e-mail after the party. "You made someone else happy and it cost you nothing."

By Ylan Mui  |  July 21, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Bargains , Consumer News , Ylan Q. Mui  
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