I’ve always liked the idea that clothes have a life cycle. Perhaps that’s why I’m such a fan of vintage clothing and raking through charity shops, as whenever I buy something second hand I spend hours musing over who might have owned it before, how they would have worn it, where they may have taken it and similarly whenever I hand a piece of clothing on I wonder who might inherit it next and hope that they can give it the life of excitement that I perhaps never could.
I’ve definitely never been someone to worry about owning something that’s been previously worn (who cares?) and I’m a big advocate of passing clothes on to someone who needs them if they still have some good life left in them.
These actions however may be to blame for why I have so many clothes. I frequently endeavour to have a ‘wardrobe clear out’ but somehow at the end of it end up with as many new items as I have given away. I take pieces to the charity shop but then end up buying a bunch more while I’m there, I take part in car boot sales but then end up spending my earnings at other stalls as quickly as I’ve made them and I have a strict self imposed Ebay rule that I can’t buy anything until I’ve sold something of the same monetary value but inevitably every single time I sell something I end up buying something back.
So you can imagine why I jumped at the chance to take part in my first ever swap shop party, organised by the folks at Most Wanted, the magazine which is in conjunction with Voucher Codes UK, and gives handy tips and ideas on how to save money.
I’ve always loved the phrase ‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ as so often I find something that just doesn’t look right on me can look fabulous on one of my friends. This is the basic premise behind a swap shop and to be honest I’m surprised it’s taken me so long to get in on the act as it’s completely genius. You bring along a bunch of clothes that you no longer wear/ don’t feel suit you/ are keen to pass on and in return you get to take home a bunch of clothes that you will wear/ do suit you and are keen to have as part of your wardrobe. It’s like guilt free shopping!
Held in a warehouse space in East London and open to fashion and lifestyle bloggers (who inevitably own a lot of clothes) this event was made even more enjoyable with the addition of cocktails, cakes, a nail bar and a photobooth to the shopping experience. We were all charged with bringing up to 5 items with us – clothes, shoes or accessories that we were eager to get rid of – and each item was graded depending on it’s label and quality. For example designer or high end high street would give you three stamps, good quality items or mid range high street two stamps and lower end/ basic pieces 1 stamp. Once armed with your stamped ticket you were then free to roam the rails of clothes which were also sorted according to their stamp value. The great thing was that as more people arrived at the event, more clothes were added so even if you popped along at the last minute you might still find a little gem. Any clothes that were left at the end of the night were donated to charity so even if you didn’t find anything you liked you knew you were giving to a good cause.
I ended up with a whopping 11 stamps (you were also given 1 extra if you tweeted or instagrammed a pic of the event, which let’s face it none of us needed any persuasion to do anyway) after I had brought along the following pieces (would love to hear from you if you took home something of mine):
1. A pair of unworn ASOS snakeskin heels – bought over the summer but never worn as they didn’t quite fit me and I left it too late to exchange them.
2. A pair of Topshop heeled loafers – again practically unworn as they were a tad too big for me.
3. A pair of Whistles denim shorts – worn and loved but still in great condition.
4. A black Miss Selfridge velvet prom dress – never worn as it was a size too small and I loved it so much I foolishly thought I would one day get skinny enough to fit into it, which of course never happened.
5. A Biba printed trench coat – I did slightly regret giving this one away but it just wasn’t me so I hope it’s gone to a good home!
And I came home with all of this (again let me know if I’ve bagged your pieces):
1. A Full circle dress with sheer skirt which is a lovely fit and looks great on.
2. An ASOS cropped top which works perfectly with my high waisted full skirts
3. A vintage blouse which goes with pretty much everything.
4. A Tara Jarmon sundress – absolute diamond find!
5. A Gestuz pencil skirt with the most amazing fan pleating at the back (which sadly doesn’t fit over my large derriere so I’ll be re-swapping this one!)
On top of that I got to hang out with some lovely folks – Lucie, Sherin, Cat, Kristabel and Natasha and got to finally meet some of my Twitter buddies – Fleur, Laura and Claire, had a few tasty mojitos, had too much fun in the photo booth (as always) and didn’t spend a penny!! I call that a successful night out!
Big thank you to Voucher Codes UK for having me. You can read more money saving tips in their magazine and make sure you download their app which is full of discounts for restaurants, shops and bars so you will never be stuck for fun in the week before pay day!
I’m also taking part in the next part of the shwopping adventure, where Voucher Codes are charging a few of us with the task of styling up our swap shop goodies with pieces from our existing wardrobe to show how we wear them in everyday life – so stay tuned for that! I’ll leave you with our hilarious photobooth snaps!
*’Proper’ photos courtesy of Voucher Codes (first time in history I didn’t bring my camera Doh!) Instagram pics mine and photobooth pics courtesy of Say Fromage.