Is swishing the new black?

Have you heard of swishing? When I first came across the expression, I thought it was the sound my curtains make when I’m spying on the neighbours. But it’s actually a frugal craze that’s been sweeping across the globe during the recession.

Swishing simply means people getting together to swap clothes, accessories or shoes for free, providing them with something new and different for their wardrobe without the need to part with hard-earned cash. It has the added bonus of being eco-friendly, as it’s effectively another form of recycling, and is now considered ultra hip among the eco-fashionistas. As you might remember from last year, even the model Twiggy has got in on the clothes swapping act, making a TV programme about it. But swishing also now takes place on the internet – a bit like a clothes and accessories version of Freecycle or Freegle – with people signing up on sites such as or to swap unwanted fashion items, including designer gear, or to advertise their swishing parties.

This week I’ve decided to take the plunge into the world of swishing and try swapping a few items myself with my neighbour Nina. “Isn’t this just what friends do anyway?” she remarked when I suggested the idea and she has a point. Many housemates and friends have always swapped clothes items with each other. I’m an only child, so I don’t have personal experience of this, but I know that plenty of my school friends used to complain about their sisters borrowing their clothes without asking and ruining them! Unfortunately most of my former housemates were either male or a completely different size and shape to me, so sharing clothes wasn’t an option, although I have occasionally swapped accessories with them. I’ve thought about throwing a clothes swapping party before, but worried that either my friends wouldn’t like each other’s or my own outfits enough to want them (as we are all so different style-wise) or that they wouldn’t be the right size.

Luckily my neighbour and I am a similar size (although I have to say that she is far more trim and stylish), so I’m hoping that we might be more compatible swishing partners. I’ve asked her to join me in a swishing session later this week. Now I have the task of going through my wardrobe to find out which items I am happy to part with altogether, and others that I don’t mind loaning out for a while. I’m looking forward to trying out something new and will let you know how I get on later in the week.

Have you just got into the swishing craze or have you always swapped clothes with your friends or relatives? Is it a good way of maximising your wardrobe? Are there any drawbacks? Leave a message and let me know.

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7 Responses to Is swishing the new black?

  1. Flo says:

    Do people really still swish? If you have something really nice perhaps eBay or one of those shops which tries to get you a decent price on it will appeal – especially to those who are counting the pennies and just want to clear out the wardrobe. Methinks that the idea of swishing in my street would get cries of amazement that people could exchange perfectly good clothes. If they are that good, well you go on wearing them. Boredom is not an excuse for suddenly deciding that you need a change of wardrobe. The only things that go out here are things which go into charity bags and those donations are getting fewer. A lot of the charity shops locally are short on clothes and up to their eyes in books, videos, CDs, DVDs and ornaments.

  2. Kerri says:

    I like the principle of swishing but to me it seems as if it\’s the stuff of Chick Lit books set in glamerous New York or a trendy part of London. I would swap clothes with my friends but we\’re all different sizes so that\’s out of the question and I\’m not sure about going to a swishing party with a bunch of strangers if I am not likely to come back with something I like. I had a look at the websites and there is actually a swishing party in my area in the next week or so…but they are charging £10 admission?! well to me that\’s not in the spirit of swishing – given the choice would I want to pay £10 in the hope I might find a little gem…or put £10 towards something new that I have specifically chosen in a store of my choice? I do have some clothes that I want to get rid of, including a lovely silk dress from Warehouse which I\’ve worn twice and cost me about £80. At £40 a wear I\’d deff rather sell it than swap it…unless someone has some Jimmy Choos in a size 4 they would like to offer? lol!

  3. Bill says:

    Ladies, we fellas much prefer ter wear stuff out, & no one would have any great use fer me socks or shirts when I am finally finished with \’em. Me socks do find a new home as boot, or even window polishers, & have ter serve this 2nd life long & hard. Shirts also have a 2nd chance as hand-towels, or cleaning rags. If I need a new jacket etc. fers a funeral, I always try the Sally Ann shop fust, as they always specialise in good, solid clothing, & I only need ter wear it once. If unlucky, I simply try the other charity shops, until I find what I need. I suppose that charity shops are a pre-historic form of "Swishing". A simple form of mutual aid. I get me essentials at a price which I can afford, they get the cash. There is no loss to anyone, & even less waste. Pity the charity shops do not invest in a small corner fers clothing alterations. I have no problem with small repairs, but could never afford the facillities fers alterations. It could be a fantastic cash cow fers the charity shops already specialising in clothing. With volunteer labour keeping the price down, many of us would consume it.

  4. Piper says:

    Ouch. £10 admission to a swishing party doesn\’t sound very frugal to me! I know what you mean about the chick lit books, Kerri! It does sound as though it could be something Carrie Bradshaw got up to with her mates because it was \’fabulous\’! For our swishing session I\’m actually thinking that accessories and scarves etc. might be easier to exchange because they aren\’t dependant on clothes size. Hopefully a couple of Nina\’s friends might be coming along too, so we\’ll see how it goes.

  5. Unknown says:

    Have you heard of where you can swap clothes, accessories and children\’s clothes for points not pounds? Membership is free and points can be traded across the site. List and swap your kids clothes and treat yourself!

  6. Karin says:

    Another fab site that I have been using is where you can swap/swish clothes shoes and accessories for free, got a nice wedding outfit for my babies outgrown baby gym the other day… and it was all free – Wicked, is all I got to say!

  7. Piper says:

    Thanks. Will check those out.

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