Yesterday I held my first swishing (clothes and accessory swapping) session at my home. It sounds ridiculous but I actually got nervous, wondering what my neighbour Nina would make of my unwanted clothes and accessories. She has her own funky style but I slob about in jeans and a T-shirt most of the time. What if she hated my stuff or none of it fitted her?
I also wasn’t too sure about the etiquette of what you’re supposed to do at swishing parties. Some I’ve read about on the internet sounded a bit scary – with rules and regulations about waiting until the appointed time to pick the items you want and ‘no biting or scratching’. I’ve been at a party (in my youth) where the police were called, but never to one featuring grown women scratching each other’s eyes out over clothes.
We had hoped that some of Nina’s friends might join us, but in the event they were too busy. However, in a way it wasn’t a bad thing because we were both a bit nervous. Oddly enough, it also turned out that Nina was as anxious as I was. What a daft pair!
I’d gone through my wardrobe to find items that either didn’t fit me or I didn’t want anymore, discarding a few that were a bit too grubby for other people to try on. There were also a couple of things that friends or family members had given me in the past that either weren’t really ‘me’ or didn’t suit me. I didn’t have a clothes rail so I decided to lay my items out on a few sheets spread across the floor in our lounge.
Nina explained that she often hoards many clothes items because, even if she doesn’t like them or they don’t fit anymore, she can’t bear to get rid of them. I’m the opposite. Every six months or so I feel compelled to do a purge and trim my wardrobe, personal belongings and book collection and take unwanted items to local charity shops. In fact, I was surprised that I had so many items for the swishing session because I’d had a cull fairly recently, but evidently it hadn’t been ruthless enough.
So, after a bit of a chat, we got stuck into some swishing. Last year my Mum bought me a beautiful gypsy top for my birthday. Unfortunately, because I have a short torso, it makes me look like a hippo because of the cut. I was in agonies over disappointing my Mum but, when I confessed, she said that if it didn’t look right on me, I should get Nina to try it on. Fortunately Nina really liked it and looked great in it, which was a relief.
I was drawn to a reddish shirt and beads that Nina had brought along and they looked good on me. She’d also brought a dress that was now a bit too big for her as she’s lost weight and is looking very trim. I wasn’t sure at first because I rarely wear dresses, but when I tried it on it fitted like a glove. Nina wore it to a wedding and I have one coming up soon to attend and now have a lovely new outfit to wear for free. Great!
I also picked up a blue scarf and a beautiful black and silver necklace, while Nina went home with a couple of bracelets I rarely wear. It was really fun dressing up and putting together some new outfits. And best of all, it cost nothing. I’m now convinced of the benefits of swishing – in small friendly groups at least, with no hefty fees (unless perhaps going to a charity) or scratching involved – and thinking of suggesting a session for our Billericay Greening Campaign’s ‘green day’ in June.
Would you be happy to ‘swish’ with people you don’t know or would you be nervous of doing so? Have you swished items online? Leave a message and let me know.
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