Most mornings, I stop on my way out into The County for coffee. This morning, I stopped at a Starbucks en route, unloaded the last two days' breakfasts' trash out of my car, and stumbled in towards caffeine. (Even after an amazing sunrise yoga class with Trainer Jen, a shower, and an outfit I love, I still am not awake until I imbibe the Nectar of the Awake.)
Wait in line.
A few people in front of me is a woman so striking, I had to look twice. I might have actually been staring.
I don't know how old she is, but I was struck first by her light silver hair, cut in a straight, long bob. Most women go short as they go grey, or color their hair. This woman is what I aspire to me when my hair changes color. I hope and wish that my silver or grey or white hair (whatever it decides) will be as beautiful as hers is, and that I can keep it longer, like she has.
She had minimal, but pretty makeup. She was tall, at least as tall as I am, so 5"9' or above, and slender. You might even say she had a willowy frame, which is almost as enviable as her hair. But what really held my attention was her outfit. She had on a structured and fitted - but airy - white tunic-y top. It harkened to a peasant top without having that excessively blousy, and therefore sometimes sloppy, feel. Underneath she had a simple white cami (we won't talk about how it was almost cropped and she's fit enough that there wasn't a muffin top in sight). She wore gently faded and most likely favorite straight cut jeans.
I stopped her at the creamer. "I adore your blouse," I said. "It really suits you."
She looked up, grinning. "It was out of my daughters' throwaway pile. I have two college age daughters, and I went through their piles, saying 'I'll take this, and this, and this.'"
"Well, it's lovely," I said.
Really, she had it down. The blouse is in no way damaged, is entirely current, and suited her, her frame, and, in the whole minute I spoke with her, her personality. But her daughter didn't want it any more.
We all have those pieces. We used to love them, but don't anymore, for whatever reason. Perhaps they just don't fit, or even just fit the way our bodies have changed (they do that, you know). But because we've taken care of our clothes, we can't bring ourselves to donate them, and they hang in our closets.
The more valiant of us bite the bullet at some point, clean out our closets like Stacy and Clinton want us to, and a woman in need benefits from our excess.
Others of us, though, just choke at the idea of emptying our closets (because that's really what it feels like) of pieces that don't work anymore, leaving the hangers bare and us with nothing to wear.
Again, my Starbucks friend had it right. She swapped. As soon as she told me that she'd found the blouse in a "trash pile," I remembered an event I've been meaning to share: dewdrop DC's Spring Swap & Shop. Given the success of the November 2011 event, I'm guessing more than a few of you were there. As owner Kristine wrote, "you would have thought the iPhone 5 came out the way people were outside standing in line." Her recap shared swappers' scores, and if last year is any indication, this spring's swap will be a blast.
A clothing swap is the perfect way to rescale your closet, whether out of - ahem - resizing (#healthyme, anyone), changing styles, or even changing jobs. No longer work in a buttoned-up law office? Maybe your girlfriend has just scored her first lobbying gig. Swap your suit for her casual chic skirt and blouse. In between sizes, like me, and don't want to spend any money on new clothes until you've hit your goal weight? Bring those pieces you swear you're never going to wear again (because you're going to stay healthy), and see if you can find a few key pieces in your in between size.
For those of you not in the DC area, or otherwise not able to attend the April 21 swap (details below), keep in mind that swaps are good for all sorts of reasons, and don't need to be formal and fancy. All you need is a few friends with similar enough sizes (though accessories and shoes are certainly size-neutral(er) and perfectly swappable, too), someone's living room, and I would modestly suggest, a bottle of bubbly. And maybe some snacks. Make it a brunch, make it drinks. You could even make a dinner and fashion show out of it, if you get silly enough. The most important parts, though? First, no offense taken if your things are or aren't swapped. Whether or not your clothes match someone's aesthetic or size is not a reflection on you. Secondly, everyone attending has to commit to donating whatever isn't swapped to a cause. The commitment is stronger if you all agree on a single charity - like Goodwill, where dewrop's Swap & Shop remainders will go - and one of you "signs up" to be the delivery gal. And if you still don't have courage to get your friends together, find a local swap. They're popping up all over the place. And go to dewdrop's!
Never before swapped? The Washingtonian has a great Shop Around blog post on scoring the best loot at a swap.
What: dewdrop's Spring Swap & Shop
Where: Hilton Arlington (950 North Stafford Street, Arlington, VA - more space! lots of room! no lines!)
When: Saturday, April 21, 2012, from 12:00-3:00 pm
Why: Do some spring cleaning by getting rid of items they no longer wear and bring them to the swap in exchange for items from other fashionistas! Remainders to go Goodwill! Oh, and did I mention pop-up shops on-site from 12:00 - 3:00 pm, too? Brown Sugar Designs, Charmed Boutique, Closet Junkie Boutique, Elan Renegade Vintage, Grace & Lux, Lola Ro Jewelry, Snob Swap, Stella & Dot, Trendsetter Jewelry Designs, and Zulu Gypsy Vintage
How: All of this bit is important.
Tickets are $10 with at least five items and $15 without any items (with a 10 item limit). Tickets are available at http://dewdrop.eventbrite.com.
Bring five items or more of stylish like-new or vintage clothing, shoes and accessories. Fill up a bag with as many items as you want. All sizes are welcome and encouraged. Items from spring/summer season only accepted.
To avoid long lines and to maximize our time to inspect for quality, there will be a drop-off time of 12:00-1:30 pm, where customers can drop off their items and not wait for a voucher of the number of items checked in. The doors to the swap open at 1:30 and close at 3:00 pm sharp. Tables and clothing racks will be sorted out by size, from extra small to plus size.