As my first ModlyChic-sponsored Swap Event in Chicago approaches, I’m realizing the bad reputation ‘used’ clothing still has to many people. For those that have never been to a clothing swap, which is the majority of my intended audience, it is hard to explain the amazingness of a swap. Afterall, who wants to wear someone’s castaways?
Perhaps the bad taste is due to the dreaded hand-me-downs we got as kids. Okay, actually as the oldest I didn’t get stuck with too many hand-me-downs. But my sisters, brothers and cousins certainly got enough off these items. The season would change, we’d pull out all the boxes for the approaching weather and then it was a try-on fest. Pants, shirts, dresses all moving from one to another. Not much new came in if we had enough in the hand-me-down department. I know we weren’t alone in this. My sisters would complain about wearing my last year’s pants. Couldn’t they buy new jeans?
Oh and then there is that smell that accompanies someone else’s clothing. If you thrift, or have ever stepped into a consignment shop – you know the smell I am talking about. It’s a mixture of 100 types of perfume, moth balls, dank basements and musty attics. Um, yum.
All those factors make explaining a swap or thrift shopping difficult. Why would you want to wear something that has already been draped over the body of another? Who knows where that item has been.
I had the same sentiments just a few years ago. A thrift store? I never stepped into one. It sounded like a serious step down from Wal-Mart clothing. On a whim I made my way to a thrift shop and purchased a vintage dress, not sure I would ever overcome the smell or the thought that someone’s grandmother probably wore this to the beach in 1960. But I overcame the aversion and love the dress, still to this day. Now I’m a serious thrifter. I sell my items at Second Time Around and purchase a fair amount from there too.
My first clothing swap gave me similar thoughts of thrift stores. I envisioned sifting through tables full of other people’s stained and holey castaways. And then I miraculously managed to grab a pair of straight-legged Paige jeans and I was sold. Swaps were SO for me. (Check out my post on how to swap like a pro.)
So this is all to say… Give thrifting and swapping a chance. You might be pleasantly surprised like I was. You might find a new favorite shop. Your closet and your wallet will thank you.