Remember how much simpler it was to get dressed when you had a school uniform? Sure, it didn’t fit properly most of the time, provided zero protection against the weather in any season, and made you look like a twat and feel like a prisoner. But it also meant that choosing your outfit of the day was far less confusing or taxing in the morning.
To be fair, you probably also spent a lot less time hung-over as a high school student, which also helps matters.
Recently, my friends and I finally enacted a multi-way clothes swap and donation that, despite my low expectations, has forever changed the way I will go clothes shopping.
I like clothes. I like getting dressed up (for about 30 minutes and then I want to put my PJs back on), and when I’ve had a rubbish week, I really like shopping. Unfortunately my enthusiasm very rarely comes along with thoughtfulness, which means that although I have accumulated a massive wardrobe over the years, it is liberally peppered with some very unfortunate sartorial choices.
Take the monokini… or the leather miniskirt. Or better yet, don’t.
Fuelled by anticipation for an upcoming move, I ruthlessly sorted through my clothes, determined to weed out anything that didn’t fit, or look, or feel quite right. I tried to remain emotionless throughout the process, and to force myself to stop equating things with memories. Because you know what? Sometimes, a dress is just a dress.
By the end of the process, I had 4 heavy black bags filled with my former bad decisions- and I felt like a weight had also been lifted off my shoulders.
With a little prompting and the promise of food and free booze, a few of my friends applied a similar sorting process to their own clothes, and dredged up their own collection of questionable couture. We arranged clothing, bags, shoes and jewellery all over Cara’s flat, like a cosy flea market. Side note on the jewellery: So. Many. Beaded. Necklaces.
Between the cheap, champagne punch, Thai food and cake; we browsed, tried on, laughed, and got honest about the size of our asses. For a dinner party, it was a successful evening, but walking away with shopping bags filled with new finds that we hadn’t spent a cent on made it absolutely stellar.
After promising myself that I was streamlining, cutting down, reducing, and would not take anything, I ended up taking very many things indeed.
My hoard included:
– A pair of soft, comfy jeans
– A black and white hounds tooth coat
– 2 pairs of earrings
– 2 T-shirts
– A (different) beaded necklace
– A pair of high-heeled ankle boots
Almost better than getting a whole lot of free ‘stuff’, was seeing things that had been genuinely loved and enjoyed get a second home with people that I also genuinely love and enjoy. Sure my pride stings a little, seeing someone rock that short, floral shift like I never could, but at least I know it’s getting a new, better life with someone who looks much hotter wearing it.
Everything unclaimed at the end of the evening (and despite our ravenous hoarding, there was still quite a bit left) was placed back into the bags and given to Hospice and the SPCA charity shop.
I can’t promise I won’t ever make a monumentally monokini-level stupid clothing purchase again in the future, but after an immensely successful switcheroo, I feel a little more relaxed knowing that I won’t have to wear my shame on my sleeve (or my ass) before the next swap party.