Clothing Swap

Red Stamp, March 2014


Last fall, I was researching a fashion article and I stumbled across the idea of a Ten-Item Wardrobe. Inspired by the simple, chic style of French women, the idea is to pare down your wardrobe to a core set of high-quality garments that can mix and match with every other item. This causes you to think through your purchases before you make them and truly love what you buy, ensuring each item reflects your personal style.

This idea re-entered my mind at the beginning of this year as I was contemplating simplicity—using less to teach myself to want less, opting for quality over quantity, paring down the amount of what I use and own. Though I want to live my entire life with more simplicity, this thought in regard to by closet especially hit home.

I’ve noticed lately that I actually do gravitate toward the same core items in my closet, creating various outfits around a handful of different shirts and sweaters. Yet my closet is filled to the brim with clothes I just can’t seem to part with! And trust me, I’ve tried. But I am the queen of justifying items in my closet, even if it’s something I wear only once a year. “My grandma gave me that sweater, and it used to be hers. It’s a classic style!” {No matter that I’ve worn it twice in the past two years.} “I wore that on my first date with that guy!” {Sure, it didn’t work out, but I really liked him at the time!} “My freshman roommate gave me those pants!” “I got this shirt during that trip to New York!” “That’s my Christmas sweater!” I could go on and on. I have a nostalgic tale for every item I can’t seem to part with. And the hard part is, it’s not that they’re too shabby to wear or that I’ve outgrown them. It’s merely that they don’t best reflect my current style. Which is exactly why I don’t wear them in the first place.

So, for the past month, I’ve been caught in this place of desiring simplicity, while my sentimental heart beats wildly in protest every time I contemplate clearing out the clutter. What’s a girl to do?! And then, the ladies at Red Stamp proposed a *clothing swap*. The answer to my conundrum! It’s so much easier to part with those nostalgic items when I know they’re going to a good home and I can refresh my wardrobe with some new items and not break my shoestring budget in the process. Voila!

So, after some planning, we all gathered together with armfuls of clothes in tow. We mixed some drinks, threw on some music and pursued the stacks of beautiful clothing that our stylish friends, and friends of friends, had brought to exchange for something new and exciting for our own closets.

What I have now are items that mix and match beautifully with each other, creating innumerable outfits so that, despite my wardrobe’s smaller size, I won’t get bored with the pieces I have. With a refreshed combination of old + a few new-to-me items, I have a closet with a lot more breathing room and one that better reflects my current style. I’m still working on building a wardrobe full of high-quality staples a la Madame Chic, and I’m still far off from the Ten-Item Wardrobe (honestly, I don’t know that I’ll ever cut down that much). Best of all, I didn’t waste any money in the process, so I can continue to save for those investment pieces to anchor my wardrobe. (I’m looking at you, Billie Boot.)

Even better than the gorgeous new clothes I scored? The lovely ladies who attended our clothing swap! We all invited a few friends, so at the gathering I got to meet new fantastic friends + got to know the ones I already knew even better. Along with a couple of new sweaters, I have a couple more friends. How *sweet*!

So, what are you waiting for? Throwing your own clothing swap is easy! Simply send out an invite to your girlfriends and have them invite friends from their broader circles. Consider hosting it at someone’s house or a meeting room at a co-working space. Set a date and time (Saturdays are perfect) and use it as not only an opportunity to score a few new wardrobe items, but as a way to meet a bunch of new friends!

If you’re wondering more about what key items every wardrobe should have, stick around. In the coming weeks and months we’ll be featuring some of those classic items that offer endless, multi-tasking style. In the meantime, here’s a simple guide to editing your existing wardrobe!

Are you a minimalist when it comes to clothing or is your closet bursting at the seams? Would you ever give the Ten-Item Wardrobe a shot? Tell us what you think!