Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Why I love a (good) clothes swap

I've been volunteering at The Leeds Community Clothing Exchange for over a year now. It's grown and grown and now fills the Oblong Community centre on the last Saturday of every month from 12 - 4pm. So you'll notice the title of the post is "why I love a (good) clothes swap." I went to a clothes in London once and it was rubbish. The Leeds Community Clothing Exchange is a good swap and here's why:

1. A wide variety of clean clothes and accessories in good condition
2. Membership - it makes people come back again and again
3. Location - there is loads of room to move around and changing rooms with a mirror
4. Links to local charity - any clothes that aren't up to swapping par are bagged ready for a charity to come and collect and sell. It all helps extend the clothing lifecycle.
5. Staff - there are at least 10 volunteers at the Leeds Community Clothing Exchange who greet, sort, register, tidy and pack away.

This post is to combat any misconceptions that people may have around clothes swaps. Some people don't 'get them'. Clothes swapping is simply shopping for free in a big clothing tombola. And Forrest, you never know what you're going to get. For instance this week I saw 2 mint condition Superdry jackets snapped up, not to mention the gold Adidas high top trainers and the immaculate vintage jacket that waltzed off the rails. Here's what I picked up:

Topshop pleather trousers
Gap breton striped top
Vintage French Connection Jumpsuit

And here's how I styled them:

The pleather trousers look mint with the striped top, Topshop sliders and necklace and a leopard print scarf. The trousers are a wee bit hot for now so I'm saving them for Autumn.

The grey jumpsuit nails 2 trends this season - 1. Jumpsuits 2. Denim. The grey denim pops next to the lemon shoes and I went mental ala Mr. T with the necklaces - I love the contrast of the utility denim and the ladylike pearls. It does look reminiscent of a boiler suit and I did question whether or not I looked like one of the Ghostbusters but hey! That's the joy of vintage. Check out the label - proper old school:

Some people think that the clothes at a Clothes Swap will be 'dirty'. OK - sometimes they might not be freshly pressed but do you think the clothes that you try on in shops are either? Do you know how many times garments are tried on and put back? You've all visited fitting rooms, tried and discarded a garment which is then hung up, taken back out and placed on the shop floor. Food for thought - keep an open mind and give clothes swapping a try.

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