Beg, Borrow, Steal … Or Swap

Fbeacon's closet broad city shoppingriends of mine host a huge women-only clothing swap twice a year. They turn a spacious Tribeca loft into a Loehmann’s: cheerful ladies grab things off of tables to offer to each other with a “This would look great on you!” They kick off heels to try on boots and shrug into coats and, when they need a break, collapse in the kitchen for a bit to gossip and eat something and reenergize.

Once I got a black, white, and yellow Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress at the swap. Someone had brought it in one of many overflowing shopping bags, because she had had it for ages and was bored with it. I can only hope she found something half as good to take away with her.

Other times I’ve gotten simpler items: solid-colored tops, gym clothes, scarves. I’ve never left empty-handed, even when I was pregnant, and I’ve never been sorry I went.

That’s true of every swap I’ve been to, in fact. At a local moms’ swap, two little Betsey Johnson coats and a rabbit fur hat. At a swap in Greenpoint, a dress I ended up wearing on television. And I get to clear out my closets at the same time without having to risk the judgment of the disaffected fashionistas of Beacon’s Closet.

Of course, not everyone lives in dense, urban areas full of people who like to switch up their wardrobes with some frequency. The Internet provides us with remote alternatives. There’s Freecycle. In the UK, there’s the very similar Freegle, which makes me think, with nostalgic fondness, of “Fraggle Rock.” And now apparently there’s Yerdle too. App motto: “More joy, less stuff.” I haven’t tried any of these yet, though I am curious. Does swapping work well even without supportive strangers scoping you out and saying, “Oh, you have to take those jeans! They make your butt look amazing!”?




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