On Tuesday, I scored myself a big blue Ikea bag full of new clothes including dresses, skirts, shoes, tops, handbags, and jewelry.
And I didn't pay a cent for it.
And no, I didn't rob anyone.
I went to a clothing swap. Which is exactly what it sounds like. A group of us get together, bringing clothes you have become sick of, or that don't fit you anymore, and you swap.
I've been to a number of these over the years in Pittsburgh, organized informally amongst groups of friends, and then in the last year or so, the amazing and lovely Kate Stoltzfus organized a group here called the Steel City Swappers.
Kate was generous enough to host the swap on Tuesday, and it was so much fun. We all brought wine and snacks, so there was plenty of hanging out and connecting, there were clothes everywhere, everything from a size 0 - 12, and all kinds of styles.
Right before we kicked things off Kate had us go around and introduce ourselves, and what we were looking for so that we could help each other out.
I brought my coworker Jenna with me since the start-up budget doesn't allow for a new fall wardrobe and neither of us had been shopping in months. We had a blast. And all week I've been wearing great new outfits.
Not only are clothing swaps great for any budget, but they're also environmentally sustainable. The amount of clothing and textiles that end up in landfills is astounding. And while some of that stuff biodegrades faster than say styrofoam, it doesn't happen quickly.
Oh, and you'll also make new friends and strengthen your sense of community, so clothing swaps are a win-win-win situation basically.
I love clothes. I really do. I have way too many, and I want more, and I believe in fashion as a form of self-expression and creativity and getting dressed everyday makes me happy. And helping other people get dressed makes me happy. So I indulge in it. But clothing swaps are a totally guilt free way of revamping my wardrobe.
So THANK YOU to all of the Steel City Swappers who participate - you all have fantastic taste, and I think it's great you're willing to engage in a creative and sustainable activity. I already can't wait for our next swap.
Anyone else who might happen to read this blog - start swapping! It's the easiest thing. Seriously, call up your friends, and invite them over to swap clothes. You won't regret it.