One Woman's Junk...

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In every woman’s closet there’s a clothing item that languishes away, worn maybe once a year (for pity’s sake) or never worn at all. Whether a gift, expensive purchase or laden with buyer’s remorse, this item needs to go and Chelsea Slocum is here to tell you where to take it—to the clothing swap.

“People are skeptical at first,” says Slocum who’s attended and is now holding a swap in her home. “They picture clothes in a giant mountain and women sifting through them.” Women also wonder how different body shapes and sizes fit into the equation. But the fact is, a better way to describe it, is a wardrobe swap.

“There’s more to a wardrobe than clothes. There’s shoes, scarves, hair accessories, jewelry, purses.” Guests are encouraged to bring ten to fifteen items that may include a wide range of beauty accessories and organization is key. Women are asked to bring their items on hangers and place jeans or shirts in designated areas. A whole store is set up with racks and mirrors and women attend in leggings and tank tops for ease when trying on items. There is even a number system, wherein your number is called and you get to go and choose an item so the pickings run smoothly.

“It’s a girl’s night vibe. You go shopping and make new friends,” says Slocum. “It’s fun. I’ve taken the craziest dress and weird shirt and I don’t know what I’m going to wear it with yet but it’s free and I get to take it home and experiment.” Add some appetizers, wine and conversation and the night is a great way to network and socialize all among fashion.

“In this day and age women who can’t spend a day at the mall—this is like a gift to have an audience of women to talk about clothing.”

Even Blue, a Goodwill boutique, supports this creative clothing mixer donating racks and hangers and handing out flyers and bags with coupons inside. Girls leave feeling excited about their new clothes at great prices (free!) and someone’s trash becomes another’s treasure.

Consider throwing a clothing swap of your own to score new duds, get rid of stuff you never wear and play a game up grown-up paper dolls in the process.

Written by: Missy Black is a freelance writer specializing in fashion. One of her favorite fashion interviews was Nigel Barker from America's Next Top Model. Her love of fashion keeps her awake at night dreaming of Cheetah print flats paired with red skinny jeans and anything lace. Missy lives in the Grand Rapids area and has written horoscopes, restaurant reviews, and enjoys another title as shoe copywriter. When her nose isn’t stuck in a book you’ll find her in an antique store or flea market. Photo: stock.xchng

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