Friday, 14 May 2010

So, you got carried away at NineWest and bought the same pair of shoes, times 6 different colours. And now you came to your senses and realised you don’t really have any use for the shiny canary yellow ones. What do you do?
a) forget it in the back of the wardrobe;
b) drop it off at your nearest charity shop;
c) ebay  it;
d) swap it.

Personally, I’d run a mile if faced with option D. The idea of clothes swapping makes me think of a scarier version of Tupperware parties, minus the cheese on a stick, plus too many semi-naked ladies fighting over a mirror.
But then I heard of the virtual, less frightening fashion swap shops.
Here's a good selection of them:
The very popular WhatsMineIsYours is easy to navigate, feels very much like ebay, and let you sell, buy and swap clothes and accessories. Just post a photo of your unwanted garments and add a (fair) value for it. You can then either wait and accept an exchange offer, or create a wish list, which will generate alerts when an item you wished for becomes available.
Founder Judy Berger, who used to be a personal shopper for Selfridges and is also behind the super successful Affordable Vintage Fair, wants to appeal “to the more fashion literate” – keep an eye out for very good deals on Designer clothes.

I initially loved the boutiques session, which gives new designers and vintage traders a chance to show their collections. Sadly, none of the (some not so new and unknown, like Lois) shops had any items for sale when I looked.
It is also a bit annoying that you can’t narrow down your search by colour, size or brand.
But navigation is easy and it didn’t take me long to find some real bargains, on which I am already attempting to get my swapping hands:

adding this John Rocha dress to my wish list...

And loving this Ted Baker green dress, but I think I should start giving other colours a chance.

Then there’s Swop2Shop (not too crazy about the name), with a more granular searching functionality and a more high street- focused selection.
They use a points system. You list your item and are awarded points to it. There’s no need to wait until another member wants to swap it with you. You just pay for the clothes you want with your points. You can also add cash if you don’t have enough points.

If you prefer to touch your prospective clothes before you swap, and unlike me, enjoy an excited group of fashionistas rummaging through fabulous frocks, then Swishing is just your thing.
I must admit that, after looking at the photos of Swishing parties, - please note the party organisers are referred to as Swishettes - it does look like people are having a lot of fun. The clothes are also very impressive!
Check their calendar for upcoming swishing parties, or ask for advice on how to create your own - and start covering your walls with flattering mirrors.

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