At some point I had to start admitting to myself that it was really winter and not fall any more. The ice on my windshield or the tire pressure warning going off (which happens every year when the temperatures drop) wasn't enough apparently. No, true admittance came when I finally busted out the knit tights.
Even then, the tights are full of holes (I argue that Uniqlo's Heat Tech technology combats that) and paired with a short sleeve knit dress. What can I say? I'm a So Cal girl at heart through and through. Ten years in the Bay and I still can't adjust to the winter temperatures.
At least I can tell you about this new form of shopping I've acquired that almost doesn't require spending any money. Almost. You still have to spend a little money, but its less than ten dollars with each transaction. And you'll end up with lots of new dresses, tops and bottoms... and sometimes even shoes! What is this magical shopping form I am talking about?
Yes, swapping. I've actually been swapping clothes for quite some time now, but have just gotten around to using one of my items for an outfit post. It definitely takes a little getting use to, but is such a great way to be green about the clothing you don't want any more! I use to take everything to Goodwill, but after reading excerpts from Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, I started looking for alternatives. If you don't have time to read the actual book here are a couple of good articles to summarize.
While consignment stores like Plato's and Crossroads are handy and efficient for a quick buck, they also tend to be very picky about what they purchase. They have to buy depending on season, demographic, and what they already have in their own inventory, so sometimes you can waste a trip and walk out with no cash in hand. I also realize you can take the eBay or Craigslist route, but that requires a lot more effort than I'm willing to put out. Plus I've found that I tend to get the biggest return value when I swap.
There are quite a few ways you can swap, depending on your level of comfortability.
❤ You can join sites like SwapStyle or Rehashed Clothes. The great part of joining a website like SwapStyle is that you do have some level of protection with your transactions and its easy to see which swappers are trustworthy.
❤ Facebook clothing swap groups/communities. This is my current method of swapping, which has also resulted in meeting some great people. The downside is that while you get to know people on a personally level, you don't have the same level of protection as you would on SwapStyle. You don't always know if the person you dealing with is trust worthy (though you can take some precautions by asking others to vouch for them or to see eBay feedback, etc) and there have been instances where you don't receive your item, even though you've already sent yours out. Unfortunately, there isn't much to do if that happens to you, so it would have to be a risk you are willing to take.
❤ Swap meet ups or events. These events can vary anywhere between a small group of 5 or 6 individuals to a tent-size event. The idea is that everyone brings items they are willing to swap and puts them into designated piles. Then everyone can go through the items and pick out things they like. I haven't tried these myself, but I do know the rules can vary event to event. I also know that some sites like Clothing Swap hold events with registration fees. This gives an added level of security that everyone who comes is serious about swapping. I've also seen massive swap tents at events like Maker Faire. If you're someone who is picky about your clothing, this may be the best alternative for you. You can see the items in person before you take them home and inspect them thoroughly. Also, since everything is done in person you don't have to worry about being taken advantage of!
If you plan on swapping on line, here are some key tips that will make your transactions go smoothly:
❤ Take great photos. Not just good, but great. The prettier something seems in a photo the more likely someone will be interested in it. Up close shots are always a plus. If you feel confident enough, taking a photo of yourself in the actual item will always perk more interest.
❤ Use Paypal's online shipping tool if you can. A delivery confirmation number is automatically included (fee) with every shipment, and USPS will give a slightly discounted rate through Paypal. If you plan on swapping a lot, I would also invest in a mailing scale. This will also save you lots of time because you won't need to go to the post office to figure out how much something weighs.
❤ If you join a Facebook community, use a site that is photo friendly to display your swaps. Tumblrs or Blogger's Dynamic template are quite popular because they are easy to view. If your swaps are difficult to navigate through (especially if you have a lot), people can get discouraged and give up all together.
❤ Take measurements a head of time! This is probably the most common question you will get about your swaps. Save yourself some time and do it ahead of time (I don't follow this tip enough).
❤ Most importantly, be patient. Sometimes it will seem like no one is interested in your items, or you just can't make a swap work--just wait! I promise you it will happen. I can't tell you how many times I'd just about given up on an article of clothing when someone would ping me expressing their interest.
Welp! That's all I have for you guys today! I hope you enjoyed. If you have any tips to share that I didn't include in this post please feel free to comment below! I'm still learning all the in's and out's of this trade. :)
Sweet Rain Dress (swap)
Uniqlo Heat Tech Lace Tights
Steven Pembrook Boots (different color)
Cotton On Bracelet