Rags to Riches

Clothing Swaps and Updates
Rags to Riches

C’mon…everyone’s doin’ it. You know, neighbourhood swap parties.

No, we’re not talking about naughty 1970s “leave your keys at the front door kind of parties”. We’re talking “trade your clothing cast-offs with other folks”—a trend that’s suddenly gone mainstream.

Put it down to the internet, recycling or just having too much stuff. These days, it’s not just your sister’s kid who wants your son’s old jean jacket. Now the whole world can bid on it, thanks to eBay and Craigslist.

Then came the rebirth of the eco-movement, and all of a sudden it’s not just savvy to save on clothing, it’s socially responsible to recycle your threads. Hence, ‘swap parties’, at which friends get together to socialize, snack (of course), and sample the wares from each other’s cleaned-out closets—and we have some great alternative ways to get you started if online auctions are a bit too technologically challenging.

With September on the horizon, now is a great time to get your family’s wardrobes ready for whatever autumn holds:

  • Check out www.mybabystuff.ca to see how a Victoria mom is helping the rest of us find a new home for our kids’ outgrown clothing and equipment. You can browse through other people’s offerings, or post an ad of your own—it’s free and city-specific. From strollers to car seats, from maternity wear to multi-aged kids’ wear, it’s all here…at a fraction of the cost you’d pay for brand-new.

  • Maybe you want to keep it small and just invite your friends. Join leagues of other Vancouver women who have hosted their own clothing swaps—some of whom even advertise their event on free online forums such as Craigslist. Common sense ground rules are that clothing must be clean and in good quality but you may have other guidelines as well that you should communicate to your invitees. Price of admission? One appy, of course. In return, you’ll take any leftover clothes to a deserving charity.

  • If you’re lusting for a clothes swap on a major scale, get on the email list for the city-wide Vancouver Swap-o-rama-rama, which took place in April and is scheduled again for November. You’ll not only have access to new-to-you duds, but you can visit the on-site DIY booths and learn how to tailor or personalize them. Helpful know-how, sewing machines and all materials supplied. How cool is that?

  • So you might still want to save the beloved jean jacket for your sis, but for the rest of the stuff, you can save a buck, help the environment and still do it with style. What SavvyMom could resist?
    Tested by Peggy TJ, North Vancouver
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    First published 2007.08.23

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