May (6th!) Clothes’ Swap Recap

Some of the very satisfied un-customers!

Swaps are becoming a very pleasant routine. I know how to prepare, what to bring, to ask help (learnt it last time!) and then to rely on the little army of helpers to do the bulk of explaining, because everybody who steps in this for the first time, needs at least a ‘Hi!’ and ‘let me tell you how this works’. Thank you so much Mara, Margareta, Patricia, Coco + all others who have come, shared on FB, brought their friends! This only works when you all show up.

Seeing how many things end up returning to the swap, I keep thinking if there’s a way to steer people towards picking and choosing in a more conscious way… On the other hand, I know that also for myself I need looking at things calmly at home and a period of trial. And our ‘best return policy ever’ (i.e. just bring it back next time and it never happened) is one of the great advantages of swapping instead of buying. However, having a clear style vision and a solid wishlist has helped me a lot!

If in February there were very few leftovers, this time we’ve set a record of 24 bags continuing their journey to the Botiga Gratis of Banc Expropriat. Looked like this:

The only thing that is still lagging are the garment stories. I do believe that swapping becomes an even better experience if the garments have an additional story. People who happen to pick up stuff their friends brought attach that knowledge to the garment and it enhances the emotional link. Of course, not all garments will be Latvian grandma’s post-war underskirts, but the great majority could have at least the basics: from whom, where from, if you have worn it for a specially memorable occasion… As the events are becoming too busy to attach the stories in situ (or I haven’t found the right volunteer just yet) I’ll invite people to do that as homework and bring their garments with stories already incorporated. Let’s see how that works in September!

What did I get? Oh, I had a great day, made several new friends and brought home three new-for-me garments. The funniest part of this swap was that my wish list was taken seriously: several people approached me offering garments they have spotted that fit my descriptions. So sweet! This was the list and I’m happy to report that with no effort and a little help of my friends I’ve ticked off 3/7. I think that’s a great success.

The lucky winners are: home slippers, winter gloves and a consulting-appropriate cardigan. Yes!

I’m in love with the slippers, they are exactly what I needed – sturdy sole with a comfy and supporting upper. Best slippers of my 30 years and made in Spain. Although I thought I’ll be wearing them in winter as I have a pair of swimming pool Birks for summer, I basically haven’t taken them off since Saturday.

The gloves will carry me through the cold morning bicycle commute for at least next season. I don’t expect much longevity from them, as I’ve had enough similar pairs of cute little gloves for Latvian winters and they don’t tend to last. I really should get serious about this when I’m in Riga next time and invest in a pair of sturdy wool finger-gloves (as opposed to mittens which is what most of the artisan glove market is about, as there is more surface for artistic expression). For both the slippers and the gloves I have to give thanks to Margareta who had clearly read my wishlist with outmost attention anddid some curation while I was busy with other swap proceedings!

The cardigan is the one we’ll have to put to test. While the fit and look is exactly what I was looking for – relaxed but put together – it had a hole already (one of those typical stupid ones that knits get at the edges of the label), but I fixed that with a clumsy piece of ’embroidery’. What I didn’t expect but should’ve known better is that the shitty material composition (really, Zara, 70% cotton and 30% nylon for a fucking knit?) is prone to make smells instead of magically getting rid of them as wool does. So I spent my Monday at work discreetly smelling my armpits and wondering why there was a whiff of a high-school locker room around me. If the problem persists after a wash (because clearly somebody brought it to swap without washing it), we’ll have to say goodbye and finally go looking for a proper wool cardigan!

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Have you ever organized a swappy event? If yes, how did that go? Or do you have any other routine sources of quality hand-me-downs: family, friends, etc?

Luīze

2 Comments

  1. Hello Luize! I think I have that same cardigan in a sort of camel colour from Zara. I thrifted it about a year ago and I have been rather happy with it. It is one of my few knits that actually doesn’t have a smelling problem so I suspect that yours will be fine after a good wash. The only problem have with mine is that the nylon is already dead which makes it look a bit shabby.

    • Hi, Madame M! The fact that we all have the same clothes is a bit distopian… Yeah, we’ll see. At the moment seems that the whole smell situation was a mix of not washing the cardigan and me switching the deodorant I was using. I’ve washed the garment and am back to my trusty Lavera deodorant, so let’s see if I can wear it in the AC-ed indoors enough to understand what’s going on, because the weather here is already leaning towards ‘no layers needed’.

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