Yesterday I attended my first official clothing exchange party. It was smashing! (The good kind.) Now, read on, and see if you can guess what that big F-word up there means.
I’ve been at events where clothing was exchanged, but this was hard-core. A belly dancer friend of mine invited me – and I guess this is a pretty long-standing tradition for her, because she clearly knows how to throw a clothing exchange. The invite just said to bring any clothes, shoes, accessories, etc. that you don’t need any more, and bring a salad, appetizer, or dessert that you love, and that’s it. Who knew that’s all you need for such a successful event!
I walked in with my bags, about half an hour after the technical start of the evening, and was amazed. My first impression was that of a feeding frenzy. Clothes were piled up on the various pieces of furniture and a dozen women (out of at least double that) were immediately visible, rooting through the loot, yowling and scratching as they fought over cuter items, stripping naked and flinging garments willy-nilly.
Okay, no, I’m letting my imagination run away with me. (Maybe I just wanted an excuse to use the word willy-nilly.) They were rooting through stuff, and it was a curtains-drawn, ladies-only event (except for Waldo the puppy), so there were women getting down to their scanties in order to try things on (though some used bathrooms). And they were all shapes and sizes, and all exchanging opinions and making recommendations, having a gab-fest, and creating an instant, if temporary, community. And wow, the sheer volume of cast-offs was impressive; not just clothes, but shoes, bags, wallets, scarves, books, jewelry, cosmetics, you name it. Also, the kitchen was packed to the gills with yummy food, especially dips (five-layer salsa dip, at least two kinds of hummus, and that cream-cheese-caramel apple dip, to name a few).
Now, I’m not the biggest clothes horse out there, but I can’t deny that an opportunity to give one’s wardrobe a boost for the cost of some brownies is highly appealing. Mostly, I wandered around and looked at stuff, and gave solicited opinions on people’s choices. Several of my fellow belly dancers were there, a few of whom seem to be sartorially blessed to look good in everything they try on, even the iffier pieces.
The two best things:
1) finding a pair of jeans that fit like they were made for me – does that ever really happen??
2) watching the two little girls of one of my dancer friends. Both beautiful, with outrageous mops of brown hair and chocolate-brown eyes. One is about ten months old, the other two years. The former got stolen away by two older moms in need of their baby fixes (actually I know them both from Parent Council at my school, and come to think of it, they did the same with my baby at the Teacher Appreciation Luncheon), and fell asleep in-arms, adorably. The latter got right into it, trying out the snacks, scoping out garments and obviously preferring the pretty bras, holding them against her stomach and then dropping about a dozen of them into a bag (for her, for Mom – who knows?), and finally succumbing to the untamed estrogen in the atmosphere and stripping naked (see? I told you!) at a rate of one item of clothing per ten minutes. Without a doubt, cutest bum in the room.
So to sum up: festrogabulous! Go in with whatever you want, come out with whatever you want more. Try it yourself!