Like most women, my wardrobe spends most of its time being 50% full of stuff that either: a) I’ve only worn once, b) I have never worn or c) I bought because it was a total bargain but doesn’t suit me OR go with anything I own. While a good number of these clothes end up at the local charity shop or in the recycling bank across the road, most are just too damn nice to give away.
The solution? Swishing! Not only does it mean I can get rid of the aforementioned articles safe in the knowledge that they’ll be taken home by someone who’ll cherish them, but I can swap them for stuff I actually DO want. It’s a total win-win, and fabulous fun.
Brighton’s My Swish was set up by Sarah Maddox and Leila McKellar in order to help women across the South East with the same dilemma as mine. As well as bringing swathes of fashion-loving women together to drink tea, eat cake and cleanse their wardrobes; these charity-linked events are good for the planet and the soul.
How it works
First, you need to collect up all of your unwanted clothes, bags, jewellery and shoes, then chuck away any that you’re pretty sure nobody would want. You know that diamanté-studded denim stuff that was cool in the ’90s? Yeah, that. The same goes for that well-worn Primark T-shirt.
When you check in your pre-loved bits ‘n’ bobs, you’ll be awarded either 10, 20 or 50 points per item depending on quality and label; so the better the things you bring along, the more swishing points you get to spend on new stuff. Result!
Once you’ve checked in your clothes, there’s around an hour-and-a-half before swishing starts as everything gets sorted – that means you can sit and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee and some cake (included in your ticket price) while everything gets sorted out and priced up.
As soon as the call to start swishing goes out, it’s an every woman for herself frenzy. Within minutes the rails are empty, but there’s no need to despair. As people try stuff on and reject it, it all goes back out there. The changing area is awash with women dishing out compliments whilst doing a remarkably good job of masking their jealousy at stuff they’ve missed out on – it’s also a great place to lurk if you want to nab the unwanted items before they head back to the public domain.
After the first My Swish event I went along to, I came away with two pairs of shoes, two dresses and a handbag; this time around the total went up to two more pairs of shoes, two more dresses, a cardigan and a golfing jumper. Much cheaper than a weekend shopping trip would’ve cost me, and I still got my “look at all my pretty new things” fix.
If you don’t spend all of your My Swish points in one go, just bring your little card along with you next time and carry your swishing currency over to the next month. So there’s no need to worry about not getting your money’s worth.
Sound like fun? Make sure you don’t miss out on the next Brighton swish at The Blind Tiger Club on Sunday 1st April. Tickets are only £6.50 in advance, 10% of which goes to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. See you there ladies!