Fancy a swish?

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Swishing – swapping your clothes in a great big party – is taking the UK’s youth by storm.

Swishing is the latest fashion craze sweeping the UK, according to the BBC.

I suppose they have to give it a trendy name, because basically swishing is nothing more than a posh word for swapping. 

In today’s tightening economic climate, swishing is aimed more at young girls than those of us who knew a time before endless consumerist fashion. Those of us over 40 are more than familiar with a clothes swap, but for those under 25 – at least in Britain – there’s never been a time that they couldn’t afford all the clothes they wanted RIGHT NOW, and they spent accordingly. Most young British women have wardrobes groaning with unworn clothes. Even clothes with the tags still on. That weekly or daily injection of fashion has been like a drug for many for over a decade. 

For this market, simple swapping, as I recommended in an earlier blog, has been tarted up into an event (and clearly ‘swishing’, by the way, has lost its 1950s connotation of camp homosexual behaviour!). A proper organiser sends out the invitations – sometimes for up to 100 people. Dropping off one item gives you entry to the party and entitlement to pick up one new thing. All items are valued as being equal, so one skirt = one blouse = one dress. Everybody tries everything on that they’re interested in, and then there’s a mad scramble at the end – like sale day at Harrods – and you hope you get what you want.

The ‘bourses aux vetements’ that the girls and I hold here in France are slightly more civilised affairs, because there are only about eight of us on any given evening. We have a lot more to give away, though. Everyone turns up with a bottle of wine, something to eat and usually one or more sacks groaning with unworn/too small/too big clothes. We pile it all up on a table, sort it into types, and get rummaging.

It does work really well and I highly recommend it. You usually go home with several ‘new’ outfits, and there isn’t the ickiness that some people otherwise find in buying second-hand, because all these people are your mates.

In these cost-conscious times, when every penny counts, a swapping party is a fast, cheap way to give yourself a fashion boost.  

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