It’s not every day you get to put a dress on over your clothes at work. I mean, we DO have a pretty casual dress code, but this might be stretching it a little bit:
Don’t worry, I took it off before I went back to my desk. But not before I had my friends take a silly photo of me. It’s all part of the fun at our yearly clothing swap at work!
A few years ago, it started with a group of women who realized that we all have WAY TOO MUCH clothing, and we don’t even love most of the things we have. It’s a common issue in the suburbs of America (and I’m sure around the world as well). With the media constantly parading new styles and trends in front of us, promising beauty and “coolness”, it’s no surprise that consumption has increased by 60% since 2002, and people keep their things for half as long. I mean, were fashion bloggers even a thing a decade ago?
The world clothing industry is a mess. Horrible labor conditions, child labor, and tremendous amounts of wasted (or over-used) resources. And it’s not worth it when women tend to wear items an average of 7 times before throwing them away. Even taking things to donate doesn’t really help–only 10% of the items you take to Goodwill are sold; most are thrown away. (See sources and more facts on fast fashion HERE.)
So, how do we get new clothes? It would be great to just wear the same clothes forever, but let’s be honest: sometimes new clothes are just FUN!
Here’s our solution: a clothing swap! We look through our closets, finding things that are still in good condition but just aren’t our favorites anymore. Set-up is minimal; I used a few tables that were set up for a class later that evening, and just put signs designating where to put items. (See the end of this post to download my signs!) People brought their items and laid them out according to the signs. When everything was set up, we looked through the clothes, grabbed things that looked fun, and tried on dresses over our clothes (ahem, maybe that last one was just me).
I came home with 3-4 new tops and a dress. Others left with new pants or a jacket. There were even cute shoes, scarves, jewelry, and bags! We all felt like we hit the jackpot, since we found great “new” items–FOR FREE! And as much as there is “no such thing as a free lunch,” at least we knew that the cost today was not measured in slave labor, environmental pollution, or waste headed to a landfill.
So, shoot an email to your friends, grab your clothes, and get swapping! Organize one at work, in your neighborhood, with your college friends, your moms group, bunko group, or book club.
Have fun, get new clothes, and clean out your closet– all while saving the planet. Sounds like a win to me!
Clothing Swap Signs — click here to download the table-top signs I used to sort clothes