Contra Costa Times
Clothing traders find treasures to update their wardrobes in a guilt-free way
Heaps of clothes dangle off the racks and droop off tables. A group of women awaits permission to pounce. When given the cue, they dig in, rifling through pants, tops and dresses, looking for that perfect piece. Some duck into a bathroom to try the clothes on. Others don't even bother- they just pull shirts over their own, gripping more garments between their knees. There is a bit of tension: What if someone snatches that Calvin Klein skirt before you do? No, this in not the Nordstrom Half-Yearly Sale. This is a clothing swap.
At swaps, women contribute clothes they non longer wear- perfectly decent duds they're ready to part with-in the hopes of updating their wardrobe with some "new" pieces. There's no limit; you can take as much as you want. And it's all free.
"Swaps are fun," says Lisa Gee, of Alameda, who attended this recent swap at the Alamo Women's Club. "People like your (stuff) and you like theirs. It's a win-win situation" Make that a triple win. As with this swap ,unclaimed items are donated to charity.
You've probably swapped and not realized it. That sweater you gave your friend because its more her color? Or the overalls your older cousin handed down when you were kids? These clothing swaps, however, are bigger better and more organized. And it's not unheard of to score some pretty fabulous finds. Fashion is disposable, after all, and what is someone else's frumpy rag could be your hot date-night dress.
At this swap, organized by Suzanne Agasi of Clothingswap.org, labels range from INC and Banana Republic to Ann Taylor. The women range, too: nieces as young as 10 forage beside their aunts. A funky San Franciscan mingles with a Pleasanton mom. "I'm really into thrift stores and stuff so this is perfect for me," says Zana Rymer, a Danville teenager and first-time swapper. Rymer scored a black and blue vinyl jacket. "It's pretty rock 'n roll," she says.
Tamara Stanosz works in the corporate world, so she's always looking for suits, and tops to wear under them, she says. Stanosz has attended Suzanne's swaps for a decade. "They used to be mayhem and frenzy," says Stanosz, of San Francisco holding two bags of potentials. "You'd kind of grab something and someone else would say, 'I saw that first.' They're more civilized now."
SWAP TILL YOU DROP
Three sites provide information on clothing swaps in the Bay Area. Check Clothingswap.org for upcmoing swaps in your area.
by Jessica Yadegaran
Contra Costa Times
January 9, 2007