During my wild and crazy youth (lol), despite not really following mainstream fashion trends, I used to love dressing up, spending hours (literally) getting ready to go out, experimenting with hairstyles and coveting cosmetics. I am glad to not “be there” now, truth be told, however since motherhood it’s probably fair to say I have gotten myself into a bit of a style rut and the true joy of dressing up that I once experienced daily has eluded me (except on special occasions). I haven’t posted about anything related to my own personal “style” since I first started this blog. And no doubt that’s because it genuinely has not been a focus for me during this period. I don’t think I have ever cared less about clothes/shopping than I have since my pregnancy with L in 2010. Granted, back then I did love shopping for my maternity wardrobe (I bought everything in one go… God bless H&M), but that had more to do with being excited about the pregnancy… and dressing to celebrate my much-treasured “baby belly”. These days, as a non-pregnant mama of two, I have lazily, shamelessly continued to wear on rotation some of the maternity* items I purchased on that particular shopping expedition (Yep, that’s correct! Maternity items… purchased in August, 2010, people! Two thousand and ten!) ad nauseam, despite having gone through another pregnancy since then and, twice over, shrinking back down to my “normal” size & shape**.
Anyhoo, on the weekend I was invited by a dear friend (who goes by the name of The Green Brunette, if you’d care to check out her wellness-inspired yummies and send her some love) to a biannual clothing swap. I have been to two of the previous swaps, mostly as an exercise in clearing out my closet and socialising (there’s always a fun group of girls in attendance). This time I had a prior engagement, so decided that I would merely pop in, say hello, leave a few t-shirts and head back out the door.
It wasn’t to be.
I first fell in love with vintage/second-hand clothing when I was 14/15 years old and used to shop at an incense smoke-filled basement shop, complete with mini coffin near the cash register, in my home town. I loved knowing that whatever I purchased there would be unique… I loved the thrill of hunting for buried treasures in amongst endless racks of funny, mothball-smelling ensembles. But I now live a life of convenience when it comes to clothing, it seems. Of course I want to look presentable, but I hardly extend myself, creatively speaking. And, quite frankly, the thought of spending hours going through racks of clothes to maybe find one thing that could maybe look ok on me is rather unappealing these days.
And so my sunday plans were thwarted by the appearance of a number of pretty things at the clothing swap- laid out, on the trestle tables, right there in front of me… no hunting required. They got me thinking “Miss Marzipan***, you really should try something new!”. My partner in crime, JT, and I gave each other the go-ahead to act a little nuts and thereby ended up leaving the venue with about 8 times more than what we arrived with.
And this is what I came away with:
3 blingy costume jewelry bracelets
A jersey dress with sequin detail neckline
A gorgeous little bolero jacket
A delightful floral dress (that I never would have imagined suiting me if I spotted it in a store… but I love it!)
A short-sleeved sweater with lovely, sparkle-sprinkled neck line
A sheer shirt with lace detail and sweet buttons
A super-sweet floral peasant top
A brand new Friis Co. bag with tags still attached (this find brought back memories of saving enough to buy a Friis bag for around 550 Swedish Kronor during a difficult, rather depressing time a decade ago when I was earning around 400 sek per WEEK!)
A black halterneck dress with beading detail
An open-back sweater. Very versatile!
I do enjoy a little challenge when I know something positive will result from embracing it and have turned this experience into a call to action for myself. It’s time for me to rediscover the joy of dressing up in an “everyday way”.
To help me commit to putting these new clothes to good use and not reverting to relying on my circa 2010 maternity staples, I carefully hand washed the clothes using my favourite eco-friendly laundry detergent by Attitude (ylang-ylang and tangerine… it’s heavenly!) and started wearing (and relishing) them immediately.
I emptied out my favourite bag (a now sadly beaten up-looking Jimmy Choo that my husband lined up outside of H&M [with a bunch of hysterical women] to purchase for me when I was sick in bed one day back in 2009) and repacked the items inside it in my new bag, knowing that if I didn’t use “newy” straight away, old faithful would remain on my arm/shoulder until the day it completely disintegrated. The transfer of items was unexpectedly easy as my bag had surprisingly little inside it (it’s normally rather TARDIS-like); a couple of receipts, keys, purse, eye drops, translucent pressed powder, trusty fine point pen, sleeves, British passport (which I annoyingly have to carry around thanks to my expired Swedish identity card), cinema tickets to see The Grand Budapest Hotel (mementoes from a rare date night with hubby) and one of baby Cupcake’s spare beanies.
WHAT’S SO GREAT ABOUT A CLOTHING SWAP?
Guests have the opportunity to peruse “new” and exciting things originally sourced by friends (and friends of friends) from a wide variety of labels/stores.
If you believe in reducing, reusing and recycling this has to be the ultimate way to “shop” for clothes!
What’s more, shopping at a clothing swap is cost and risk-free!
With nothing to lose, you can comfortably take a chance on an item you might not look twice at in a store. If it works for you, great. If not, someone else might love it… or it can go in the charity**** collection at the end of the day.
It’s a great way to clean up/jazz up your wardrobe, revamp your personal style and be kind to your wallet, your friends and the environment.
WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE?
Thanks again to The Green Brunette (and Dutch co.) for the invite, initiative and hosting another lovely event and <3 to you all, from a slightly-more-stylish Miss Marzipan xx
*Ok, so they’re officially maternity things, but they can pass for non-maternity too… most of them. I am not that dowdy, I promise ;)
**Kind of… my shape may never be exactly the same again…
***I don’t actually speak to myself in this manner, nor do I refer to myself as Miss Marzipan!
****There are charity clothing bins right outside of the venue where my friend hosts these events, so any items left on tables at the end of the day are bagged up and donated instantly!