18th Annual Clothing Swap – Blue Collar Red Lipstick

As soon as spring began to show signs of springing this year, I also sprung into action planning my annual clothing swap. The last few years, since I turned it into a garden party, I have been hosting the swap in late June or early July to make the most of Edmonton’s nice weather and my blooming plants. But thanks to uncertainties about this year’s wildfire season, I decided to move up the date. I took a gamble that late May would be warm enough and smoke-free … and I won! The air was clear, the sun was shining (but not too much!), a lovely breeze was blowing. Sadly, my garden wasn’t yet in bloom, but it looked presentable. And I got very lucky: the next day was cold, wet, and there was even a hailstorm.

This was my outfit for the day:

Most of the guests were seasoned veterans of the swap, but we had a couple of newbies as well, which was great. And, as last year, we had some of our tween/teen daughters join in as well, as sort of ‘junior members’ of the swap. It’s nice to see that they enjoyed it enough last year to want to come back – some of them were even inspired to start secondhand shopping for themselves. I know my daughter now looks forward to the swap every year. Not only that, but she helped me to set up this year, and it turned the whole prep process into a lovely mother-daughter bonding moment. Another generation of thrifters in the making! We love to see it.

I had a decent amount of stuff to put up for swap, though less than in some past years. As my shopping has slowed down considerably, so has the turnover in my closet; in turn, the supply of swap material is dwindling, especially as a lot of my discarded clothes are now being diverted to my daughter. But I also had some home décor and books to add to the pile – the swap gave me an opportunity for a much-needed de-clutter of my shelves and various collections. To recap for those who may not have read some of my previous posts, my process for editing my closet runs something like this. Brand name clothing which I think would suit a specific friend gets set aside for them first. (If they don’t end up wanting it, I am fine with them doing whatever they think best with it, either passing it on to someone else or donating it. I know my friends will dispose of things responsibly, aka not throwing good clothing in the trash.) Everything else that’s above-average quality gets set aside for the swap; things that are average get donated right away. Whatever is left after the swap also gets donated. Since I avoid crappy clothing in the first place and take good care of my clothes, I don’t have much stuff that is in too poor of a condition to be donated. That being said, I am also looking into local garment recycling options available for clothing that can’t be donated. I know of Blenderz Garment Recyclers, but I am not sure they accept drop-offs directly from the public, as they typically work with thrift stores. If anyone has suggestions, please leave a comment.

Here are a few of the things I brought to the swap this year:

And here is my daughter’s and my pile at the end — as you can see, we did not come away empty-handed:

That teal skirt is actually one of my own pieces. I swear I had asked my daughter if she wanted it before I designated it as part of my “to swap” pile and she said no. Then, lo and behold, at the actual swap, it was suddenly perfect. Go figure. In fact, most of the things I would have picked for her from the swap, she didn’t want. It’s one of the reasons why shopping for her these days is becoming impossible. I guess this is teenagerdom, lol!

Here are the things she picked out (for herself):

She loves high waisted jeans and skirts, so the crop tops are not entirely surprising. What did surprise me was the skirt: it was her favourite piece, and I never would have picked that as something she would like. But it’s cute (and vintage!) so I don’t blame her. She’s super excited to wear it.

And now for my picks:

I have been wanting a purple crossbody bag for ages, so as soon as I spotted that Rebecca Minkoff bag, my day was basically made. I have the same bag in black and red already, and find it a perfect size and design for my needs. Score! The small MbMJ was a last minute pick, and I was surprised to see no one else wanted it. It’s a good size for me, and since I don’t have a grey crossbody, I think it has potential. The opening might be a tad small, which could impact its practicality, but I am going to take it for a test run and see.

The shoes were another “if no one else wants them” pick — they’re great quality and I love flats, so why not. If I don’t end up wearing them, I can always bring them back next year or donate them. But worth giving them a try first.

The Guns ‘n Roses was a nostalgic 90s pick; I am not sure if it’s my style, but I am going to play around with it. Style risks are what clothing swaps are all about. The bleached denim jacket, on the other hand, is totally me. I especially love the back — so cool!

The cardigan is an upcycled piece made by my friend Josh of Prairie Trail Goods, and of course I had to snap it up immediately. It looked great with the outfit I was wearing, so I know it’s going to fit in well with my summer wardrobe. Ditto for the oversized chambray shirt. The skirts were pieces that didn’t find other takers, and I took them for different reasons. I think the polka dot one (HD in Paris) has potential; it’s midi, albeit perhaps a little bit shorter than I prefer, and the black and white pattern is very much up my alley. I don’t tend to wear polka dots a lot, though, so we will see if this skirt has staying power in my closet or not. The plaid skirt (Tracy Reese) was a sentimental pick. I used to be obsessed with this skirt back in 2015/2016 and never managed to track it down in my size. The hemline is too short for my current preference, but I still love the colour palette. I couldn’t let it get donated … for now. I am going to try and see if I can make it work for the me of now.

This tabard-style knit vest was one of my favourite pieces from the swap. I love the design so much! Everyone told me I had to take the Stetson jacket, and I see why they would say that: the vibe is very me. But I am actually a bit on the fence about it, mostly due to the cut/style. Not sure if the proportions will work for me, but I plan to experiment with it and see. If not, I’m definitely saving it for the next swap — it’s a special piece that deserves a good home.

And that’s a wrap on another fabulous swap!!

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