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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Bluegrass PRIDE: Recycle old clothes, pick
up some new ones at ‘style-swap’ parties

By Elizabeth Mortenson
KyForward columnist

So how many KyForward readers have heard of “naked lady parties”? If you don’t know what it is, don’t be nervous… we’re talking about a gals-only clothing exchange, also called a ‘style swap’. I recently got to see one of these first hand, and am consequently wearing some comfy new-to-me sweaters and such.

(Photo from stayathomemum.com)

The whole idea is to get your friends (and friends of friends, and family… whomever you’re comfortable with) together to find new owners for items that don’t fit you or are no longer worn… like that shirt that you thought looked good in the store but you’ve never brought yourself to actually wear out of the house. A host can invite the ladies to bring clothing, shoes and jewelry that are clean and in good condition, as well as food/ drink (my friend who hosted provided a Bloody Mary bar and we all provided brunch-fixins). When you arrive with your unwanted items, they’re placed on sofas, chairs and wherever there’s room (if you separate items by type – shoes in one place, dresses another, scarves a third, etc. – it’s a bit more orderly).

We then proceeded to catch up with old friends, get to know new ones, and enjoy all sorts of tasty food. When everyone had arrived and eaten, we moved into the room with all the clothes. This is the fun part. People just start picking up items and trying them on. If you’re comfortable with your friends you may even strip down to skivvies to try a shirt or pair of pants – hence the party name.

One person might hold up a dress and say “Well, this won’t fit me, but it sure would look good on you.” Another friend might say “I love these pants but only wore them once.” There were gals of all shapes, sizes and styles at the one I went to – friends who had recently had kids and friends that had gained or lost weight, and people that were gifted things that just didn’t fit their style. This is the beauty of the naked lady party. Instead of shopping for a whole new wardrobe, you can supplement with great things from your friends.

After the swap, there will inevitably be items that aren’t headed for the closet of anyone in the room. These items can be donated to an organization like Suit Yourself Career Studio or Goodwill. This way you can be sure things will be re-used.

I had an incredible time doing this, and I felt good about cleaning out my closet and finding a couple of things I loved… all without spending any money. This same sort of thing could be replicated with baby or children’s items, or books, or anything that you think might be appreciated by your friends. I highly recommend trying out a swap if you haven’t yet, and can’t wait to host my own!

Elizabeth Mortenson began work for Bluegrass PRIDE as a program manager in January 2012. She works on litter abatement, recycling, water and Community Energy Advisor programs. She holds a bachelor’s degree in geography from the University of Louisville and a master’s in environmental science and a master’s of public administration in sustainable development from Indiana University.



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