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October clothes swap

It's October - it must be clothes-swap time.

The girls and I had a clothes swap on Friday. These are fantastic events - held, on average, twice a year, when we swap our clothes over for the change of season.

As you pull all your last-winter or last-spring clothes out of their storage packs and try them on, you find that some things no longer fit - you've gained weight or lost weight, or you're just fed-up with the thing and fancy a change.

As age, with every passing month, changes my body yet again - my colouring, my shape, my proportions - dressing becomes like chasing a Slinky down the stairs and a 'bourse' gives me the opportunity to obtain some 'new' stuff without spending a cent. It's also a great way to try new looks without risk - if they don't work, you just redonate them.

There were about 15 of us on this occasion and it always strikes me when we have a bourse how nice women are - we pick things out for one another, say: "No, you first," a lot, even as we pointy-elbow our way through the huge pile of cast-offs and stuff cheese nibbles and wine down our necks.

There must have been 20 bin-liners of clothes this time, along with books and ornaments, kitchen equipment etc, and at the end of the evening, I was left with just one bag of clothes to take to the Emmaus charity, along with a few ornaments. Two boxes of books went to a cancer charity and every other single thing was taken.

As more and more of these events have been held over the years, I see items coming around again. On Friday, it was my lovely old blue Shetland Fairisle gilet, which I donated a few years ago, has evidently been worn by someone else and has now been taken by my friend C for this winter. A real case of what goes around comes around.



Chucking out the chintz

The girls and I had a clothes swap this weekend.

It was the usual fun - 10 of us this time (the more the merrier, generally) and everybody, as usual, brought an astounding number of bags of used/new/too small/too big/wrong shape clothing to swap. After aperos, we all delved in, and - says the DH - the volume increased to remarkable levels.

It is nice to pick up 'new' stuff free of charge, but also nice to see once-favourite clothes going around again. My old straw-coloured chenille waistcoat with abalone buttons, which I gave to M, has been redonated by her after a couple of years' wear and was picked up by another friend. Ditto my old sage-green fine-knit cardigan, which I loved beyond measure but which had sleeves for someone with chimp arms and which I never wore. M has worn that too for a couple of seasons and now it's time to move it through her wardrobe and on to someone else. 

My personal haul was very classic this time: a beautiful blue linen skirt from a friend who has lost weight, four pairs of black linen pants - just the sort of thing I live in, in summer - along with a bunch of long-sleeve crewneck tees, most of them unworn. Thus do we French rural types benefit from the buy-it-now, try-it-on-later habits of spendthrift Brits.

People also brought books, shoes and the odd household item (sometimes it's masses of electrical goods, or crockery) and at the end of the evening, I asked everyone to take one charity bag. This goes to Emmaus - about our only charity locally, which sells items to help the homeless, and also picks up furniture for the newly homed. Other than that, these used clothes will all go in the recycling bin at the supermarket, Le Relais, where they are sorted for the third world, but in fact mostly go to make eco-friendly roof insulation.

This morning, however, as I sorted out the charity stuff from the shredding stuff and put my new stash away, I felt a firming of purpose and decided to throw away yet more clothes, but using a different criterion. Does this, I asked myself, make me feel good about myself when I put it on? I do have a horrible habit of keeping knackered old crap on the premise that it'll DO.

So this morning, into the recycling bag went a great many washed-out dingy t-shirts, because, as I said to my friend N, how many gardening outfits does a girl really need? I've kept a few of my very longest t-shirts for doing dirty work, but seriously, it's time to admit defeat on the others, stiffened and browned by our earthy well water, especially as I have so many perfectly usable and much nicer tee shirts to wear.

So what with that, and my new template-folding system, my cupboards are now feeling satisfyingly empty, and I am looking round for other stuff to throw away. 





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