This year, the SWAP will be held across the parking lot in the gym at the Connie Bean Center!
Participants are asked to bring a bag of gently used, clean clothing, shoes, and accessories, and leave with a bag of “new-to-you” items. In the spirit of giving, participants are asked to give more than they get. Remaining clothing and accessories will be donated to Goodwill.
The swap is a fun, social event helping people see fashion as an opportunity to give back to society. Donating unwanted clothing saves it from landfills, and a donation becomes an exciting addition to another’s wardrobe.
The swap benefits Goodwill Industries of Northern New England, whose retail stores help to keep usable goods out of the landfill. Last year, more than 300 people participated in the swap, donating over 1,800 pounds of clothing. The sales of all un-swapped donations help fund Goodwill programs in the Seacoast area and throughout New Hampshire.
Goodwill Industries of Northern New England enables individuals with diverse challenges to achieve personal stability and community engagement. A social enterprise for over 100 years, Goodwill reflects the integration of economic, social and environmental sustainability, with a focus on connecting people to marketplace employment. Services are funded by revenue from retail and recycling operations, grants, fees, and philanthropic investments and gifts.
I got to play fashion stylist for the weekend and I loved it! Savers reached out to me to write a blog post using items purchased at Savers. The concept I pitched was of a young woman returning to college for her senior year. My friend, Maya, agreed to be my model. Savers gave us a wardrobe budget of $150.
We planned the outfits in advance.
jeans and a t-shirt for attending classes
an outfit for her work-study job at the library
everyday pieces for late night study sessions
a chic ensemble for art openings or an evening out
a pant suit for presentations and interviews
I found these vintage Lee jeans in the men’s section. I cropped them and washed them to accentuate the fringe. The slides were actually slingbacks but I cut off the straps and turned them into mules. Remember to check the men’s section for plain white t-shirts. These thick cotton boy-cut t-shirts are a nice alternative to the tissue tees that have been popular for too long. The red bag is actually new but the shot needed a pop of color so I included it. It’s a Jelly Retro Basket from Lisa Says Gah. I’m obsessed with it.
The perfect pair of vintage jeans is not easy to find. Be patient. The inventory at Savers turns over quickly. If you don’t find a pair on the first visit, go back again in a month. Trust me.
For a more studious look, pair a silk secretary blouse with a classic wool skirt. We added a vintage watch for a bit of analog bling and a quality trench coat for chilly Fall days. Personally, I am keeping my eyes peeled for a classic belted trench coat so I can pull off this look by Reese Blutstein. Follow Reese on Instagram for great style inspiration.
Turtlenecks and high-waisted pleated pants are a comfortable choice for late night study sessions. Layering is key for transitional seasons and drafty old buildings.
This thin turtleneck sweater dress can be dressed up with simple accessories making it a smart choice for an art opening or an evening out. Funny story — we couldn’t find a handbag that spoke to us so we opted for this basket from the home goods section instead. It’s a fun alternative to a traditional bag. The cowhide slides help make the outfit feel unique and memorable. Judging by Maya’s reaction, I think these slides were her favorite find of the day.
Sculpture: Arcangle, 1984, granite and Carrara marble by Gary Haven Smith located at the University of New Hampshire Dimond Library
We opted for minimalist jewelry. The jewelry selection at Savers is insane. You can achieve just about any jewelry trend with the options they have. I know that sounds very sales-y but it’s true.
We scored a quality Ann Taylor pin stripe suit that fit Maya like a glove. For this shoot, we paired it with a vintage camisole but for an actual interview or presentation I would recommend a classic button down or silk shell top. Death by Elocution has great inspiration for updated classics like that.
Again we opted for slides over pumps. Block heels are easier to walk in and they offer a nice juxtaposition to a traditional suit.
How’d we do? Let us know in the comments.
BEHIND THE SCENES: Maya lives 3 hours away from me. It was a challenge to find the time to shop and shoot together. She arrived on Saturday night at 7 pm. Savers closes at 10 pm. We rushed over and treated the experience like a reality tv show. We split up and loaded up our carts with options. She tried everything on and quickly determined the best pieces. We dove back into the racks to find more pieces. When we went to cash out we discovered that everything we had still only added up to $130. We had to go back in and spend another $20!
The next morning we planned the outfits. There were a few pieces that on second inspection didn’t work well for our shoot. I blame it on us having to rush. I decided to swap out the items that didn’t work with items from my personal wardrobe that I actually did buy at Savers, just not on this trip. We swapped out ankle boots for the slides. We swapped out a big blazer for my vintage Lee jeans, and we swapped out elastic waist pants for the wool skirt.
That was fun! I want to do it all again. I hope the takeaway is that you can get quality pieces secondhand. It’s better on your wallet and on the environment. Next time you feel like your wardrobe needs a refresh — think secondhand first! xo jam
A friend reminded me of this old blog post. At the time I wrote it, it was the most popular blog post I had ever written. It got a lot of hits because it was shared by a popular Daddy blogger, Daddy Types.com. My boys are now teenagers. I still occasionally lay out a book trap. Recently, I laid out a library book about Steinberg on the dining room table. I didn’t catch anything. I’ll keep trying.