Today marks the close of my year of Swishing. For all that time I have bought no shoes, clothes or accessories. Instead I’ve been swapping them at Swishing parties.
Incredibly, three Futerrans are taking on the challenge: Karen, Soli and Wren. Like me, they dived in on impulse and without doing any pre-shop. For them, and anyone else thinking of giving it a whirl, here’s some advice. I hope its helpful.
You will love getting your life back. It’s only when you stop shopping that the constant low-level anxiety it brings becomes clear. You will have 12 months off from worrying if the item that will change your life sits behind a Whistles shop sales sign.
Because you aren’t scanning magazines for things to buy, fashion becomes more important for its beauty and value as a cultural barometer. A 70s spread in Voguemay have you absentmindedly day dreaming whether peak oil is triggering a similar cultural response as the 1970s oil shocks.
You will dress even better than you do now. Your wardrobe will become your personal vintage store. With much grumbling, you will rummage through it and put together items that haven’t seen the light of day for years. Necessity is the mother of invention, and Swishing will bust you out of your daily uniform.
You will go through the 7 stages of Swishing grief. The lows will include shock, denial and anger (why did you give those shoes away last month?); bargaining and guilt (trading dinner for shoes), depression, followed by acceptance and hope (when you actually start going to some Swishing parties).
You will run out of shoes.
You will save a surprisingly large amount of money.
You will need some support. Best friend, husband, sister; someone will need to step in when the clothing chips are down. A Swishing party that you don’t have to organise, or a well-timed birthday present will make all the difference. And make good friends with your local seamstress, because all of your jeans will go bust at the same time.
The very best bit? The Swishing parties of course. You will meet fabulous women and find brilliant pieces. There’s no shortage of parties, with over 7,000 women swapping over 25,000 items every year in the UK alone. The Swishing community online is brilliant – providing a constant source of parties, tips and well wishes.
You can feel smug that Swishing is better than donating clothes to charities. It keeps items in circulation (aka women give them a good home), offsets shopping and stops western clothes swamping and suffocating developing world markets. For more on this see here.
Best of luck. I’ll be here with brilliant birthday presents.
Much love, Lucy
PS. don’t be surprised when mens’ eyes glaze over when you gush about the lack of stress, or extra time and money. It turns out this is how they feel all the time.