Mi Sweater Es Su Sweater

Sweater Swap! Just like April and Andy on Parks and Rec.

Sweater Swap! Just like April and Andy on Parks and Rec.

You know what I don’t do enough in my adult life? Borrow other people’s clothes.

My closet in college was 20 times the size of my closet now. Not because I had more money to spend on clothes or anything, but because I had a swim team full of girls roughly the same size as me whose clothes I could borrow (or let’s be honest, sometimes steal). If I was having one of those days where I hate all of my clothes and can’t find anything to wear, I would just raid someone else’s wardrobe. New clothes always look and feel better than old ones you’ve worn a hundred times which is why having a big group of friends with an open-closet policy is great – you have endless variety AND you don’t have to spend a fortune.

This week, a girl I work with asked me if I had a black cocktail dress she could borrow for an event she has this Saturday and I had a total flashback to my college days. She and I are roughly the same size, about the same age, and both have similar taste in clothing (although I admittedly wear much more animal print than she does). WHY have I never thought to swap clothes with her before? Why I haven’t I been raiding the wardrobes of every roommate, friend, or coworker my size for my whole post-grad life?

As you may have gathered from this post, I LOVE new clothes. I will use any minor event as an excuse to buy a new outfit. A date, a work event, a birthday party, a baby shower . . . nothing I already own is right for any of those occasions. If I don’t go to Forever 21 and buy something new, I will have to go naked. Nobody wants that. Although my budget is bigger than it was in college, I really don’t have enough extra spending money to drop $20,$50 or even $100 on new clothes every month “just because.” So if you’re like me and you frequently need new clothes in your life, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

1. Sweater Swap! Trade clothes with friends who share your size and style. If you need a LBD for a cocktail party or are looking for a fun top for a night out with friends, ask around. It doesn’t hurt to see if any of your girlfriends have something they’re willing to loan you for the day. Worst case scenario, you don’t like or don’t fit into anything they have. Best case scenario, you get a new outfit without spending any money!

2. Consign It! If you’re a fashionista and you haven’t been doing regular business with your local consignment store, you’re missing out. Consignment stores will pay you money for your gently used clothes. If you have items in your closet that you’re tired of but that someone else might enjoy, bring them in to a consignment store and get cash or store credit in return. Each store will have its own policies on which items they accept, how much they pay per item, etc. so you might want to visit their website or call for details before you go. While you’re dropping off your old clothes, you can shop around for yourself; consignment stores usually have great, good-as-new items for much less than a regular retail store.

3. Accessorize! More often than I care to admit, I buy a new shirt or dress that looks exactly like something I already own. I see a shirt in the store, I love it and buy it, then I get home and realize it’s identical to a shirt in my closet. The new shirt just “feels better” because it’s newer and I haven’t seen myself in it yet. So before you go out and buy new, ask yourself if you have something already in your wardrobe that you could makeover. A dress can look totally different if you pair it with a chunky necklace or big belt. Or a blouse can look new paired with a different jacket and pants. Play around with jewelry, headbands, shoes, hair, makeup and see if you can make an old outfit look new enough to be fun again.

Happy new-to-you clothes shopping!

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