It’s almost that magical time of year again – Boston Fashion Week! If you haven’t already, you should visit the BFW website here to view the schedule of events. There are so many fab events to attend. One event that I’m pumped to participate in is Boston Fashion Week’s Style Swap on Tuesday, September 27. I love swaps! It’s great motivation to do a closet clean out, update your wardrobe and it’s also eco-friendly. This year marks the 5th annual Style Swap organized by Tricia Cromwell of Trust in Tricia. Tricia is a fashion and interior stylist. She believes that positive self-image along with lifestyle organization are the keys to personal success. I couldn’t agree more!
Tricia was kind enough to answer a few questions about the upcoming Style Swap. Her advice will help equip us with the know-how to have a successful swap experience.
Q. Congratulations on organizing your 5th annual Style Swap! How did you come up with the idea to start this event?
- A. By editing my client’s closets and seeing what great pieces they had. Just because the items no longer worked for them, they would still be fab for other people I knew. Also, I wanted to bring together everyone I knew that didn’t know each other to trade clothes they no longer wore.
Q. The style swap concept has gained popularity. What do you think draws people to participate in your event?
- A. It’s an amazing night out! Swaps have a following of their own for those who like the sustainability and budget conscious part of shopping, but those that have attended my swaps come back for the fun, empowerment and camaraderie as well as the great fashion finds.
Q. What should someone who has never attended a style swap expect?
- A. They should expect to get quality pieces in exchange for their quality pieces. Items range from designer to store brands, but we look over all items before accepting them, to ensure that they are in like-new and wearable condition. Also, it is a one for one swap, which makes it really fun. Attendees can take as many items as they bring, meaning if someone brings 2 shirts, a pair of jeans and a purse, they could leave with a dress, a necklace, a pair of shoes, a sweater and etc.
Q. Is there any specific etiquette to follow when it comes to attending swaps?
- A. Be kind! What I love about my swappers is that they always are! The style swaps have been described as “organized chaos” and “friendly competition” by many. It is in essence a ‘competition’ to get the ‘best’ items, but it is common to find women inside the swap boutique helping each other find their size and other flattering items. Many times women who are strangers will share tickets or give their leftover items to others!
Q. What are some tips on how to pick the perfect items?
- A. Keep your eyes open! I set the swaps up as boutiques rather than department stores- meaning I intentionally do not put like sizes or items together. This forces swappers to move around and search for their desired items, as opposed to having all of one type of item snatched up by one person, or having everyone crowded around the same table fighting to get in.
Q. Swaps seem like a great opportunity to get your closet organized and purge rarely worn items or clothing that no longer fits. Are there any guidelines to keep in mind when selecting items to take to a style swap?
- A. Yes! We only accept women’s items that are in like-new condition, free of stains and rips. We allow clothing, shoes, handbags and accessories but do not accept undergarments, swimsuits or pajamas.
Q. Should clothing be appropriate for the current season?
- A. No, because even after the swap items leftover are still donated regardless of season.
Q. What happens to the clothing that is left at the end of a swap that wasn’t selected?
- A. This is my favorite part! I save everything that is left after a year’s worth of style swaps (which are typically held in the spring and fall) and set up a charity pop-up shop at Project Hope in Roxbury. I host a professional dress workshop for the charity’s Speakers Bureau (composed of women who share their success stories from Project Hope) a couple of weeks before the pop-up shop. Then at the pop-up, which is open to the Speaker’s Bureau, anyone enrolled in a service from the charity and those living in their shelter, I style the women and help them shop. So, even items that a swapper brings to the event that aren’t taken, still go to an awesome new owner.
Q. What’s the best item you have scored or seen at a style swap?
- A. Personally I love the designer and vintage pieces that occasionally come in. However, I must say it’s the professional attire, mostly suits, that make me the happiest. These are investment pieces that not everyone can afford, but may be crucial in landing or maintaining a job. Seeing the life cycle of how these pieces have helped one individual and now will help another is pretty amazing!
Thanks again to Tricia Cromwell for her time and for organizing such an amazing event that helps so many wonderful women. I hope to see you all at Boston Fashion Week’s Style Swap. Tickets can be purchased on the Trust In Tricia website. If you’re interested in learning more about the services that Tricia offers, please see the video below for details.