The instructions for Saturday night's inaugural And Then She Saved Clothing Swap clearly stated that participants be at Super Ordinary Gallery by 7 p.m. to set up their outfit outposts and be ready to trade beginning at 7:30 p.m. sharp. I caught gallery owner Tran Wills at 7:23 p.m., right as she was closing the doors on the trading market, and got in just under the wire.
Inside, I found a beehive of activity, with dozens of women milling about tables and racks of clothes, ready to pounce on some prized hand-me-downs.
The bonus to arriving on time was being able to stake out the dresses, shirts, skirts, pants, coats and the like, and then position yourself by the most desirable. Yes, there was a bit of competition in the air -- which had never entered my mind when I carefully selected ten items from my own closet to bring to the Swap.
As a person with four closets and three dressers full of clothes, I was looking forward to finally parting with some pieces that were either too small, not really my style, or had just been kept out of nostalgia for far too long. But the second I got inside the gallery, I got antsy at the idea of scoring some cool new clothes.
Once Wills and event organizer Anna Newell Jones gave us the go-ahead, the competition began. Women were stepping into makeshift dressing rooms or just dropping trou in the gallery, right then and there, to try on dress pants, vintage jackets, sundresses and plain old T-shirts.
In just over an hour, the swap was complete -- and a major success -- with about 75 percent of the items getting picked up, and the remainder donated to SafeHouse Denver. And all this action occurred in a laidback atmosphere that left plenty of time for participants to chat, have cute photos taken and enjoy the cupcakes and booze.
The only downside to the swap was the quality of some items. The invitation specified clean, fashionable, gently-used clothes -- but there was a small percentage of really crappy pieces. Pit-stained shirts, stretched-out sweaters and just plain unwearable items were mixed in with otherwise nice, well cared-for wardrobes.
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Still, for a first go-round, the the clothing swap was an excellently executed, thoughtful affair.
Photos from the And Then She Saved photobooth will be posted on the Newell Jones And Jones blog this week.