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Last updated at 12:45 BST, Thursday, 18 July 2013

Staff blog


About the blogger

Catherine is a team leader at BBC Learning English. This week she tries a new way of updating her wardrobe.

Swishing - the future of fashion?

Hello dear readers.

Are you tired of wearing the same old clothes? Would you like to update your wardrobe - at a fraction of the cost of a shopping trip?

Try swishing! The concept is simple - a group of people get together at an agreed location, like a cafe or a friend's house. Everyone brings a few items of unwanted clothing, to swap for clothes that someone else doesn't want. So you get rid of your old clothes, and you go home with clothes that are 'new to you' - and all for free (or perhaps a small entrance fee) - simple!

It's a very environmentally-friendly way of revamping your wardrobe, and, according to my internet research, swishing events and parties are happening everywhere from Africa to Brazil to China. I even discovered a swishing party taking place near me! So, I rummaged through my wardrobe and picked out a few things I haven't worn for years: an oversized silk t-shirt; a pair of printed trousers that are a bit on the short side; a viscose dress that I never wear and a couple of cropped t-shirts.

Clothes rails

I arrived at the venue and was greeted by a very friendly hostess. I paid my attendance fee (a very reasonable £2) and the hostess gave me a drink and some coat hangers. I used them to put the clothes I'd brought with me on the rail. I browsed through the clothes that the other swishers had brought. As more people arrived, the rails began to fill up with coats, shoes, separates, dresses and accessories.

The moment arrived. The hostess said the magic words: "Let the swishing begin!" Suddenly, the room was full of action with everyone trying on clothes, stuffing them into plastic bags, swapping items with each other and admiring each other's finds. I left with a lovely cotton sundress, an animal print t-shirt, a great pair of denim shorts, and a not-so-great black woollen dress (I later discovered that it had a hole in it).

Catherine's swishing trophies: a cotton sundress, an animal print t-shirt, and a pair of denim shorts

My swishing trophies

Would I recommend swishing? Well, there's no guarantee you'll find exactly what you want. And once you've given away your clothes, you can't get them back. But if you want a low-cost, environmentally-friendly way to refresh your wardrobe, why not give it a go - or even host a swishing party of your own?

All the best


a fraction of the cost

much cheaper than usual


improving something by making big changes to it


looked for something amongst lots of other things


much bigger than normal

a bit on the short side

shorter than normal


a thin, smooth, man-made cloth


cut so that it is shorter than normal


a metal bar or pole, used to hang things on


items of clothing like t-shirts, trousers, skirts and shirts, that can be worn in different combinations


things like jewellery, shoes, handbags and belts that you wear with clothes to make them look more fashionable or stylish

End of Section

Now tell us what you think

Do you enjoy swapping clothes with your friends? Have you ever been to a swishing party? Tell us what you think about this new way of updating your wardrobe.

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