Tartan Dress: Body Positive Swap (originally from Simply Be)
Hair Bow: Body Positive Swap
I am so in love with this outfit, it makes me look like a chubby Minnie Mouse, and can you believe it was free? I got it at last months latest Body Positive plus size clothes swap! This time I decided to do things a bit differently as I was a bit overwhelmed last time and ended up having to bring a few pieces back. If you plan to go to the next one (and I strongly advise you do!) here are my top tips;
Beforehand, I sorted my two huge laundry bags of clothes I wanted to swap into specific sizes and then put them into smaller bags. This was so when I got to the swap, I could place everything on the correct tables easily. If you don't do this, and you have lots with you, it will take you ages to sort everything and you can miss valuable swapping time, and if you are like me, get in a bit of a flap!
Once that was done I took my empty bags to the tables that were closest to my size. The swap now doubles up sizes, so 16-18, 20-22, 24-26 and then bigger. This seems to work better as I have written about before, no plus size person I know is 'one size'. I methodically took bits and pieces I knew I really wanted, as lets be honest you are getting rid of clothes you don't want anymore, so there is no point taking more stuff you aren't going to wear and clog up your wardrobe!
I then took my stuff to the accessories room where there are shoes, scarves, jewellery, bras and most importantly seats! I had a sit down and went through and tried everything on that I had picked up. Whilst doing this, someone knocked off this hair bow off the table. I have been looking everywhere for one of these and I wasn't really prepared to pay American Apparel prices for one half the size, so trust me when I say I threw myself off my chair to grab it. Sadly the clip was broken, but being the thrifty crafty person I am, I bought 10 new ones on ebay for £4.99 and glued a new one in place!
About 1/3 of the pieces I picked up didn't fit right or didn't look right when I tried them on, so I put them back on their correct tables and did another circuit. When I went the first time I had very specific things in mind that I wanted, and of course you are relying on people to bring them, so I don't advise doing this as I grabbed a few tops I didn't really need. But what I did do this time was keep in my head that I wanted Autumn Winter pieces, so cardigans, long sleeve jumpers, anything with stripes on, and that is what I got! If you do get swap fever and grab bits you don't really like when you get home, the beauty is that you can just take it back to the next swap!
New people come in all the time, and it is hard not to physically jump on them and their bag of clothes, I don't know why but the element of surprise and excitement at the swap makes the entire experience so much more pleasant than shopping in the shops. I think also that everyone is plus size there helps, I really didn't mind trying on clothes in the open and walked round in my bra because no one else is going to judge my body, it is so refreshing.
Four pieces I got at the swap have been things I have worn every single day since I got them on a cycle, I think they have been washed 5/6 times (I am a messy eater) maybe? That is the sign of a good garment to be honest. My favourite is obviously this gorgeous red tartan dress, originally from simply be. This was actually a pre arranged swap. My friend told me the day before she sorted something out for me and that she would keep it to one side. Turns out it was this and it suits me so much!
You see, another great thing about the swap is the Fat Positive London Facebook group, people will post things of interest they are bringing, so you can do some prearranging first! I bought a coat with me for Claire that I knew she would love and a dress for someone else on the group.
The Body Positive swap is held by Kirsty and Claire. It is usually every other month and currently being held at Unity Hall just between Angel and Highbury. Clothes must be bought in a clean and in a good condition from a size 16 and up! If you don't have any clothes to bring that is fine, there is no policing of this at the door, so no need to feel awkward. Kirsty and Claire do ask for donations on the door so they can cover the costs of the hire of the hall, but it is as much as you can give and again if you can't afford to then you are not obliged. There are usually also a cake and a zine stall so bring change if you need snacks!
Next time I will most likely be doing a Black Heart Creatives stall. I have *lots* of samples and seconds taking up space in the workshop so will likely have a £3 for everything table! Keep an eye out for me there <3