So, I don't know if you've heard, but there's a recession on. Apparently the asswipes who work(ed) in finance and whose take-home pay was equivalent to the GDP of a small island nation, totally screwed up the economy while the rest of us were being paid in paper clips and good wishes. (Although in my case it was more like shampoo samples and good wishes.) As a result, I'm having a really difficult time mustering up empathy for the bankers and brokers who can't afford their bloated mortgage payments and have to terminate their Porsche SUV leases early.
But the worst part is the domino effect it's had. Now we're all broke. One the one hand sure, misery enjoys company. On the other, screw company! I want next season's YSL cage-pumps, right? In response to this, the shopping-obsessed among us have decided a viable alternative is to have a clothes swapping party with our equally fashion-minded friends, otherwise known as "swishing." Oh, how coy to use a variation on the word "swish", as though resorting to wearing your friend's discarded t-shirt isn't just a teensy bit anti-climactic. It's one thing to pass on a blouse or a handbag to an admiring friend, it's quite another to cull your spring wardrobe from the closets of women you know and hang out with.
Reports abound these days about how even socialites are holding swishing parties, exchanging high-end designer frocks with their pals in an effort to be more money and eco-conscious. Seriously? These women are the reason waiting lists were invented; I find it hard to believe they would run the risk of being photographed in the same coat their BFF was wearing in last month's Page Six spread. Also, we're talking about a contingent of society whose sole purpose in life is to tow the rich-thin-beautiful line. You really think if one of them was feeling bloated one day and bought a pair of trousers in a size 4 she'd be putting them on display for all her bobbleheaded friends to see and judge? C'mon.
But aside from all this, why am I so reluctant to wear my friends' clothes when I've been known to troll a vintage store or flea market in my day? Clearly I'm not grossed out by the idea of used clothing. In a nutshell: it makes me uncomfortable. What if my friend sees a blouse or a blazer on me and regrets handing it over? Will she ask for it back? What if she thinks I'm not wearing it right? Or worse, I'm wearing it better than she ever did. What if I'm not treating it with respect and care? Or I accidentally refer to it as "this old thing"? But worst of all, what if the proverbial shoe is on the other foot and I'm the one thinking all these things about her? We live in a world where women dress for other women, where if our friend is upset over a bad haircut we console her with lies of "But The Rachel is back!", and where oftentimes our greatest fears are realized when the women we think we know so well land up with a mate we cannot stomach. Why make things more complicated? I, for one, will avoid shopping for the time being. And if I'm really jonesing, will dip into my mom's closet for some vintage finds. After all, I'm used to her judging me, quietly or otherwise.