Wednesday, September 16, 2009

This Season's Must-Have Item: Financial Security

Frugalista. I've heard the term before (think frugal-minded fashionista). But it's now made it into a major ad campaign for Target.

As one reality New Jersey housewife might say, "Love, love, love!"

So you want to be an eco-frugalista? Me too. But I refuse to be seduced by ads hawking over-priced "green" fashion. Picture a model in an expensive bamboo frock shopping at her local CSA or basking in a field.

Did you know the FTC issued a consumer alert on bamboo fabrics? It states..."that the soft "bamboo" fabrics on the market today are rayon. They are made using toxic chemicals in a process that releases pollutants into the air. Extracting bamboo fibers is expensive and time-consuming, and textiles made just from bamboo fiber don't feel silky smooth." Read the full alert. Green UPGRADER takes a further look.

With Fashion Week in the news, we're also being lured to replace our perfectly good items, and hearing about "must-have" fashion pieces for the fall and winter, including on eco-sites. Is anything a "must-have" in this economy, short of food, shelter and medical care? Must-have's for me for this season and beyond are financial security and no credit card debt. Besides, I want to have my own sense of style. Who wants to be a carbon copy?

I see a lot of comments on sites about how hard it is to be green on a budget when they see ads selling all this high-priced fashion, which saddens me. Being green for me means being satisfied with living with a little less, finding creative ways to use what I have, and seeking out items already-produced, which are often a fraction of the cost and sometime even free.

Wallet Pop follows the swap excitement too.

Find fellow swappers online by searching for clothing swaps on

Swapping isn't just for clothes, MSNBC noted. Trade old CDs, books and video games on the web at and A parent? Trade your children's clothing, nursery furniture and more at

What does our swap look like? Here's a peek at our invite if you want to set one up at lunch-time at your workplace...

Looking for a stylish sweater to go apple picking? A warm scarf and hat to keep you cozy on those chilly nights? A new coat you can wear while sipping hot cocoa? Come find it at our fall-winter clothing swap! Leave your credit cards at home: It's all for free!

What are we swapping this time? Items of the season.

Clothes: coats/jackets, sweaters, shirts, jeans, pants, skirts, and dresses. All sizes desired. Beauty comes in all sizes!
Shoes: new or gently worn, only, please
Accessories: scarves, hats, gloves, jewelry, handbags, sunglasses, belts, and umbrellas
Unwanted gift items: picture frames, candles, and unused beauty products, etc.

At our last swap, some of the stylish pickings included a Betsey Johnson dress, Stuart Weitzman sandals, and a Coach handbag. Many major brands were represented, including Arden B., H&M, and The Limited.

We'll be donating the leftovers to the C.A.T.S. Resale Shop in Westwood, NJ, where the proceeds of items sold go to benefit homeless cats and dogs. Some items may be brought to the Salvation Army in Chelsea as well.

So after your slice of free pizza, come find a new look for free. You don’t have to donate to participate...all are welcome. Seasonal goodies will be offered as well. After all, "shopping" does work up an appetite!

That's it! We provide a few light refreshments, booked it on the day of our free pizza luncheons, and people will be giving their clothes a second life.

As stated, beauty does come in all sizes. But if all sizes don't participate, do add beauty products, handbags, accessories and more so there's something for everyone. We always have plenty leftover, which means more for the charity shop.

Don't want to swap, and want to make some extra money from your unwanted items? MSNBC tells you how, including selling through consignment shops, where you will often get a 50-50 take of items sold. Find a consignment shop, or search for them by category on

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