The Naked Lady Parties


My haul from the last Clothing Swap

My haul from the last Clothing Swap


They’re usually called Clothing Swaps, but a friend referred to them as the Naked Lady Parties—and once I’d heard that name, I couldn’t think of them by any other. Of course, nobody actually goes around in the buff, but these get-togethers do involve a number of women, most in their skivvies, and all of them trying on their friends’ cast-off clothing. It’s so much fun—and everyone finds something they love. I always do.

I’m wearing one of them right now—a sleeveless cotton print pullover that’s perfect for summer, that goes with two pairs of my short pants, and that, for one reason or another, I never would have paid my own money for. But it was free!

The way these parties work is that you put aside the clothes you’re no longer wearing, and when an invitation goes out, you take those clothes with you and add them to everyone else’s in a big pile in the center of the room. Then everyone starts “shopping” and trying on.

There is always some kind of food at these parties, along with wine, juice, or coffee, depending on the time of day. But the main thing that’s happening is the new-to-you clothing.

Certainly, I bring home some things from Naked Lady Parties that I don’t end up wearing—or wearing more than once—but who cares! I can take those pieces to the next party or, in the meantime, donate them to one of the extremely popular Whidbey Island second-hand stores: Senior Thrift, WAIF, and Good Cheer.

The custom is that unclaimed garments from the Naked Lady Parties go to Good Cheer, where the proceeds from all sales support the Good Cheer Food Bank and Garden, providing nutrition to the local people who feel they need it. (I say feel because there is no requirement to prove your need for this assistance; it’s on offer to a self-selecting clientele.)

And many, many local people who don’t need to wear second-hand clothing do so. There is a sort of reverse snobbism at work on Whidbey. Compliment a woman on something she’s wearing, and at least half the time, she’ll say, “I found it at Good Cheer”—and be quite obviously proud of the fact that she is reusing something discarded (green living!), demonstrating her lack of vanity, and employing her  financial resources to the best possible advantage.

It’s SO Whidbey!