A swish new way to feel good about yourself

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Her eyes went as round and swimmy as Toad of Toad Hall’s did when he spotted his first motor car.

“Where has THAT little beauty been all night - if not my life?” she gasped, at the forlorn item our swishing party hostess was holding up in a last-ditch pitch to get rid of stock as her shopped-out guests drained wine glasses and started to move towards the front door.

I felt a rush of relief. And pride. A total stranger had fallen in love with one of my cast-offs.

She’d gone arse-over for that skimpy, spangly, disco diva of a top I told you all about a fortnight ago. Getting on for 20 years old, its tag still dangling from it, the sequin-smothered Sister Sledge wardrobe wannabe had been amongst the armful of clothes I had taken along in a bid to free up some much-needed cupboard space - oh for one of those walk-in wardrobes. I totally get why women on Wanted Down Under are ready to turn their backs on their invalid mothers and travel to the other side of the world for one. Plus I was doing a good turn for charity. We were all to put an amount we felt any acquisitions were worth into a kitty for a school in Nepal.

I had swished once before - the notion of women getting together to swap unwanted gear was introduced as an early recessionista sisterhood thing, but when the credit crunch deepened it was squished; women realised they could get cold, hard cash for their clothes via eBay and thus pay their gas bills.

For the same reason, charity shops have ended up with less quality stock on their rails - and I returned to swishing with zero expectations. I truly thought I’d go home with what I came with, vowing to get to grips with posting my first listing on the worldwide online auction site. Just the other day I read about a woman who’s turned her dining room into a stock cupboard and herself into a full-time eBay trader making £100,000 a year.

But I was wrong. I swished for England, as well as Nepal. Much to Bloke’s dismay, I came home with a coat, two scarves (a woman can never have too many; they always fit), a blouse, a jumper, a white jacket, a suede bag (all very swish indeed) AND a little black top trimmed with - you’ve guessed it - sequins. I’m just a sucker for sparkle.

The best buzz we all got, though, was from seeing other women looking fantastic in clothes we had adored but been forced to abandon on turning to mutton. There wasn’t a twinge of jealousy. Something far deeper rooted - our waste not, want not mentality - had been tweaked.