The fashion community has been buzzing about Style Swap since we first got wind of it a few weeks ago, and we finally got our fix Thursday night. Wilmington-based style queens Jess James and Rachel McPherson hosted the event at the Music Farm. All were instructed to bring two pieces that have been hibernating in closets — clothing and an accessory — then given five tags to vote on top choices. The racks were filled with everything from designer to vintage to less-than-desirable (who brought the stretched-out American Eagle T-shirt? Style Swap party foul). However, for the most part, it was a pretty good selection of gently-worn stuff. Some folks — presumably the ones who voted on less popular items — walked away with three or four pieces. Then there were people like me, who voted on really popular stuff like a black mini dress with a purple sequin bodice, who weren’t so lucky. I did win a great gold belt, though. Next time, I’ll strategize a little better and vote for a mix of popular and less-popular items. After an hour of mingling and sipping on cocktails, we were ready to battle it out for some prized pieces from designers and stores like Carter Humphrey, Library, Amanda DeLeon, and Hampden Clothing. And by battle it out, I mean a dancey version of musical chairs. Other great prizes, like a Jane Pope necklace and a Marysia bikini, were handed out randomly throughout the night. My favorite thing about the Swap? It brought together fashionistas — a group that can sometimes seem intimidating and inclusive — in a fun, casual, and super-social setting. Everyone from local designers to hat ladies to regular-Jane-style lovers were in attendance. Sadly, the intimidation factor may have been to blame for the smaller-than-expected crowd, but hear this: You don’t have to bring Armani. You don’t need fabulous vintage. And you shouldn’t be put off by the entrance fee. ($15 in advance for at least one new piece and a chance at fab prizes? Definitely worth it.) Next time there’s a Swap, be sure to make it out there. Because more people = more stylish choices for me! Check out more photos from the Swap here.

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