by Morgan McLaughlin
Editor in Chief
(photos by Pam Keller & Julie Adams)
What could be better than getting free clothes, accessories, and shoes at a clothing swap? Getting them while supporting a good cause!
“Who says you have to break the bank to be fashionable, raise funds for a great cause and have a good time? Not us!” the Barter Babes Facebook page will proudly tell you. And if you’d spent any time getting to know organizers Kelli, Cristal, and Dena at this last barter you’d know they’re all about looking cute, having fun and helping out.
The Sunday morning event started slow as guests dropped off donations and were welcomed to munch and mingle at Cafe Hidalgo in the historic downtown Villa del Sol. The spread was complete with mimosas, fruit, vegetables and some delicious mini quiche, not to mention the to-die-for sweets table. (The creme puffs were irresistible!) Great raffle prizes, like gift cards to Matador Cantina, a Sexy Jane photoshoot, and SalonTechnique treatment and products, sat atop tables for hopeful winners to ogle. Then it was a waiting game.
Anticipation grew as ladies, ready with bags in hand, watched the Barter Babe volunteers hang clothes and lay out accessories and shoes, transforming the restaurant into a boutique. It’s hard to fathom the makeshift barrier of pink tulle and chairs holding back the crowd of eager shopping women, but they knew the time would come. And finally, the free for all began. Ladies of all ages swarmed the racks of clothes, quickly picking up anything that looked like it might fit so that they’d have first chance at trying it on and taking it home. The fitting room was a flurry of skirts, shirts, jeans and tops as the ladies shared the lone mirror on the wall. If something didn’t fit it was immediately handed to someone else who looked the right size. “That would look cute on you,” was a phrase repeated often in the hours that followed.
As soon as it had started, it was over. The racks were picked through, half of what they’d been at the start. Ladies carried out large tote bags brimming with clothes, shoes, scarves and purses. It didn’t matter how much or how little any one person had though, they all wore smiles. The afterglow was spent nibbling more food, drinking some more wine and chatting with old and new friends alike on the patio.
But it isn’t just about the food and shopping and chatting. We women can do that any time. Barter Babes goes to the great lengths to organize and put on each growing event to support the WTLC non-profit in Orange County. With Tender Loving Care is the only organization that shelters women from domestic violence and human trafficking even if they have teenage sons. This ensures they never force a mother to make the choice between safety or child. WTLC provides help and support through their shelter, children’s program, housing, meals and legal advocacy. Barter Babes donates the remaining food, remaining clothes and the money raised from admission to the event to the WTLC to help them continue their great work.
Get to know them so you can be sure and snag an invite to the next big event!