Own a designer dress you love — that remains on a hanger — or fashionable shoes just a tad too small? If your closet’s got almost-perfect items too cute to sell at a discount to a consignment store but too difficult to figure out how to wear, I hope you live in Southern California, where a new eco-boutique in Playa Del Rey called Give + Take can help.
Walk into Give + Take, and you’ll feel like you’re in a typical consignment store — except no money’s changing hands. That’s because Give + Take is all about swapping, not selling.
“One of the important things in the environmental movement is shop in your own closet,” says Give + Take owner Dora Copperthite (above). “That’s the reason I’m doing this. Your closet is suddenly the closet of hundreds of ladies.”
All it takes to join this massive swapping party’s a $20 monthly membership fee, which lets you trade as much as you want. Bring in the stylish items you’ve come to accept look great on other body types but not yours — and exchange them for fashion-forward pre-loved pieces that look perfect on you.
When I stopped by on Saturday, fashionable women were busy swapping clothes for points and browsing the racks. “It’s not like a normal boutique where you walk in and walk out,” says Dora. “They have their points. They know if they look hard enough, they’ll walk away with something to wear. I kid you not — I’ve had ladies spend 2, 3, 4 — 7 hours here.”
After all, the boutique’s very inviting. Dora likes to encourage a “girlfriend party spirit” for shoppers — complete with sparkling apple cider and little chocolate nibbles.
Give + Take’s divided into three rooms — dubbed “levels.” Level 1 is the big room that looks much like a high-end consignment store, with brands ranging from Bebe and Anthropologie on the low end to Armani and Diane Von Furstenberg on the high end. Bring in items that can go into this room and you’re given points that you can use to get items already in that room.
Unlike consignment stores that pay you only a portion of what the store plans to sell the items for, Give + Take will award you points based on the current value of your pieces, according to Dora. “So basically, if they bring in a $150 dress, they can swap it out for another item worth $150 — or multiple items to equal that amount.”
The smaller Level 2 room’s called One-to-One. Collected here are the “cute cheapies” — from H&M, Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, and even Old Navy — that don’t make the cut for the Level I room. If you bring in Level 2-worthy items, you can simply make a one-for-one swap, leaving your no-longer-loved dud for someone else’s pre-loved one.
Then there’s Level 3: The free room (above and below). Yes, all the items here are free for members, who are clearly able to exercise restraint, because the room remains well-stocked. Many items here actually boast impressive brand names — but have a slight cosmetic defect. I saw a cute See by Chloe top that’s missing a button — awaiting a new crafty owner skilled at fashion nip tucks.
Give + Take opened in November, after Dora stocked the store with a huge swap event she organized through MeetUp and Craigslist. That one event filled all 1,200 hangers in the boutique! Since then, Give + Take’s attracted more than 120 members — with some coming all the way from Long Beach, Pasadena, and even Santa Barbara.
At the moment, the boutique’s only open on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., though Dora hopes to soon add weekday hours. The space is open during the week by appointment for wardrobe consultations and private swap parties.
Give + Take. 200 Culver Blvd., 2nd Fl., Playa Del Rey. 310.482.3398.