Poor Girl PartyA few years ago while in the throes of poverty that often come with graduate school, employment at Starbucks and a quarterlife crisis, I cooked up an idea to expand my wardrobe. Many of my friends also worked for Starbucks, other worked at bookstores or other less-than-lucrative positions. It was somewhere in between resale-shopping and picking through your sister’s closets. It was the Poor Girl Party.

I invited all my friends to my apartment, bought some cheese and crackers and chips and salsa and instructed everyone to bring the clothes they no longer wore. It was especially important to bring the clothes that you always meant to wear, but just never did. The good ones, the stylish ones. They could leave the oversized t-shirts from high-school charity events at home. The idea was that we’d dump them in the living room and start picking things up and sorting them out. Before we did that, though we realized that most of us had certain things that we thought would be really good for certain people. We allowed those suggestions to go first à la christmas gift-exchange.

No, we weren’t all the same size and some of us had lost or gained weight over the years and had multiple-sized clothes to share. I left with at least two good sweaters, two pairs of jeans, and a coat. That’s what I can remember. I no longer have a large gaggle of gal pals to round out a party and the group I do run with runs the gamut of styles so there never was a Poor Girl Party 2. Sometimes, I’m now willing to go to the resale shops, a step up from goodwill. And some of us in my current posse are doing o.k enough that we actually buy clothes at stores.

But I’ve learned that when I do finally end up with that pile in the back of my closet, I’ll at least traipse it out if a friend stops by for a beer and I think she might be interested. But I highly recommend a poor-girl party to my chère readers who are still slogging through college or grad school or minimum wage employment.

Martinique Miller lives in Chicago with her partner, Brittany. She writes a personal finance blog with her two sisters, called Thrifty Sisters where they share their success with money.

Photo credit: Thrifty Sisters.