Do you ever get an email that at first, looks like SPAM, but then you actually look at it and suddenly, it’s like “woah, how am I just finding out about this?!”. That’s what happened to me last Thursday. I got an email from the Chicago Tribune–an “advertiser’s message”. Normally, those go right into my trash, but the subject line of this one caught my eye.
You’re Invited: The Naked Grape Wine + Clothing Charity Event
“Wine, clothing, and charity? Hmmm…” I thought. So I hit “show images” and began to read. The invite was for a “sip & swap” event, where guests would bring their old clothing and could choose something new to them from the stuff others brought. And during all of it you’d get snacks and wine provided by The Naked Grape. All of the clothing not swapped would be donated to Clothes4Souls, a non-profit organization that collects clothing for those in need.
And it was at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum!
So it became “ZOMG wine, clothing, charity and butterflies!! How do I sign up?!” and frantically messaging the friends I knew would be interested. Why frantically? Because I received the email at 3:30PM on Thursday, and the event was at 5PM the following Saturday. And there wasn’t any information on cost (and I anticipated it being pricey). Yikes! Talk about short notice and no info! But I was determined to go, so I emailed to RSVP, as directed, and asked about cost.
There was no cost!
It was free to get in as long as you brought at least 3 gently used items to swap/donate. This event just couldn’t get any better! I just had to find someone to go with me, because I really didn’t want to drive into the city alone–boring! In the end, I ended up talking my husband into it. He was a little grumbly about it at first, but ended up having a pretty good time, and he got to get rid of some clothes that he was no longer wearing.
The Naked Grape generously provided samples of all of their wines for guests of the event. There were 2 bars stocked full of all the varieties of The Naked Grape wine (they also had non-alcoholic beverages available, but hubs and I ignored those, haha) and they were pouring glasses of whatever you wanted to try.
In addition to the Moscato and the Summer White Blend, hubs and I tried the Malbec and the Harvest Red Blend. We tried to each get different ones each time so we could try each others. It was fun, and nice to try something new. I had never had any of The Naked Grape’s wines before, but am definitely a fan now.
I didn’t know what to expect, to be honest. I had a hard time finding any info about the event online, and wondered if there were going to be many people there. I was wrong, and there were a ton of people there, and a ton of clothes being swapped and donated. It was pretty impressive! There were great brands, like H&M and GAP, as well as designer stuff. Someone even brought in a beautiful (size 10, unfortunately) deep pink Armani suit!
I was really impressed that there were fitting rooms. I hadn’t anticipated that, but it was nice. The lighting in them wasn’t the greatest, and after a certain point, I decided to just skip trying stuff on. I figured if it didn’t fit, I’d bring it to the swap I’m going to the 27th, or donate it.
The swag & surprise celeb appearance.
The Naked Grape, in addition to providing tasty little appetizers and desserts (which were devoured before being photographed) and wine, also provided all the guests with swag bags. The nice thing about it was that they weren’t crammed with useless stuff. Instead, it was simple: a reusable bag, presumably for loading up with swapped items, though I had brought my own, and a flyer on Clothes4Souls.
And then, Giuliana Rancic showed up. She did a brief interview, stepped into the butterfly sanctuary for a bit, mingled with a few guests, and then headed out. Our paths didn’t cross in a way that allowed me to get close enough to talk to her or snap a picture with her, like I wanted, but it was cool to see a local celeb coming out to support the event. I’m not a huge follower of hers, to be honest, but I recognized her right away, which says something haha (I’m totally not the type of person who’s up on celebrity stuff).
Butterflies & Button Quails
So, bonus of the event was getting to go into the Notebaert’s butterfly sanctuary, which is pretty much my favorite place ever. In fact, the reason I wanted to wear the failed fix-it red skirt was because red attracts butterflies, and I wanted them to love me! But anyway, hubs and I went in there and spent a bit of time enjoying it.
I told the Notebaert employee who was in there that the primary reason I came to the event was because it was at the Notebaert, and I meant it! Had it been anywhere else, my Suburbanite self probably would have been all “meh, too short notice, oh well” and moved on. But the prospect of being able to get into the butterfly sanctuary made driving into the city on a Saturday night totally worth it!
I brought 2 full bags of my own stuff to swap/donate, and hubs quick dug 4 shirts out of the closet. I left with quite a bit of stuff (more than I thought I would, to be honest). Here are some of my favorite finds from the event…
On the top left is a Forever21 sheer embroidered top that’s very peasant-like. I don’t have anything like it and I’m looking forward to putting my own rock star spin on it this summer. Then there’s a cozy cream GAP cardigan, which was the first thing I grabbed. Hello texture and warmth! On the bottom right is a great dalmatian-pattered silky dress from H&M, and then there’s a brand-new-with-tags faux leather and faux fur vest. On the very bottom is a shot of the 3 bags I bought home, with some of the other pieces I got showing. I’ll do a full haul entry after both swaps. The 4 pieces above I’m definitely keeping though!
Overall, it was a wonderful event!
I had a great time with hubs, mingling with a few of the other swappers, and learning about The Naked Grape and their charitable efforts. I am glad I didn’t delete the email and decided to look at it! Huge thanks to The Naked Grape and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum for hosting such a fun, unique event, and for making my husband’s first real clothing swap event a fun, memorable one! I’m hoping they do it again, and that there’s more notice so that my friends can come, because I know they would have had as great a time as hubs and I did.