For most, selecting an outfit is a perilous undertaking. It typically entails wading through piles of crap you’ll never wear and ultimately reverting to a handful of acceptable go-tos. To make matters worse, “fast fashion” retailers entice us to acquire more and more crap, resulting in closets that emphasize quantity over quality. With their website Bib + Tuck, Sari Bibliowicz and Sari Azout are determined to change all that.
Bib + Tuck is a modern take on the traditional clothing swap. Basically, you take all that crap you don’t wear (not that it’s crap, it’s just crap to you) and trade it for someone else’s “crap” that you are, in fact, quite fond of. An illustrative example: Perhaps you’ve gained (or lost?) a few pounds and no longer fit in to that slinky Alexander Wang number. Perhaps it was an impulse buy and it never looked right in the first place. Or maybe your ex-boyfriend bought it for you as a birthday present days before you dumped his ass and you can no longer stand to look at it, let alone wear it. Whatever the reason, you don’t want it, someone else probably does, and it’s likely that hidden in the depths of their closet is something you would appreciate more than they do.
Bib + Tuck harnesses the power of the Internet to let you swap the Alexander Wang dress for something you’ll actually wear. The desired result is an edited closet full of items that all get the “go-to” designation. In addition to the thrill of acquiring something new(ish) without spending a dime, you also become part of a community of thrifty fashionistas. Really puts the sex appeal back in barter, right? We sat down with the two Saris as well as Ilana Savdie, Bib + Tuck‘s creative director, to chat about quality over quantity, the narrative of clothing, and the items they’d never give up.
Describe a bit where the idea came from and how the site works.
SARI BIBLIOWICZ: All three of us have known each other forever. We used to live in the same building when we moved to New York, in the Lower East Side. There were so many things in our closets that we no longer wore for whatever reason that were still in great condition so we decided to start creating this infinite closet between all of us. We realized instead of going out and spending more and shopping more we could just be resourceful and use what we had, so that’s sort of how the idea came about.
SARI AZOUT: The main thing was playing on this concept of shopping without spending.
SB: It’s not a one-to-one exchange. You don’t give me your jacket and I give you my sweater. It’s really a lot more open to shopping as you would on any e-commerce platform. If, for instance, I no longer want my skirt I can list it at whatever I think it’s worth in a credit value. So if I think it’s worth $100 I list it at 100 credits. To Bib is to give and to Tuck is to take, so if you Bib my skirt I have 100 credits to Tuck anything else on the site.
How does someone new to the site get started?
SB: You start with 10 credits.
SA: And you can also buy credits with cash but the idea is you never “cash out,” that’s the big differentiator between us and other platforms. It really is a community about giving and taking. At the end of the day, in consignment stores you probably make a third or fourth of what an item is really worth. We really focus on special pieces. It’s all about passing on a story and passing on the things you love. People have reacted very well to this idea of connecting and it’s radically open. Everyone uses real names.
So if someone Tucks my jacket, I know who’s getting it?
SB: Yes. You can message each other and a lot of people write handwritten notes to each other. I know a girl that has sprayed perfume on an item to give it a personal touch.
It seems like Bib + Tuck is about passing things forward whereas when you’re thrifting or shopping vintage you often have no idea where the clothes came from.
SB: People write down why they’re letting something go, so it makes it a lot more transparent. People write funny things about an ex-boyfriend giving it to them or gaining weight so it doesn’t fit . It’s nice to know people are giving it up not because it’s a piece of junk but because it doesn’t work for them.
Ilana Savdie: People are very honest because it does represent what their closet stands for. If there’s a stain they’ll admit there’s a stain.
Do you think that consumers are moving towards having a more edited or pared down closet?
SA: I think if platforms like Bib + Tuck can elongate the life of a piece, then it’s all about quality over quantity. You can buy fewer things and recycle its value.
In a dream scenario, who would you love to Tuck one of your articles of clothing?
SA: I’d love for it to come back to me.
IS: I want to see it on Rupaul’s Drag Race.
The three of you obviously have a keen interest in fashion. How do you see yourselves dressing at 50 or 60 years old?
SA: I always think of this because I see older women and I think I won’t ever get to a point in my life where I’ll wear the typical older woman attire. I don’t think my style will change with age. I’ll be wearing overalls at 80.
IS: I keep telling myself I’ll completely change as a human being. I see everything that I wear now being bold and bright and aggressive and I’m comforted by this delusional thought that I’ll be this precious 90 year old.
What’s one article of clothing you would never give away?
SB: I do have a hand-me-down Birkin. It’s not something I would ever get or aspire to have in my closet. It’s from my mother-in-law and I love it because she gave it to me, not because it’s a name brand or this iconic bag.
IS: Everything that’s been given to me that’s precious I’ve given to my mom to put in a safe place because I’m too much of a disaster to have it. My friend made this scarf out of one of my paintings, I think that’s going to be my precious thing from now on.
SA: It’s becoming increasingly easy for me to get rid of stuff. She [Sari] got mad at me for selling my wedding dress.
SB: She literally landed from her honeymoon and put it up.
Styling by Stephanie Singer
Photography by Kat Slootsky
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