A few weeks ago, I went to a fantastic clothes swapping event organized by ‘The Clothing Exchange’. Although I love shopping, I’ve really come around to the concept of swapping clothes lately. It’s a great way to upgrade your wardrobe without having to spend hundreds of dollars and you get to meet new people whilst helping the environment. Win! It’s also the perfect opportunity to get rid of all these ‘impulse’ buys and ‘goal’ items hiding at the back of your wardrobe. You know the ones.
There are many clothing exchange programs that take place all around the world but if you can’t make it to an event then how about hosting your own? Throwing a clothes swap party at home is really fun and easy to organize. Just follow these 5 easy steps and you’ll have a whole new wardrobe before you know it!
Step 1: The Invitations
♥ The best time to host a swap party is at the beginning of a new season as people are more likely to want to clear out their wardrobe and get some new pieces then. Give your friends plenty of time to go through their wardrobe and send your invitations out at least two weeks in advance. Facebook invitations or Evites are nice, environmentally friendly options.
♥ Keep your guest list to 10-12 people if you can. Any more than that and things might get a little crazy (not that it’s a bad thing really!). Clothing swap parties are good ice breakers so don’t be afraid to invite new friends.
♥ Invite people of every shape and size so that everyone has a chance to find a treasure.
♥ To ensure everyone brings ‘cute’ things, set a few guidelines in your invites and explain that everyone should only bring stuff that they would be happy to get themselves (i.e not your dad’s old t-shirt or some dirty clothes you found at the bottom of the laundry basket). Encourage people to bring accessories as well such as shoes, belts and bags.
Step 2: Setting The Scene
♥ The easiest way to display the clothes is on little portable racks. It will also give your guests the illusion that they are in a shop and gets them in the right mood straight away. Ikea has some pretty good bargains (I bought my rack for less than $10!) but if this is not an option then you could just hang some rope around the room to create makeshift racks. You could also display the clothes on tables and chairs.
♥ Try to group different categories together and to create little areas dedicated to tops, dresses, etc. It will make the browsing process much easier and create a little bit of order (at least until everyone starts throwing clothes everywhere).
♥ You will also need one or two mirrors so that your friends can see how the clothes look on them and give them the opportunity to strut their stuff. You could ask guests to borrow theirs if you don’t have one.
♥ If hosting at home then simply use the bedroom or bathroom as your changing rooms. Otherwise create makeshift changing rooms out in the corner of the room using a screen or whatever is handy.
♥ Have plenty of hangers on hand as well as a few eco-friendly shopping bags for people to take their new pieces home.
Step 3: The Party
♥ Put on some upbeat girly music to get everyone in the mood. Beyonce’s booty is your friend here.
♥ When your guests arrive, welcome them with a drink and offer to display their clothes for them.
♥ Quickly go over the rules (for example: ‘every lady is allowed the same amount of clothes she brought in’, ‘if two people want the same thing then we will toss a coin to decide who should get it’) and start swapping!
♥ If some people seem a bit shy at first then encourage them to try on things, even if it’s just for fun! Or turn into their own personal stylist and gather some clothes for them to try on. This is the perfect time to let your inner Gok Wan shine. Just don’t make them strip naked please.
Step 4: Food and Drinks
It’s not a party unless you’ve got a little food and some pretty drinks!
♥ Bite sized appetizers are a great choice for this kind of party as they are quick to eat and less likely to end up on the clothes. I also like to serve food on skewers or with toothpicks for easy handling. If you’re a little low on cash then don’t hesitate to ask your friends to bring plates of goodies too!
♥ A champagne cocktail is always a lovely option but make sure you have plenty of non-alcoholic choices available as well.
♥ Don’t forget to buy some pretty serviettes!
Step 5: Donate
♥ At the end of the party offer to donate the left-over clothes to your local charity. Chances are most girls won’t want their clothes back and they might make someone else very happy!
Have you ever been to or hosted a clothes swap party before? Did you find some treasures?