Host your own clothing swap party

host your clothing swap party

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A clothing swap party is a wonderful way to enjoy time with girlfriends and to experiment with new fashion styles without spending a cent. Hosting your own clothing swap party is easy.   Here are five ideas to ensure yours runs smoothly and everyone has a great time.

1.  Timing

Consider hosting a clothing swap party at the end of a season.  A change in the temperature will encourage your friends to sift through their wardrobes and identify what they’d like to pass on.

2.  Invitation list

To encourage easy swapping, carefully consider the sizes of your guests.  One option is to invite a good mix of clothing sizes and make sure there’s at least one match for each size.  The other option is to invite friends who are within one or two sizes of each other. If your girlfriends are of vastly differing sizes, consider hosting an accessories-only swap. Swapping accessories (shoes, handbags, scarves, jewellery, glasses) can be just as much fun as swapping clothes (without the hassle of getting undressed!)

3.  Clothing swap party guidelines

If you read my last blog article about public clothing swaps, you’ll appreciate the level of  frenzied excitement that’s generated when women are placed in a room of free stuff.  To be fair to all your guests, think through how the swap will be conducted.  Include this information in your invitation so they know what to expect. Stress that people must be ready to part with their items.  Once clothes are “checked-in” to the swap,  considered them gone.

  • Set a minimum and maximum number of articles to swap.
  • Stipulate that items must be in excellent condition (clean and pressed).  If you have a portable clothes rack, ask people to  bring items on hangers.
  • Explain that all items are of equal value regardless of what they cost.  Designer labels don’t carry any weight.
  • Select a charity that you will give left over items to.

4.  Room set up

The trick to hosting a stylish clothing swap is to organise clothes and items into piles so they look attractive and appealing.  Invite your guests into a pop-up boutique, not the inside of your wardrobe.

If you have a portable clothing rack, hang items up according to categories and sizes. Set aside an area with a full length mirror so people can try clothes on. Have your guests “check-in” their clothes and have a system to record how many pieces each person brought.  You can issue each guest with a token or button.  After they’ve found an item, they surrender this token. This ensures that no one comes with more than they brought.

5.  Swap Process

I recommend allowing your guests 10 minutes to browse so they can see what’s available.  They can check on sizing, but they don’t try things on yet.  Then depending on the size of your group , you can either open up the swap to everyone or follow an orderly sequence.

What’s worked well when I’ve hosted clothing swaps for my clients is the lottery system.  I put everyone’s names in a bowl and draw one name at a time.  That person gets to choose one thing to try on or to take.  After all names have been drawn, everyone gets access to what remains.  I find this process works well because ladies are encouraged to focus on one item they really want and to keep their standards high.  If two people want  the same item, the fairest way is to decide it with a coin toss.

Clothing swap parties are really fun. You can to try new looks for free.  You get supportive advice from your girlfriends.  In Australia, October is Buy-Nothing-New Month which makes it a great month to host a clothing swap party.

I hope you found that useful and if you’ve got more questions, I’m happy to answer them.  If you live in the Sydney area, I can help you host your own Style and Swap party. Just send me an email to get more details.