Forget bunko and your basic run of the mill night out to dinner with the girls. Here is a fun way to have some great girl time while enjoying what all of us ladies enjoy the most in our lives.
Shopping, styling, drinks and food all for free. We call this in the fashion world clothing swap parties.
They are fashion and fun friendly gatherings where all of your trendy or clothes loving friends come together to share their own stylish finds. You can have a great time socializing while exchanging quality, unwanted clothing for something new-to-them.
This is a great way to clear your closet of all that unwanted clutter, saves you money and allows you to repurpose your apparel. The concept may be novel to some, but it is not a new way to break up a monotonous wardrobe while saving tons of money.
For those of you who have never experienced one of these trending fashion festivities, here is an easy rundown to plan and host your first clothing swap party like a seasoned veteran.
1. Get Ready: Plan to Keep It Simple
Remember this is supposed to be fun, so the key to a successful clothing swap party begins with planning its theme, guest list, refreshments, and invitations.
The next step in planning is to decide what will be exchanged, the conditions to participate, the rules for the swap, and the currency to be used.
Third, organize how you will display the garments, how guests will shop and try them on, how to handle that one piece everyone wants, and what to do with unclaimed clothing.
Keep big things simple. Focus attention to details in the organizing of the event.
Simplicity keeps it geared toward three main goals: Minimal stress for you, trading clothing, and a fun time for all.
Invest time rather than money so your first clothing swap party will be so successful, everyone will want to repeat.
The last two steps are the party itself and closing it out. Following are tips for executing your plan. Have fun!
2. Set the Stage
Theme and Date
Easiest themes for first time clothing swaps could be seasons or types of clothing. The best times to host swaps are at ends of a season when people are cleaning out their closets and trying to make room for new styles.
Send invites one month to two weeks ahead to give guests time to sort and part with sentimental pieces from better-fitting days. Include the conditions to participate, rules for shopping and instructions for sanitizing clothing.
Four to twenty guests are manageable, but eight to ten are enough to offer good variety. Choose like-sized guests within two or three sizes of each other and of similar tastes.
If one of your friends is extra slim or plus size, they may still enjoy swapping accessories, jewelry, handbags, etc.
Non-sticky finger foods and snacks that leave one hand free to shop are ideal. Deviled eggs, dainty sandwiches and veggies with dip work well. Ban foods and drinks that stain from the shopping areas.
What Will Be Exchanged
Define the sizes and types of clothing such as summer fashions, dresses, casual or business wear, accessories, handbags, and jewelry. Above their ten-piece minimum, let them bring additional unwanted clothing of any type.
Quality Control Tips
Insist clothing and accessories be clean, pressed, in gently used condition and nothing you would not offer your pickiest friend. This means no stains, tears, broken zippers, wrinkles or missing buttons.
Make sure that guest take the right cleaning precautions when cleaning clothing.
Sanitize everything in the dryer at high heat of at least 120 degrees for 15-20 minutes before coming over to kill unwelcome pests like bed bugs, lice and clothing moths.
Dry, dry-clean only items can be treated safely with modest heat up to 160 degrees in the dryer.
Conditions to Participate
At least ten items is the recommended minimum to bring to keep things even and provide variety. Each guest takes home only as many items as she brings.
Untraded items either can be reclaimed before leaving or left to be donated to charity. Optional condition is to have guests bring a snack to share.
Make sure all items of clothing are visible and organized. Pair or hang blouses by sizes and the same with pants and dresses.
Clear clutter like fragile items, magazines and loose papers.
Flat surfaces like dining tables and countertops nicely display handbags and jewelry.
Make sure your hands are clean, you would not want to mess up articles of clothing that you may want to purchase or someone else may want to purchase. They key is to make this more like a shopping experience.
Match guests with colored stickers used to mark selected items.
Guests take turns shopping instead of everyone shopping at once. Set a 3-item limit per person, per round, so everyone has opportunity to choose something they want. No fighting over clothing!
This can be bedroom or space partitioned with a blanket. Provide a full-length mirror.
Suggest guests wear the appropriate undergarments beneath their clothes to make trying on garments faster and easier.
Shop for Supplies
However you decide to plan your party be sure to shop for the right supplies, for example: Labeled bins, boxes or trunks keep items organized.
Mark sizes or display areas with pretty handmade signs.
Get extra shopping bags, assorted color stickers, an apparel rack or temporary clothesline, and poker chips for tokens.
3. Go: Getting This Party Started!
As friends arrive, give them one token per item brought, and let them arrange their apparel in designated, labeled areas.
- Once settled, remind everyone of the rules and etiquette.
- Let them browse for five minutes.
- Draw straws, bingo balls or numbered slips of paper to determine the order in which guests will shop.
- Set the timer, let the shopping commence!
- Guests shop one at a time.
- Allow enough time per round for trying on clothing, perhaps 10 minutes.
- Friends tag selections with their color stickers and pay one token per item up to the number of items they brought.
- If two people want the same item, flip a coin or let them roll dice to decide who gets it.
- Once everyone has shopped one round, shop another the same way. Two rounds for individual shopping is enough because there will be a second chance round for anything not already claimed.
Get everyone involved with the styling process. This makes it fun and exciting for everyone attending. It also allows them to get ideas for their own style.
Close Out the Swap Party
While everyone is relaxing with refreshments, gather untraded items and place in the designated donation box so no one has to see their unwanted items lying about.
Announce that the box is open for last-minute swapping and anyone who wants to reclaim their apparel, or they can leave them to be donated. Take donations to your local women’s shelter or to the Salvation Army.
Before everyone leaves go ahead and set dates for another swap for next season. Follow up with thank-yous noting tentative month and location of the next clothing swap party.
Next time, you can expand the group by asking each guest to bring someone they know of like sizes and tastes.
Need More Info?
I’ve tried to cover everything in this post, but if you still have unanswered questions about hosting your own clothes swap, feel free to shoot me a message or look over the resources I’ve listed below.
- How to Host a Clothes Swap and Where to Donate Clothes – via thegunnysack.com
- How to Host a Clothing Swap Party – Rules and Ideas – via moneycrashers.com
- How to Hold a Fashion Swap Party – via wikihow.com
- How to Throw a Clothing Swap Party – via alwaysorderdessert.com
- Clothes Swap Party board – via Pinterest
- Five Reasons to Love a Clothing Swap (and How to Host Your Own) – via thesimpledollar.com