Girls love clothes. We also love to shop.
I heard that the earth just reached human carrying capacity. Wow! That’s a lot of people trying to share a limited amount of resources.
Hosting a clothing swap is the best, eco-friendly way to get tons of new clothes for free. It’s a fun, fun way to get together with your BFF’s and a perfect way to build community and meet new friends. Reuse is stylish and thoughtful.
What exactly is a clothing swap?
It’s a party. Everyone is invited to clean out their closets and swap favorite clothes with other participants. It’s recycling at it’s best. It lets us reuse already perfectly great clothing instead of buying newly manufactured clothes.
10 Things to remember when planning a clothing swap.
1. Invite the girls you love. Invite girls with terrific taste in clothing. Invite girls who are a lot of fun. Invite a girl who is new to town. Invite girls of varying sizes. Ask them all to bring a friend or two.
2. Pick a date and venue. Plan for three or four hours. Most clothing swaps I’ve been to are on a weekend afternoon or early evening. Daylight makes it easier to see how the clothes look.
3. Send out the invites. Give your guests one to two weeks notice. Tell them to bring clean, unwanted clothing and other small treasures, like perfume and jewelry.
4. Clean the house. The living room is a great area for swapping. Clear an area on the floor or table for the clothing. Place a full length mirror where everyone can enjoy seeing themselves, in their new attire.
5. Help the party attendants feel welcome. As with any gathering, be sure to include lots of food and drink for guests. Make it potluck style, so everyone can contribute to the conviviality. It helps decrease the cooking for the hostess, too. Having tea or lemonade is fun, but cocktails make for a real hootenanny.
6. When your guests arrive, show them where to dump their clothes. For best efficiency, make clothing piles. Divide the clothes according to categories: shirts, shirts, pants, dresses, skirts, shoes, lingerie, accessories, yoga clothes, outerwear, odds and ends, etc. Beginning the clothing swap with some semblance of order is key. During the swap, mayhem ensues and the clothes will probably all mix together.
7. Warn your guests to put the clothes that they are wearing in a special place, away from the swap. All too many times, I have seen girls shocked and dismayed that the go-to outfit they wore to the party has been absorbed by the swap and “bought” by another participant. Oops! Don’t, I repeat, do not, let this happen at your swap.
8. On your marks, get set, go! Everyone jumps in and starts trying stuff on. Fantastic outfits materialize. Sexy ensembles come together. Our smiling and giggling friends are finding new treasures galore.
9. What if two girls want the same fabulous dress? Chances are there will be so many fantastic clothes; there won’t be an actual cat fight. If two girls can’t live without the same article, let them both try it on and have the other guests vote. Or, there’s always thumb wrestling to settle a dispute gracefully.
So many times at a clothing swap, I find a girl, or myself, falling in love with a new outfit, only to give it happily to a less fortunate girl, who maybe didn’t discover the ensemble of her dreams. Giving away an already free, pretty skirt is a very inexpensive way to make someone’s day.
10. Clean up and donate. When the swapping comes to a natural end, ask your pals to help you bag and box up the unclaimed articles. Make plans the next day to donate the discards to a local women’s shelter or homeless shelter. The clothes can be given to a thrift store or church with a “clothing closet.” Whichever charity we chose, it’s imperative to get the clothes out of the house, fast. The last thing any of us need, or want, is 20 extra boxes of clothes sitting around until next time.
After hours of fun and big laughs, all of the girls will pack up their treasures and depart. Thank your guests for coming and contributing to an incredible event. Encourage all of them to host similar functions.
Boys can have a clothing swap too!
Fashion is what you buy. Style is what you do with it.” ~ Azrygabebly Josland
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Cat Beekmans
Photo: Andrea Flannigan