I attended my second clothes swapping party this afternoon. These events are always so much fun, giving gals a chance to bond and to return home with "new" clothes for their wardrobes. What follows is one description of what a clothes swapping party can be. It's fun and practical and another way to recycle and reuse.
A Clothing Swap Party is a fantastic way to get a bunch of friends together and revitalize your wardrobe...all without spending very much money! With Earth Day right around the corner, it's also a really great reminder that being green (by choosing to reuse) does not have to be boring or sacrificing; it can actually be a heck of a lot of fun!
There are as many ways to run a swap party as there are outfits to swap, but below are a few tips and suggestions that will help you throw your own swap party without a hitch!
Creating the Guest List
With any party you throw, the guest list is key. But it's particularly important to plan carefully when throwing a clothing swap to ensure a successful mix of girls AND clothing.
- Invite the friends who like to shop (perhaps a bit TOO much!), the ones who have a great (or eclectic!) fashion sense, and the ones you know take good care of their clothing.
- Don’t feel restricted by age or styles; at my party, my fiance’s 15-year-old cousin ended up taking home a purse and a cute romper that belonged to my 56-year-old mother. My mom also passed on a pair of (very sexy!) dresses to one of my best friends. I nabbed a couple great sweaters from my future mother-in-law (and she, in turn, found a cute shirt that used to belong to her niece).
- Be considerate about sizing. While it doesn't have to be exact, try to invite girls in a range of sizes, and make sure that there is at least one other woman with a similar size for everyone you invite. That means, don't invite five girls who are a size 6 and one who is a 14; that's not fair to her. Also encourage everyone to bring shoes and accessories since regardless of size, anyone can enjoy a great purse or a gorgeous new shawl.
- Invite new friends! A clothing swap is a natural ice breaker (you’ll be surprised how quickly women who just met will start sharing body issue!), so if you know a couple girls that you’ve been wanting to get to know better, go ahead and invite them!
No need for fancy printed invitations for this kind of party. A nice email or evite (I actually swear by Pingg) will be perfect. Just make sure you include all the relevant information. Some things to consider:
- Depending on the size of your apartment, plan for no more than 10-15 girls so that everyone can comfortably shop and try things on. Remember that the unspoken rule about party planning is that no matter how many people you invite, only about 60% will accept and only 80% of those will actually show (annoying but true!) Plan accordingly.
- Clothing swaps require some preparation on the part of your guests since they need time through sort through their closets. Make sure you give them at least 3 weeks of advanced notice. If you know even earlier, send out a “Save the date” email so they can start mentally setting things aside.
- State the purpose of the party clearly on your invitations and note what time you’d like everyone to arrive. A clothing swap might be a new (or weird) concept to some so begin by explaining briefly what it is and what you’d like them to bring.
- I think it’s best to suggest a minimum number of items (say about 5) but to encourage them to bring as many as they’d like. You can also say things like “any season” or “spring/summer items only.”
- Be sure to also specify what is NOT ok (e.g. “Items should be clean and free of stains or tears. All seasons are OK, but no used bathing suits, socks, or lingerie, please.”)
- If you’re planning on serving food or if you would prefer people to bring something, state that on the invite. (e.g. “Lunch and champagne will be provided. All you need to bring is your clothing you’d like to swap!” or “I’m making guacamole and hummus; feel free to bring anything else you’d like to snack on!”)
The day after the party, the host takes the leftover clothing to a women's shelter or other charity for donation.