Host a Clothing Swap!
Two weeks ago along with our wine tasting I hosted a clothing exchange party at our home. I was a little nervous about how it all might work out but it ended up being so much fun! There are so many different ways you can host a clothing swap. I'm going to share the details about how we did it but as your reading just remember, there's no wrong way to do it!
The Guest List
The more the merrier! The more people you invite the more clothes you'll have which mean the more likely that you'll have a range of styles and body types. Seventeen ladies showed up for our party which was a great number. It can also be fun to have the ladies you invite bring a friend. That way you're meeting new people in a fun atmosphere and also branching out with clothing styles and sizes.
We sent invitations through Paperless Post which is a basically like Evite. In the invitation I laid out the guidelines for what to bring:
Any clothing in great condition. Washed, ironed and on a hanger.
Any shoes in great condition
Accessories- jewelry, scarves, bags etc.
Shoes and accessories are a good addition so ladies that don't have anyone that wears the same clothing size as them can still find something fun. We also asked guests to arrive prompty since it works better if everything is out before you begin.
With so many ladies invited we knew we'd need a lot of space. We had a table for jewelry, a table for shoes, 3 chairs to hang bags, scarves, belt and three clothing racks. Additionally we had two full body mirrors. One mirror was set up in the main room and another was set up in an extra bedroom where people could try things on with a little more privacy. The clothing racks were definitely the most difficult part since that's not something we just had lying around. We were able to borrow one rack and then we made extra racks out of random rods and equipment from my husbands work. Get creative. If you have access to more tables you could have everything out on tables as well, but hanging was really nice. We organized by size from smallest to largest on the racks so you didn't have to waste time looking through everything.
Since we had a bigger group we had the group split in two and shop in 10 minute rounds. I think it'll be easiest if I lay it out in bullet points, if you have detailed questions just comment below.
1. Group A - shop for 10 minutes and pick up to 5 things
2. Group B - shop for 10 minutes and pick up to 6 things
3. Take a 30 minute break to try-on and put back what you don't like.
4. Group C- shop for 15 minutes and pick up to 5 things
5. Group D - shop for 15 minutes and pick up to 6 things
We organized groups two different ways. For the first round we included anyone who'd brought over 20 pieces. Surprisingly it worked out nicely that it was about half the group. I think this was fair to everyone because we all benefit from others bringing a ton of stuff and it just made sense that they should have dibs. Then group B went.
The break was a good chance for everyone to really decide if they were gonna like the things they'd grabbed. A clothing swap is a great way to take a risk and try something new but in the end some girls realized a few pieces they'd initially grabbed just weren't a good fit. By placing things back, it gave everyone another opportunity during the second round to grab something that hadn't been a good fit for someone else.
After the break for the second round we made new groups. Group C were those with the closest birthdays to the date. I liked changing it up because you got to shop with different people than you did in the first round.
My sister brought a record player for music which was really fun. You need music. Don't skip on that part! We had our party at dinner time so we provided a little bit more of a substantial meal but you could totally host a swap and do a simple dessert. The wine tasting really was a nice addition. I enjoyed watching the ladies in the other groups help other girls shop. It was like shopping with your best friends but not having to worry at all about how much things cost! We bought some extra hangers that came in handy. It also might have been helpful to have some bags that girls could have placed their clothes in while they were shopping. You could ask everyone to bring a reusable shopping bag or give them out as party favors.
At the end everyone was allowed to grab any other pieces they felt they'd like. Most girls were done after two rounds but some girls kept going and totally scored a new wardrobe. With my group of friends it was really easy going because no one took advantage of the set-up. If you were planning a party with ladies you didn't know you could do a 1 for 1 swap. Roughly following the same idea but only allowing them to take as many pieces as they brought. Personally, I liked how someone could come to this party with five pieces and leave with ten. We are all at such different places in our lives with different resources and this is an easy, fun way to meet one anothers needs. I found this experience to be a really fun, uplifting and encouraging celebration of the things that make us unique.
As girls left they were invited to take home any pieces they'd brought or to leave them to be donated. Our friend Hannah took the leftover clothes to a local shelter in our community that recently burned down. It was neat to know that a whole new group of women would get the clothes and experience the same kind of fun all of us had that evening.
So what do you think? Does a clothing exchange sound fun to you? If you try it out please let us know and send us photos! Also if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask in the comment section below.