Invite a variety of different sized women with multiple body types. It is a good idea to have at least three women of a certain size to keep new clothing options available for everyone. No one wants to be the only girl in their size at a clothing swap, seriously, not good.
Choose an open cozy space in your home, or a friend's with enough room for 8- 12 people and their bags of clothes. Too small of a swap-and you will not have enough variety. Too big of a swap? I have never been to one, the more people- the more fun, as long as the space supports it.
Give everyone one to two weeks to clear out their closets and get together a bag of swap clothes. You may decide to do a survey to see what day and time most of your favorite girlfriends can make it.
Date, Time, Place RSVP are the old standards, but you will need to encourage friends to scour their closets for unworn garments, out grown styles, treasured accessories, and shoes they no longer use.
Especially if this concept is new to you or them, you may need to educate them on the process of clothes swapping; that idea of old is new again. Someone will look completely different and fabulous in that skirt you outgrew literally or figuratively.
There are different styles for setup... Some people make piles on the “clean” floor
I prefer using the dining room table, couches, and chairs. Most people will be up and in action searching for their new fashionable looks, and will not be wanting to sit down. Any surface where ladies can rummage through the clothes is game.
If you have pets you may want to encourage them to relax in another room to keep them from under foot. We hired the kids as our petsitters.
I highly recommend you create a fun, playful atmosphere where women can feel free to play and explore new looks! Clothes swaps can empower women to unleash their creativity and explore new color schemes.
It is just as much fun to find something for someone else at the swap; as it is for you to score some new duds. If you notice someone shy about digging in, find them something in the pile to encourage their experience. Excitement is contagious and as well it can get competitive as desirable shiny items get snapped up!
You may want to have an extra card table on hand, or a clothing rack if you are expecting some fancier digs from your girls ( that will be on hangers).
A full length mirror is always a good idea, for quick yes and no decision making.
Snacks, small bites, wine and spritzers are always appreciated and can make a great transition to an “after party." When everyone has excitedly found some new scores, you can clear off the couch and chairs for leisurely conversation.
Have a few garbage bags on hand for leftovers.
As an upcycle sewing artist and refashion designer I accept the leftovers for processing and harvesting of clothes for new designs.
The great part about the leftovers is that you can donate gently worn, seasonal clothes to a local shelter.
Call ahead to make sure they are currently accepting donations.
Our host Jen Lauzon remarked the only question she had was if she should wait for all the guests to arrive before allowing the “early birds” to dig in. She opted to let them dig in because a couple of ladies had time restraints.
The joy of clothes swapping is beyond measure! To take a bag of unwanted garments to a party and swap them out for new desirable clothes is like getting a makeover without the cost. Especially when you see friends appreciating that old Hat and Sarape you no longer needed.
Thanks Girls! Sew it Up, Stina