A few weeks ago, I went to my third clothes swap.  It was fantastic.  This was the first clothes swap held at a friend’s home (the ones I went to before were of a larger scale, for example, one at a yoga studio, and the other one at school).  I was worried that because there were only a few of us there (6 girls), and we each had completely very different body types, AND didn’t really know each other, the clothes swap might be a bust.

However, I was pleasantly surprised, and came away with two great button up tops, a royal blue cowl neck long sleeved top, and a nice viscose dress (perfect for those weddings that seem to be cropping up everywhere).  I also got rid of this polka dot skirt that had been sitting in my closet for years (and someone actually thought it was adorable, and a few girls were “fighting” for it, surprisingly).  I got rid of a few other items of clothing too that I couldn’t sell at a second hand shop, but were in good condition.  One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.  Getting rid of junk not only is good feng shui (less clutter means better flow of energy), but you’ll feel good too staring at stuff you actually want to wear.

Everyone left the clothes swap very pleased with their new finds.  This feeling of euphoria that you get when you buy something nice for yourself lasts EVEN LONGER after you find something nice (FOR FREE!) at a clothes swap… trust me on this one.  I have a pair of capris I got from a clothes swap, and they are one of my favourite pairs of pants.  Essentials for the spring/summer season for me.

So without further delay, here’s how to organize a clothes swap.

I hope this post inspires you to get with your girlfriends and start swapping!

  1. Choose a place. If you’re planning to invite 20+ people (and 20+ people are going to come) you may want to pick a larger venue.  Some studios may allow you to use the space for free, especially if you plan to donate whatever hasn’t been picked up to a local charity.  It may be more intimate and interactive if you choose to have it in your home
  2. Invite your friends. Invite your friends, you can set up an “event” in facebook (ohh, how facebook has changed the way we run our day-to-day lives) and can estimate to see how many people are going to come.  You may want to pick a day of the week most people are free (Sunday evenings work well, or weekday evenings) and aren’t partying until the cows come home.  Open the clothes swap party to friends of friends (the more the merrier!).
  3. Set some Limits. First off, let your guests know what to expect- bring a few pieces, and whatever doesn’t get picked up will be donated.  I brought a few key pieces (even though I had a lot of stuff I wanted to get rid of) that I knew people would like or find unique.  I brought a pair of shoes, some bags, a few tops and some jeans.  There was a girl at the clothes swap who literally brought TWO LARGE GARBAGE BAGS of clothes.  Some of these clothes were really crummy and non-desirable, like souvenir T-shirts from Mexico (come on, who wants that?).  As she was showing them, everyone in the room squirmed in their seats.  Some of her clothes had holes in them (I’m serious!).
  4. Make some Food.  Pour some wine.  Set up a mirror in the room. Some nice appetizers and snacks are always appreciated.  Nothing like some food and friends.  White wine may be nice in case you’re worried about red wine splashing on the new-to-you clothes.  The mirror will be fought over, no doubt about it, but essential for a clothes swap in the home.
  5. Start the Swap. Introduce yourselves, introduce the items of clothing and any sentimental value you hold to them (one girl introduced some of her clothes as clothes that got her lucky LOL.  No, there were no stains on them LOL).  Set out the pile of clothes into dresses, shorts, pants, bags, shoes, tanktops/ tees, dressy clothes.
  6. Ensure Clothes Swap Etiquette is practised. If someone likes something, make sure no one else wants it before you hoard it add it to your stash.  Perhaps the rest of the girls can vote to see who can keep the item (which girl the item of clothing looks best on).  No cat fights!
  7. Ooh and Ahhh. Don’t underestimate the power of how clothing can fit differently on different body types.  It’s often surprising how something that doesn’t look good on you can look so great on someone else with a different body type.  The best thing about clothes swaps (especially small and intimate ones) is that you have an immediate audience, who can give you honest opinions about whether an item of clothing looks good on you or not.  Oftentimes, the opinion of a salesperson at the mall is biased (lol duhhh!).
  8. Clean Up and Donate. Clean up the swap.  For the clothing that hadn’t been chosen, you can either have the people who brought them take it back (perhaps the girl with the sentimental lucky clothing wanted to get lucky again?) or donate it to charity.

Clothes swaps are a win-win-win scenario and I love them.  Good for the environment, good for the closet, good for the soul, good for the budget, good for meeting new people and networking.  It thoroughly quenched my shopping thirst and I got honest feedback to boot.

Readers, have you ever attended a clothes swap?  What was it like for you?  Did you have any bad experiences where people brought some funny items of clothing?