Clothing swaps are such a fun way to shop your BFF's closet cast-offs and have a great girls night at the same time! The basic premise is to ask your guests to bring a set quantity (usually around 5) of items to trade to refresh your own wardrobe and give new life to your less-worn items. Of course you don't want to send your friend home with your old lawn-mowing kicks or tarnished and torn sweaters so read on for some of my P&Q's to attending or hosting a clothing swap.
Want to Host a Clothing Swap?
1. Decide if you want a small or large party
While both are great for different reasons, its important to consider the diverse ranges of size of your friends. Usually with a larger party, you may want to cater to a variety of sizes where with a smaller group of people, you would want to stick within one or two sizes to allow for more successful trades. Its a great idea to include items like shoes and jewellery items to swap if you have a varied range of body sizes within your group.
2. Set a limit
Its best to ask guests to bring an exact number of items, that way everyone leaves with the same amount they brought. For the most part it works out to the same or less as sometimes there can be leftovers no-one wants which is a bummer so be sure read this for ideas on what to bring to a clothing swap. The host is usually in charge of collecting the leftovers at the end of the night and dropping them off at the local thrift store. I find its best to ask guests to bring only 5 items and ones they almost don't want to part with. With everyone being on the same page before coming it leads to a more successful swap and leaving everyone wanting to do it again in a couple weeks.
3. Plan to include a 'Happy Hour'
The best part of hosting a clothing swap with your friends is getting together and catching up. I suggest planning your event to have a 30-45 minute Happy Hour before the swap starts to allow friends to grab a drink, add their items to the collection and browse whats up for grabs.
4. Start on time
Everyone has those friends that come late to everything for whatever reason. Depending on the size of your swap will depend on how strict you want to be with this tip, but you don't want to postpone for too long. Sometimes a clothing swap can take more than a couple hours depending on how many people are there and items were brought that's why its nice to do a happy hour before, to allow for a late arrivals and everyone to settle in.
5. Brief guest on rules
While there are many ways to go about a swap, find the best that works for your guest while keeping in mind how many people are coming. If its a smaller group, everyone can draw numbers and then take turns picking their favourites by going in order. With a large group this can become much more cumbersome and time consuming. Another way would be to give everyone as many tags as items they brought to write their initials on. Guests can browse and attach their tags to the items they want and if there are multiple tags on an item, the group decides who takes it home.
6. Have amenities on hand
Set up a changing area or have a room in your house allocated to try items on. Be sure to have as many full length mirrors you have in your house buffed up and within easy access of your guest. Of course provide a round of wine or champagne to your guests as well as some yummy appetizers or finger food. Try to hold off on serving messy food throughout the swap if want to avoid spills and stains on the clothes.
7. It's all about the girl time
After everyone has swapped their items and is on to playing catch up, it a great time to offer appetizers and more wine. Enjoy time spent with new and old friends! Life can get away from us in a hurry, especially once kids and husbands get into the mix, so it's important to remember to take care of your friendships, and having fun nights like this make it a win-win for everyone.
Have a great clothing swap! If you have any questions or tips on your own experience, leave me comment below or shoot me and email here.