A group of friends and I hold clothes swap parties every few months. It’s a great way to clear all the stuff out of your wardrobe (and bookcase) that you don’t wear – I find that every time we have a clothes swap party, straight after it I get even more ruthless at getting rid of the things that don’t fit me quite right or that I never wear, leaving more space for the things I love. Yay!
We held a clothes swap party on Sunday, and I was lucky enough to score these three gorgeous things:
This cute wee number has been hand made by some unknown seamstress. It doesn’t fit me quite right, but since it’s a bit too big (as well as having the under bust seam in an odd place) I figure I can do something to rescue it. I just love the bright happy floral fabric. 🙂
This top used to belong to my friend Natalie. The black part is a knit fabric, so it’s super comfy to wear.
I love this dress – it’s so bright and happy, with it’s red and white stripes! The fabric is heavy enough that I’ll be able to wear it during winter with tights and boots as well. Yippie!
How to run a clothes swap party
Over the past few years, I’ve hosted and attended a lot of clothes swaps. Some have gone a lot better than others, and my friends and I have honed our clothes swap party methods to something that we think works really well. In case you want to try hosting a clothes swap party yourself (which I highly recommend – they’re heaps of fun!) here’s some tips that have worked for us:
- The more garments the merrier! As long as they’re in decent condition, anything should be fine – after all, just because you think it’s only good for the dress-up box, doesn’t mean it won’t be someones favourite garment of the day!
- Don’t worry about making sure the girls are all the same size – people often get rid of things that don’t fit them any more, and despite the wide ranges in sizes of the girls at the clothes swaps I’ve been to, everyone always goes away with at least one new thing they love.
- Don’t limit your self to clothes – shoes, accessories, books, DVD’s, kitchen equipment, etc – it’s all good to swap!
- It will take longer than you expect – trust me. Put aside a few hours to run a good clothes swap party.
- Break regularly for trying-on sessions and tea and cake. Tea and cake (or cocktails) are a must-have for clothes swaps, in my opinion. But then, they make every occasion better, don’t they?!
- The more mirrors you have, the better. Set up a couple of trying-on areas, with full length mirrors and decent lighting so people can see what things look like. Although most people just tell the others whether things look any good on them or not, so half the time garments don’t even get as far as the mirror.
- To make things fair, we use a token system for deciding who gets an item. Each item is held up in turn, and anyone who is interested puts their name (or in our case, their fabric-covered disc) into a bowl. The person who’s token is drawn out gets first chance at trying on the garment and keeping it if it fits them. If it doesn’t fit, it goes back in the pile and people get to draw for it again. (And of course, if only one person is interested, it’s theirs!) This means the shyer people don’t get left out of things – if you just make it a free-for-all grabbing session, usually the more extroverted people end up with everything and the shy ones get nothing, which kind of sucks.
- If you’ve got more than 8 girls, it can take a very very long time to go through everything. Separate out tops and bottoms, then break them into sizes. (The more girls you have, the more size ranges you’ll want to split them into. For example, if you’ve got 8-10 girls, just into small, medium and large will work. If you’ve got 15+ girls, you probably want to try extra small, small, medium, large and extra large groups.) Remember that girls are often different sizes top and bottom, so split into groups and do the tops first, then change groups to do the bottoms. Also, often people can be the in-between sizes, so it’s worth separating into groups for every second size, then splitting into different groups for the middle sizes. E.g. if you’ve got small, medium and large sizes, split into two groups to start with – small and large. Sort out those piles of garments, then come together again for the medium sized pile.
- Donate anything that’s left over to a good charity – the last feel good deed for the day. 🙂