For the fashion-conscience, looking great in flattering clothes can be an expensive habit. What’s a fashionista to do? Consider holding a clothing swap.
In the swap, the hostess invites as many family and friends as she wants to bring clothes, accessories, coats, and shoes they no longer want. Instead of shopping at home, participants “shop” their friends’ clothes and come home with a new handbag or dress without stepping foot in a mall.
Where can you find a clothing exchange in the Chicagoland area? Your best bet might be to look on Meetup.com or your house of worship. If none are planned for your area, consider organizing your own clothing swap.
To get started, consider how many people you want to invite, and if you want your guests to be encouraged to invite others as well. You might also want to consider opening the swap to the community by holding it in a public spot, like a library’s meeting room.
Invite a mix of guests from many backgrounds to ensure a variety of clothing. For instance, try to invite equal numbers of both those who wear casual clothing and those who wear conservative traditional attire. Don’t forget about specialty wardrobe items, including maternity clothes and couture. The following tips are other points to consider.
- Encourage guests to drop off their clothing at your home ahead of time. This preparation allows you to set up before the event begins.
- Make a rule that only clothing in good condition will be swapped. You don’t want guests to have to pick through clothes with holes, stains, or missing details.
- Decide how many items a guest can take from the swap. Can someone take five items, 10 items, or an unlimited number?
- Serve light snacks and beverages.
- Consider limiting the scope of the swap. Do you want to only have clothes available for the upcoming season? You can also limit it to categories, such as clothing for children or maternity gear.
- If possible, have full-length mirrors on hand and small changing rooms for guests to try on a particular item.
- Use card tables to display small items, like jewelry, and full-length tables to display sweaters, shirts, and accessories. Rent a clothing rack from a party rental store to display pants, suits, dresses, and skirts. Display shoes on a plain picnic blanket or sheet.
- Keep bags on hand so swappers can take home their finds.
- Consider having a donation jar on hand, with all proceeds to benefit a local charity. The Chicago Tribune also recommends donating leftover clothes and shoes to a women’s shelter.