I hosted my first clothing swap three or four years ago. Since I introduced the concept to many of my friends and now assist with a few swaps each year, I’ve become a bit of a local expert.
So, dear internet, I thought I’d share some of my incredible knowledge with you!
Step #1: Find someone to host.
Best-case-scenario, someone enjoys the last clothing swap so much that they volunteer to host one! I’ve found that they’re most successful every 4-6 months, or in transitional seasons.
Step #2: Invite people.
Keep it simple. Keep it light. Tell people what to bring.
Need an example?
Step #3: Have wine. And other delicious snacks.
At a successful swap, people will spend as much – or more – time mingling than trying on clothes, so set up one area to encourage such behavior.
Step #4: Organize the room.
Before anyone arrives, it’s a good idea to designate the following areas:
-tops (usually the largest section)
-Safe Zone, where people put their coats, shoes, and purses that are NOT up for swapping.
Step #5: Greet people and help them sort.
Once you’ve helped the first few guests through this process, they’ll often help new arrivals. Especially when they realize that sorting essentially gives them first dibs on new items!
Some of you might be wondering at this point whether we have any Rules For Swapping. I’ve heard of swaps that have an official starting time, that have an item limit, that tell you not to take more items than you brought, etc. You can make as many rules as you’d like, but remember that you’ll then spend the evening enforcing those rules. I prefer to have as few rules as possible.
Step #6: Encourage people to try things they wouldn’t usually try.
This is, in my opinion, one of the best reasons to swap – you usually take home items that you’d never have considered buying in the store, but which will expand the boundaries of your wardrobe. My first pair of skinny jeans came from a swap!
I also love when one item is passed around the room, from person to person, until we find someone who pulls it off the best. Usually this involves consulting the room on the best ways to layer and accessorize.
Step #7: Make new friends!
You might not believe this, but my strongest networking connections have come out of clothing swaps. Talking to someone about your shared love of sparkly cardigans is the best form of small talk.