How to run a Clothes Swap

Instead of getting gloomy about the current economic climate, use it as a chance to get creative instead. Refresh your wardrobe by doing as women did during WWII when clothing restrictions were enforced, host a Clothes Swap party. You’ll be surprised at how well you can revamp your old style.

clothing_swapWhat is a Clothes Swap?

A Clothes Swap is a chance to get rid of old clothes, collect some new (pre-loved) treasures, drink some bubbles, have a gossip and make new friends. It also happens to be a fantastic way of adding something new to your wardrobe without spending a penny.

So how does it work?
There are a couple of ways a Clothes Swap can work:

1. Try to think of it as a market place for just you and your friends. Everybody lays out the clothes they want to swap in separate areas and if you spot something you fancy then you bargain for a swap. It helps to be flexible, for example if what you are swapping is of a higher value than what they other person has to offer then perhaps consider swapping it for two items.

Occasionally you might find yourself with something too precious to swap for anything else in which case you could consider selling it to somebody, but generally the idea is to keep money out of the game.

2. The other way of doing a Clothes Swap is to lay all the clothes out in three separate piles depending on their value, then everybody takes turns at choosing something from a table until everything is gone. Whatever is left over at the end of the day can be donated to a charity.

Personally though I prefer the first method.

Are there any rules?

Yes I’m afraid a few rules are necessary for this party.

– Everybody attending the party MUST bring some clothes to swap. The more there are, the more fun it’s going to be.

– The garments must be of good quality – nobody wants some stretched out, moth eaten cardigan you found on your wardrobe floor!

– Make sure the clothes you are bringing are clean.

– Be sure that you are really ready to let go of what you bring to swap, as there’s no changing your mind once it’s out on display.

I want to host a Clothes Swap, what do I need to do?

Great! It will require a little bit of effort on your behalf but the main thing is to be well prepared.

1. Make some invites! This is a party after all so make sure that you let people know when/ where/ what as early as possible. I would suggest inviting no less than 5 people otherwise your swapping selection becomes a little sparse.

2. Decide whether you want to have a themed swap or not. My favourite is of course a vintage one where the only clothes you can bring are either vintage or vintage inspired, but you can choose anything from a particular season, to a certain trend, or leave the theme open.

3. Make sure you have a big, reasonably empty space (a living room with the furniture pushed to the walls usually does the trick) to host the party in.

4. You want people to be able to display their clothes so if possible provide clothes hangers and even portable clothing racks.

5. Provide a changing room (a bathroom or bedroom will do), and of course be sure to have some full-length mirrors handy.

6. Organise some music; matching the music up with the theme of the party is always a great way to get people in the mood.

7. Don’t forget the drinks and nibbles! Bubbles, wine, tea or coffee go down a treat, and some finger food is always much appreciated during a hard afternoon of playing dress ups (just stay clear of anything too messy, you don’t want it getting on the clothes).

8. Relax and have fun. As long as everybody understands how things work, your party will be a roaring success!

I want to swap outside of my circle of friends.

If you’ve out grown your local Clothes Swaps and want a greater variety then consider going global. There are plenty of online Clothes Swap sites popping up these days, some of them however can be a little dodgy so try to stick with the main ones.

By Malayka Yoseph

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