How to Host a Clothing and Accessories Swap

Planning a Clothing Swap

Now it's time to plan the event. Draft a guest list, and include as many of your close friends and family members as you like. Invite people of all different shapes and sizes, and try to make sure everyone has at least one other person in attendance they can swap clothes with. It'd be pretty uncomfortable for some people if their sizes aren't represented well at the party. Usually the person who initiates the swap will host the swap at their home, but if the guest list exceeds the size of your living room, you may want to consider renting a larger space for the afternoon or holding two separate, smaller events.

Once you have the guest list, venue, date and time decided, send out invitations. It’s always nice to get a paper invite through the mail, but if you want to save money (which is partly what any clothing swap is about in the first place), send a note electronically using an online service like Evite or Paperless Post. Word the invitation carefully so your guests know what to bring. Your friend who donates a pair of brand new stilettos to the swap will be pretty upset if everyone else arrives with obviously used clothing, so it’s important for all guests to only bring pieces that are in excellent condition. Let everyone know how many items of clothing and accessories each swapper should bring to the event, and specify if vintage pieces are being accepted.

On the day of the clothing swap, gather everyone together and explain the rules. You can always pile the clothes in the middle of the room, blow the whistle and let everyone have a free-for-all, but what happens when your sister and best friend start playing a not-so-friendly game of tug-of-war with a cashmere sweater? To prevent awkward (or destructive) situations from happening at your party, have guests draw numbers out of a hat for a fair swap. Start with the guest who draws number one, and continue through the list of numbers until everyone has a turn. If you have enough clothing to go through a second round, start from the opposite end of the list of numbers and rotate like this until the last piece of clothing is snatched up. Give each person honest feedback on how their chosen garment fits, and encourage every guest to take an impromptu strut down the catwalk -- or hallway, depending on how you look at it.