A lot of things have fallen by the wayside since entering the world of Motherhood. I have no idea what songs are in, what shows are on…and I certainly don’t have time or money to keep up with every random fashion. Generally, I’m fine with these things. I knew what I signed up for. But every once in a while, a girl looks in her closet, and just wishes for some new clothes. Can I get an “amen”? Enter: The Style Swap.
I didn’t invent the clothing swap, obviously…I just like to think I perfected it. 🙂 Kidding. But my friends and I have had two so far, and it has been so popular that I’m sure it’s an annual tradition. Our last swap had over 20 attendants, and everyone took home tons of “new” clothes!
Here’s how we did it:
- Pick a good time. We’ve done the spring and fall, and I think those are great times for a style swap. People start itching for some fresh outfits at the change of the seasons. I like to send out a “save the date” and an invite (both online, obviously) so people know to hold onto anything good they can swap.
- Find a co-host. There’s a million reasons that cohosting a style swap is a good idea, but here’s my top 3. One, you don’t have to lug all the leftovers to Goodwill all by yourself. Two, chances are your friend has some different friends which means more styles and more sizes. Three, the more the merrier, is what I say!
- In your invitation, ask guests to drop off their clothing a week ahead of time. This will give you time to organize it and make sure there are no items with stain, holes, excessive wear, etc. before the swap. The first time I hosted, I didn’t do this, and it was difficult to organize it all during the style swap.
- Be considerate of varying body types. If you’ve got a friend who’s six feet tall, you may want to invite some other tall women. A pregnant friend? Round up some maternity clothes, etc.
- Set a limit on items. We suggested guests bring 5-10 items in good condition that they didn’t like or fit in anymore. You might want to outlaw underwear and panty hose if it grosses you out.
- Organize the clothes. This might take a while…I was so glad I had a helper! A few hours before the style swap, we hung, folded, and displayed the clothes in several rooms across her house. It was helpful to divide it by style, then size… (small pants, here, etc. etc.)
- Create a system for “shopping” once the swap begins. My friend had a great idea. Between the two of us, we rounded up 200 clothespins or so. (You can buy them cheaply at the dollar store, or ask guests to bring them.) As guests arrived, we wrote their initials on the clothespins. If a guest brought five items, she got five clothespins.
- Go shopping! If a girl liked an item, she put a pin on it. We allowed up to three people to “pin” the same item. Once an item had three clothespins, we took it out of commission to a separate room.
Towards the end we had a “lottery” for the most-wanted pieces. One of us would hold up the item, the other would draw a pin out of the hat. Whoever had their initials on the pin won that item!
- Supply food. Is it just me, or is it not a party if there’s not food? We asked a few friends for help, and my co-host and I made a few (like these Mostly Whole-Foods Appetizers).
- Divide up the clothes. Towards the end, my friend and I went through the clothes and put each girl’s items in a shopping bag. Yes, you could make your friends do this…but I think our guests really enjoyed just being able to grab their bags and head home!
- When the night ends, take the leftovers to Goodwill or a crisis pregnancy center.
Shopping for free? With friends? And food?? I know, I know…sounds too good to be true!
Have you ever attended a clothing swap? Did you enjoy it as much as I did?