Girls' Night In: Have fun, update your wardrobe with a clothing swap party
Clothing swap parties have become increasingly popular in these tough economic times, and according to a few local women, the parties are as easy and affordable as they are fun and fashionable.
Lauren Hodgson says she first heard of the parties through a friend and was interested in hosting one herself.
“I just thought it was great,” Hodgson says. “I didn’t have a lot of money to buy new clothes, and it was a good way to give away clothes that I’m tired of. Every time I’ve hosted one or been to one, it’s been really fun.”
In addition to finding some “new” clothes, Hodgson says clothing swap parties are a good opportunity to catch up on each other’s lives and share some appetizers and drinks. “We all talk and everyone brings a dish. There are usually some drinks, and it’s really a great social event.”
Hodgson has hosted three parties so far this year. About 10 to 12 women come over and she sets up her living room like a store. “We’ll put shirts in a pile, pants in a pile, and then there are areas for jewelry, purses and other items,” Hodgson says. “Then everyone gets a turn in the room.”
Having a smaller group usually means a better variety of clothing sizes, Hodgson says. “We usually agree not to make a big deal of it when you see one of your friends wearing the clothes she got at a party. But I think it’s neat to see it. Somebody gives it a new life.”
Some moms bring their preteen daughters to browse the clothing, and it becomes a fun mom and daughter outing.
There are many ways to spread the word about a clothing swap party. Hodgson has received invitations through e-mail, Facebook, phone calls and text messages.
Like Hodgson, Whitney Williams also has attended a few clothing swaps as well as hosted her own.
“I had one last year and had a pretty good turnout,” Williams says. “It’s a good way to get new stuff and give away your old items. Sometimes someone takes an item and brings it back for the next time around.”
Williams has seen everything from clothes to household items being exchanged. One of her friends even had a baby clothes swap party where moms could bring their used baby clothes and shoes to exchange.
“People have brought accessories and household items like kitchen supplies and decorations,” Williams says. “At several of the exchanges, there’s been new moms who are getting rid of their maternity clothes and there’s always someone who takes them. It’s fun to see them bring the clothes back once they’ve had their baby and pass it to the next friend who’s pregnant.”
For the remaining items that do not find a new home, Williams says nothing is thrown away. “We donate all the items that aren’t picked up by someone.”
Williams says the rules of her parties are simple. Everyone should bring clean clothes in good condition and not take more items then the person brings, making it a fair exchange. After that, people should take their time looking through the items and have fun. And on the off-chance that someone does not have items to exchange, they can still catch up with their girlfriends and have a cocktail.
“It’s a fun night and everyone goes home with something new to them,” Williams says. “It’s a win-win situation.”
Lemondrop.com offers these etiquette ‘commandments’ to ensure your next clothing swap party goes smoothly:
Thou shalt shop this swap like a regular store
Thou shalt return items to their original location
Thou shalt try on no more than 3 items at a time
Thou shalt respect all styles (these are the old clothes of attendees who may overhear comments)
Thou shalt take no more swap items than
Thou shalt encourage and applaud the style of swap partners
Thou shalt have fun!