You’ve been invited to a fancy occasion for the first time in years. When faced with an entire closet of options, you realize that you hate every piece of clothing you own. How is it possible that you ever liked that shirt or fit into those pants? You wish there was a way to refresh your wardrobe without spending a fortune. And you imagine that there are women who would want that beautiful skirt that still has the tags on.
I had this exact experience not long ago. And though it didn’t solve my immediate need for a dressy outfit, I had a vision, standing before my unsatisfying frocks. I should host a fashion swap party! It was a genius plan.
There was only one issue… I’d never held one before. Where would I even begin? I learned a lot while planning my own stylistic soiree, so read on to learn from my trials and triumphs so you can host your own swanky swap!
Fashion Swap Party with Friends
In its simplest form, a fashion swap party is a gathering of people who are interested in offering some of their clothing or accessories in exchange for those that others are sharing. For the purposes of this article, we are assuming that everyone in attendance is interested in trading women’s fashion.
But unlike a traditional party, it’s not enough to just invite your besties to a swap party! When hosting a swap, you’ll want to consider several factors including:
- The sizes and shapes of your guests – Putting that extra thought into inviting a wide range of women will ensure that everyone has an opportunity to exchange for something they’ll love. If all of your friends happen to be the same size, great! But it’s likely that won’t be the case so please take the time to diversify your guest list to make sure everyone has a good time.
- The style of those invited – Again, if all of those in attendance share a similar fashion aesthetic, that might make for an easy swap however, it might not be very exciting. Consider inviting women who show their style in different ways. Doing so might allow your guests to try something they’d never be brave enough to buy from a store.
- An alternative idea- If you’re finding it difficult to put together a size-diverse guest list, consider hosting an accessory swap, where attendees bring shoes, jewelry, scarves, sunglasses, belts, and bags instead of clothing.
The Rules of the Runway
A party that involves rules? Sounds like a recipe for a bummer time. But when you host a fashion swap party, it’s crucial that you set some ground rules ahead of time to ensure that no one leaves feeling embarrassed or short-changed.
- Set a number of pieces to be brought by each person. If you don’t establish a recommended number of items ahead of time, you may end up with guests who bring 20 pieces and others who bring 3. There’s no shame in bringing either but it’s all about setting expectations. You don’t want a guest who brought tons of items to feel that she was duped into giving away half of her wardrobe while leaving with one thing. Asking guests to bring 5-10 items will keep things equitable.
- Limit the number of high-end items they bring to the swap. Though some may truly want to gift others without regard to what the original retail price, your guest list may include those who can’t afford to participate in that way. Setting a limit of bringing one or two pricy pieces will help keep things harmonious.
- Consider what you’re not interested in swapping. This may include undergarments, exercise gear, and maternity clothes. And though it may go without saying, it’s better to require that swapped items be freshly laundered and in the kind of condition you’d share with your best friend.
Haute Couture at Home
- Set the scene– If you have the space, consider setting up your fashion swap party boutique-style. Separate blouses, dresses and pants from the jewelry and shoes. Use hangers and fold items. Putting the extra effort into your setup will create a more luxurious experience for your guests.
- Create ambiance – It’s so much more soothing to shop to music so create a fun playlist for your shop. Offer as many dressing rooms as possible and provide at least one full-length mirror.
- Make it fun! – Guests may enjoy playing fashion trivia with prizes like gift cards to local shops. You might consider asking everyone to rock their favorite swapped piece for a confidence-boosting fashion show.
If you’re looking to add a special touch to your fashion swap party, an indulgence such as a chair massage or the fun of a tarot card reader would definitely leave an impression. Lastly, make sure you provide drinks and delicious snacks… but I recommend doing this after the swap to avoid any spills or stains!
- Pay it Forward – Your party will no doubt be a massive hit and fun for all. But you’ve also done something amazing for the environment by giving these items a second life.
- Keep the good vibes going- identify a charity where you will donate any remaining pieces. A great option might be an organization that provides women with clothing for job interviews. Make sure to give your guests a heads up before bagging anything up, in case they’d like to take their items back home.
Take a Bow
Whew… and that’s it! No seriously, it might seem like a lot of work but at its core, a fashion swap party is truly a gathering of friends, sharing fashion, food, and fun. Whether you choose to follow any or all of my suggestions, your event is sure to be one that your friends look forward to every year when spring cleaning time rolls around!