How To Throw A Swap Party

You know that friend whose wardrobe you covet? Well, chances are, there are others who want to raid your closet just as much. So, why not let everyone partake in one big gluttonous affair known as a swap party? Swap parties are best when they’re a laid-back, relaxed gathering, but there are a few things you can do to make everything go smoothly.

First, decide how many people you would like to invite. If you’re hosting all by your lonesome, you won’t want to overwhelm yourself with too many guests. If you and friend want to join forces, you can handle a few more women. Consider how many could fit comfortably in your space, whether it be at your home or another venue. There will be a lot of moving around, so you won’t want it to be too crowded. A good suggestion is to invite between 5 to 10 women, and then tell each one to bring a friend. That way, you will hopefully get a nice variety of people and you’ll end up with between 10 to 20 swappers.

  • Send out invitations. Besides the when, where, who, etc, let them know the minimum number of items they should bring and to bring items that are in good to excellent condition with no major repairs needed. Also, specify what types of items. I would suggest a minimum of 5 clothing items and then they are welcome to bring any additional clothing and accessories (bags, belts, shoes, etc) on top of that. If you want them to bring a friend, include that in the invitation, also.
  • Get organized. Before the women arrive, set up designated spots for each type of item – tops, jeans, skirts, belts, bags, etc. The more people you are expecting, the more organized you’ll want to be. Set mirrors up so people can try on and check themselves out. It’s also nice to have one or two changing rooms available for trying things on.
  • Swap! There are different ways to organize the actual swapping, but my preference is to have a free-for-all and let everyone start browsing as they arrive. If the items are well-divided in their categories, there shouldn’t be a problem with everyone diving in and looking through the piles. If you have a larger group of people, you may want to start them at different ends of the room to keep the crowding to a minimum.
  • Feed them. It’s a swap party, and parties must have food. Of course, any kind of finger foods are great, but you can go one step further and have a theme – a tea party with mini sandwiches and scones, a Mexican fiesta, a martini bar with tapas, an espresso bar with desserts, a wine and cheese party… the options are endless. If preparing a party’s worth of food seems overwhelming, you can also do a potluck and have each person bring finger food or dessert. Be sure to keep the food and drink in a separate area from the swapping to minimize spillage on the clothes.
  • Donate the leftovers. Take any leftover items to a local charity thrift store.

In the end, everyone will be thrilled to have a few new-to-her pieces to refresh her wardrobe, as well as a little more breathing room in her closet.

How to Host a Clothes Swapping Party

Well, if you feel the need for a fashion fix but can’t afford a shopping trip, then hosting a clothes swapping party for your friends is a great way of lifting your spirits whilst updating your wardrobe for free.

There are a number of key issues which you need to consider if you are going to host a clothes swapping party.

The logistics

Make sure your venue is suitable for the number of attendees. Make sure you have a fitting room area with long mirrors so your swappers can try on items they are interested in. Ensure you have sufficient clothes rails and hangers so all the items can be well displayed.

Rules of the party

Make clear on your invitations the cost of attending the party. It is important that you instruct your attendees to bring one or more items to the party. These items can be clothes, accessories or shoes. All clothing must be in good condition, clean, ironed and preferably on a hanger.

Swapping options

You need to decide whether you are asking everyone to “donate” all their items to the evening. In this instance, you would ask them to hand over their items upon arrival. One of your team will count the number of items and give them a voucher with the number written on it – they can choose up to that number of items from the rails later in the evening.

Or perhaps you prefer that prior to the party, everyone is sent pricing guidelines (eg: t-shirts £2, trousers £5 etc) and must mark up their items with the price and their name. Items are put onto the appropriately priced rail. Then later in the evening, the attendees can swap for items of the same value.

Selecting the best items

You also need to be careful when swapping clothes because as an item that might look fabulous on your friend may not suit you and vice versa. So to help you and your friends get the most out of your clothes swap, why not invite an Image Consultant , to your party. Not only will you get personalised style advice but you’ll also go home knowing that the clothes you’ve exchanged will be items that you’ll actually wear. So, you’ve instantly got yourself a new Autumn wardrobe!

Why is Clothes Swapping So Popular?

Lately the world seems to have gone clothes swapping mad. Just about every area now has regularly clothes swapping parties and events organised by various organisations, friends informally trade and swap their clothes and clothes swapping websites have become the new alternative to online shopping. So what is it about clothes swapping that is so exciting and why is it so popular?

The Environment

Recent publicity about the ethical and environmental impacts associated with the manufacture and disposal of clothing has made consumers much more aware of the environmental credentials of what they buy. Whilst many types of eco-fashion is more expensive than it’s conventional counterpart, clothes swapping is free, making it the ultimate in eco-fashion. Clothes swapping is a type of recycling so it reduces waste and the amount of textiles going into landfill each year. This is an important environmental consideration as many synthetic fibres will not break down so will remain a eco-system for ever. Even natural fibres produce methane as they break down which is a powerful green house gas. By refreshing and updating their wardrobe through swapping rather than buying new, swappers help to reduce other impacts such as the carbon emissions caused by clothing manufacture, pollution and pesticide use for cotton cultivation.

The Recession

The recent recession has caused everyone to think about their spending habits and most have had to adjust or cut their clothing budgets accordingly. The recession has caused many changes in fashion and trends including the fashion for quality, well made clothes instead of cheaply produced ‘fast fashion’. Clothes swapping is the best way to get quality well made clothes without spending lots of money. The recession has caused an overall change from a trend of consumerism and buying new clothes to one of looking individual on a budget.


Lindsey Lohan and Mischa Barton have both given their support to the Visa UK clothes swaps. Celebrity endorsement can cause such a lot of publicity. Lindsey commented “‘The idea of swapping clothes, getting something for nothing and refreshing your wardrobe appeals to everyone”. She also donated dress, two pairs of Jimmy Choos and a Miu Miu bag, this is definitely a big incentive for people to get swapping.

In conclusion, clothes swapping has become hugely popular due to a combination of factors including the environment, the recession and marketing campaign by various organisations. These factors are all interrelating and combine to form a backlash against the excessive consumerism that we have witnessed in recent years.