How to Organise a Clothes Swap


Getting Started

A clothes swap, clothes swapping, or ‘swishing’ is the next best thing to a shopping spree – in fact, it’s even better because it doesn’t damage your bank balance and it’s much more ethical! So get your girls together and organise a guilt-free swishing night for your next social event.

Swishing is the perfect opportunity to get rid of those clothes you’re never going to wear again, grab yourself some gorgeous new garments, enjoy a night with friends, and possibly even raise some much-needed cash for a charitable cause. Here’s how it works.

Choose a venue and invite your friends

Decide on how many people you’re going to invite. Of course the more people you invite the more clothes everyone will have to choose from. Accordingly, you could open it up to friends of friends too, but don’t worry if you want to keep it small – it can still work with just a few of you.

What should I bring?

The focus is on quality garments – not quantity. Dig around in your wardrobe for one or two pieces that are still in good condition. Remember, one woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure, but we don’t want any missing buttons or broken zippers. Everything should be clean and in good condition.

Decide if you want to open the swap up to shoes and accessories too (we all have that one friend with too many pairs of shoes). Then ask everyone to bring a small number of pieces that they’re happy to part with so you’ll have plenty of ‘stock’ for your swap. You might even want people to drop their items off before the event so you can sort them out first, especially if you’re expecting a large group.

Set some rules

Decide if you’re going to charge an entry fee to the swap. If you’re working on a budget and you’re going to provide wine and nibbles, an entry fee can be a good way to get everyone to pitch in. Or, you can use it as an opportunity to raise money for charity.

How your swap works will depend on the number of people attending. After all, you don’t want any fights over that cute dress that everyone likes! If there’s a lot of you, you might want to put a ticket system in place. You could grade the clothes on a colour-coded system – so a designer jacket would be red and a high street vest would be green. Each colour is then worth a certain number of ‘tickets’, which you issue when people drop off their items. So if someone brings a designer dress worth 5 tickets, they get 5 tickets to spend. They might use that on 1 designer dress, or 5 one-ticket items, and so on. You could even sell extra tickets.

Alternatively if there’s just a few of you or you don’t want to over-complicate it you could just get everyone in and go for it! Just make sure swish etiquette is followed so everyone gets a chance to try on the items they like. You could always have the guests vote on who gets to keep popular items too.

Set a mirror up in the room

Make sure you’ve got some changing space where people can try on the clothes – you don’t want anyone going home with items they’re never going to wear. The whole point of the swap is to get rid of those. Have a mirror set up so people can see how they look and then let the fun begin!

Once the swap is over and everyone’s got some gorgeous new garments, give them all the option to take back their unclaimed items or donate them to the local charity shop. If everything goes well, you might want to make a clothes swap a regular social event, or even host one at work with a different group. It’s a great way to update your wardrobe and support a good cause too!

Have you ever hosted a clothes swap? We’d love to hear your top tips in the comments below.



About the Author

Sian is a love of travel, fashion and all things ethical. She is one of the founders of Little Lotus Boutique, supporting artisans and championing handmade, ethical garments from across the globe. She lives and blogs in the UK but rarely sits still and can often be found with a backpack on exploring a different corner of the world!

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