Teacher Style: Clothing Swap!
Now that you’ve created your Pinterest board of style, shopped your closet and purged clothes you no longer want, it’s time to refresh your wardrobe! There will inevitably be outfits on your Pinterest board that you want to make, and you may be inspired enough to want to try your hand at creating your own unique outfits!
One way to obtain fresh new clothing pieces without spending a dime is to host a clothing swap. This is one of my favorite types of social events!
A clothing swap consists of friends getting together, putting out all the clothes they no want/wear and then ‘shopping’ from the collection of items for free. It’s super simple, but does take some organization to pull off.
You are firstly going to want to invite your friends. I am a huge proponent of using Eventbrite for online invitations. Set up an event page and e-mail invites to all your lady friends with the date, time and details. Here is an example invite that I created for my friends earlier this summer.
Once the invite is out, you need to plan the event timeline/set-up. A typical schedule looks like this:
First hour: Guests arrive and give you their bags of clothing/accessories. You (and a helper or two) put them out in the designated areas. You will want to have some light food and drink for your guests to keep busy with as the clothing is put out.
Second hour: Guests ‘shop’ from the clothing that has been put out. You will want to make sure there is a changing room for trying pieces on, as well as a full-length mirror.
When I host the events, I think of all the different types of clothing: Tops, Pants, Skirts, Dresses, Coats/Jackets, Shoes, Accessories, etc. and then have a place for each of these items. I then make signs for the categories and place the signs out so the guests know where to go to find exactly what they are looking for.
You will need to decide if you want to lay clothes out on tables, hang them on garment racks or drape them over furniture. Also make sure there is a large enough walkway around the clothing areas-bottlenecks at clothing swaps are really frustrating.
Take the bags of clothing from guests as they arrive, direct them to the socializing area, and then put the clothing out as quickly, yet neatly, as possible. Helpers are great for this. It’s important to keep the ladies away from the clothing area while you set-up the clothing, as they will naturally want to start ‘shopping’, and that’s not fair to the other ladies. Everyone should start at the same time.
Once you’ve laid all the items out, gather the group around you and give them the instructions. Only positive thoughts and emotions-compliment each other on good finds, give honest, yet kind, feedback if asked. No pushing or grabbing. Do not take your shoes off to try on other shoes and leave your shoes laying out-someone will think they are up for grabs. Don’t go through other ladies’ bags of finds.
Then, let your friends loose-and yourself! I have a large dry cleaning bag I bring to swaps-it has a strap I can put over my shoulder and I can easily stick my finds in it. You might also want to have a photo booth set up where ladies can take pictures with their favorite items!
Once the swap is over, you will most likely be left with a lot of clothes. One swap I hosted had 16 bags of clothing left!! Encourage everyone to take as much as they think they want, and then donate the rest to a women’s shelter or similar charity.
Hopefully you get some really cute finds from your swap! This is a rack of the finds from my most recent event:
Several really great pieces, and they didn’t cost me a dime! Good luck, and let us know in the comments if you have one and how it went!
*The images in this post were taken at a clothing swap I organized as a St. Jude Fundraiser. Stars have been placed over faces to protect the ladies there, as they had no idea I would feature them in a blog post years later. I had over 40 ladies attend and raised $500 for St. Jude. My other swaps have been held in my house or on my patio and have been free of charge, but of course I can’t find my pictures of those anywhere. 😉