March 17, 2008

swap style

Ever since college, a group of our friends has been getting together a few times a year for a clothes swap. I love the clothes swap, particularly now that I'm not buying anything new (thank you, Wardrobe Refashion!). This time I came home with a great haul: several tops to wear to work, a great skirt, some short pants for spring, an orange vintage crocheted blouse, and some great socks for making sock monsters. And nothing beats the price: free!

If you've never been to a clothes swap and you'd like to try cooking one up with some friends, here's what you'll need to do it:


Space. We've always had the clothes swap at someone's house, though lately it's gotten quite large and we had to move it to a bigger venue (in this case the performance space at a wonderful music shop in downtown Raleigh). As long as you've got a main area for laying out clothes, and two spaces for dressing rooms (one for fellas, one for ladies), you'll be all set.


Clothes. The price of admission is at least one clean garment in good condition. I usually have a shopping bag or two; some folks come with just one item and some come with huge bags full. At a clothing swap last fall, I scored a beautiful black crepe suit made for a friend's great-aunt in Paris in the 1950's.

swap6 swap5

A cooperative spirit. This is not a competition, it's a free fashion night. The most successful swappers hunt in teams. If you dig up the perfect skirt for your friend, toss it to her. She'll do the same for you.

cats and catnip are optional at most clothes swaps

Basic rules. This is the least fun part, so I prefer to minimize rules, but suit yourself. The way we do it is, start at 7PM. Lay out the clothes by type (pants, skirts, jackets together, etc). We never used to segregate clothing by gender, but as this thing has grown quite huge, it's starting to seem like a good idea. Don't start swapping until it's time... time is around 7:30. Keep swapping until your appointed time, say 9 PM. No limits on how much you can take - just as long as you actually plan to use/wear it. Then everyone helps bag up what's leftover to take to the thrift shop.

Snacks. Not required, but highly recommended. We do it potluck-style, and the fare ususally consists of chips, salsa and some beers. The quantity of beer usually correlates directly to the zaniness of outfits that people start modeling as the evening goes on.

swap7 swap8

Clothes swapping is a lot of fun and very economical. It's also a delight to see your old favorite clothes getting a second (or third, or fourth) time around on your favorite people.


shash said...

those last two photos are fun. been meaning to do one of these!

mikawendy said...

I love the "ground rules" for the swap--guaranteed to make it more fun for all. My cousin does swaps on a semi-regular basis (and she's found some fabulous stuff). All of her girlfriends have the rule that if anyone compliments them on a garment gotten from a swap, they have to say it was from the swap (gets new people interested in joining).

green phoenix said...

Hi, only came across your blog the other day but will be a regular read from now on.Have just discovered, an idea that seems close to your heart.Making large ish quantities of bags out of old sheets etc [collectively] then distributing them at supermarkets- free!You can add morsbag labels so they look quite groovy- obviously depending onn your taste in bed linen!
Sorry if you already know of it but it's a cool idea.

Best wishes,


tushina said...

A faithful chapel hill, NC reader here - love the blog!!

Wendee said...

My MIL just brought me a bag of clothes she scooped up at "naked lady" party. Vintage tops, vintage dresses. All sorts of thing... that FIT! I am in heaven. It is good.

espionage said...

My friends and I do this quarterly! We have already done two which we called "From Blah to Ta-Dah" and "Spring Bling". Love Love LOVE that others are doing it too!

Helen Cuthbert said...

This is such a great idea would love to try this with a group of friends sometime!! Thanks!!

veronica ibanes said...

Hello how are you? I just wanted to invite you to my first Clothing Swap Party event. It's March 16 @ 7pm at The Union (downtown Raleigh Depot). I saw you had written about one so it might be up your alley ;)

Here's the intro and details :

What is it?

Swap - Don’t Shop clothing swap parties and meetup: A fun and frugal way to revamp your wardrobe.

The purpose of the clothing swap party meetup is to bring all of the unwanted clothing, shoes and accessories taking up space in your closet and drawers, and leave with bags of wonderful new styles and wardrobe favorites!

So it's not only green, fun and stylish but also good for the community. All the non-wanted items left at the end will be donated to local charities.

So let's start cleaning our closets and get ready to have fun!

It's finally here! This is the swap you have all been waiting for! It is our first Triangle Clothing Swap Party!

Come and join us in swapping women's clothes at The Union (in the Raleigh Depot area downtown). Bring in all your clothes that no longer fit or you no longer wear. Please make sure they are in great condition, no stained, ripped or stretched out items. Also accepatable are shoes, jewelry, bags, belts, scarves, etc.....

Swap the items you bring in for new to you clothes and accesories. While you are at it you can have a drink using your drink ticket, make new friends and just have a nice time.

Hope to see you there!!

Things to remember ---- The early bird gets the worm so be on time! No swap is equal, you may bring in many items and end up with a few or you may come with a little and leave with a lot. It is all up to you.

Please RSVP as soon as you can! See you all there!~ and Happy Swapping!!!


When: Wednesday, March 16 @ 7pm

Where: The Union, 327 West Davie St. #114 Raleigh, NC

Price: Price: $5.00 per person (It includes a drink ticket)