Nothing to Wear? Grab Your Girls and Host a Clothing Swap Party

If you often complain about having nothing to wear and you're looking to get out and make new friends, you should join or host a clothing swap.


Apr. 12 2023, Published 10:59 a.m. ET

Women shopping
Source: Getty Images

Do you often stare blankly into your closet, thinking about how you have nothing to wear? If you’re like most of us, you’ve got dozens of hangers with used, barely worn, or never worn items that you should sell, but you don’t have the time or patience to list and sell the items online.

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Well, if you’re looking to make new friends, refresh your wardrobe, and you’re passionate about sustainable fashion, you might want to host a clothing swap party.

So, what is a clothing swap and how can you swap your wardrobe for something new to you? Keep reading for all the details.

What is a clothing swap party?

Women shopping for clothes
Source: Getty Images

If you’ve ever “shopped” your bestie’s closet or love thrifting, you know the thrill of the hunt and the joy of the find. If you host a clothing swap, you’re getting people together to exchange clothing they don't wear for something from someone else’s closet.

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Are you familiar with clothing and accessories rentals like Rent the Runway? With a subscription, you can swap out pieces from a revolving wardrobe for something new-to-you, but what if the clothes don’t fit or arrive damaged or dirty?

With a clothing swap party, you have the option of trying on and examining the pieces in person, before you make a final decision.

How does a clothing swap work?

Are you thinking about hosting a clothing swap? Here’s how to get started.

Location: Would you prefer a small gathering or a large event? For your first swap, consider inviting 10 friends or colleagues and host it somewhere intimate like your living room or basement. Be sure to have a full-length mirror handy and a place to try on clothes.

Guest list: Once you choose a location, send invitations to your favorite people via an invitation platform like Evite or send a handwritten card.

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Make it fun: No gathering is complete without music, games, entertainment, a little bubbly, and maybe a yoga session.

The items: To keep it fair, ask your guests to bring a minimum or maximum number of pieces to participate, and tell them to make sure the items are in good shape and clean.

The rules: Plan and organize your swap and establish guidelines to make sure it runs smoothly and no one misses out. As guests arrive, explain how it works and have them put their items in designated areas.

Designer quality: While you may come to the swap with Rag & Bone, others may show up with Old Navy. Don’t compare labels and just be happy to have the opportunity to give away items that no longer fit your life. Find a way to make it fair and ensure everyone goes home with the same number of pieces.

Donate the rest: Once your swap is over, you could donate the leftover pieces to a nonprofit, Goodwill, or Salvation Army.

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Why should you host a clothing swap party?

women trying on clothing
Source: Getty Images

Women trying on clothing

A clothing swap is a great way to join the circular fashion movement and free up space in your closet, but it’s also an excuse to see your friends and make new ones too.

Plus, you can help each other explore new styles, fits, colors, and designers, and offer styling advice too.

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Here are some clothing swap pro tips to consider.

Looking to clean out your closet, refresh your wardrobe, and make new friends? Here are some tips to ensure your clothing swap is a success.

Create name tags: Give everyone a name tag so your attendees can make new friends and feel comfortable.

Use icebreakers: Icebreakers are an excuse to start a conversation. The first round of icebreakers should include someone’s name, where they work, and what they do for fun. The second round is for showing off finds and sharing what they’re looking for next.

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Purchase or rent supplies: You’ll need collapsible garment racks, hangers, or display tables so you can easily hang or lay out clothing and accessories.

You may also want to purchase snacks, drinks, wine, napkins, name tags, trash bags, Sharpies, and cups.

Create an agenda: An example swap party brunch agenda may look something like this:

  • 12:00 p.m. – Welcome, name tags, and begin browsing
  • 12:30 p.m. – Round of icebreakers
  • 12:45 p.m. – Hostess makes an announcement
  • 12:50 p.m. – Browse and network
  • 1:15 p.m. – Group photo
  • 1:30 p.m. – Second icebreaker to show off your finds
  • 1:40 p.m. – Mingle and browse more items
  • 2:00 p.m. – Announcement of final browsing
  • 2:30 p.m. – The swap party ends
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