Tuesday, August 18, 2009

How to Host a Fashion Swap Party

This week, football practice began in earnest and Momma Kitty is roasting on the field like a hot dog in a solar cooker at the 4H Fair! All of our summer house guests have gone on to their next destinations and school began last week. I still haven't settled into a routine, so I have decided to recycle this Feb 09 post from kitty:magazine for you to enjoy! Maybe you can bring it up at your next club or PTO meeting. I'm actually going to do it at home this fall with formal dresses so I can get my paws on something for a special Bar Mitzvah and a black tie coming up this winter! Meow!

Whether you’re working on reigning in your clothing budget, finally organizing your closet, or trying to save the environment by consuming less (or maybe you just have damn stylish friends and you’ve been oogling their cashmere for years), a fashion swap party is a perfect opportunity to get together to beat winter blahs and procure new cruise wear for Spring Break and summer vacations!

Why buy a new Bebe dress for your cousin’s wedding this spring when you can wear the one your BFF wore to her cousin’s reception last year? A fashion swap party is also a great way to trade maternity clothes and kids’ stuff that only gets worn once (like piano recital suits and pinchy shoes)!

  1. Organize: You’ll need everything you’d want for a little afternoon shin-dig food & drink-wise. You’ll also need a garment rack or two, hangers, table space and some full-length mirrors. You might want to get some changing screens as well. Ask guests to bring shopping bags, but be prepared to provide a few. Group guests’ items by type, rather than size.
  2. Decorate: This could really run the gamut from a full-on fashion show to no decorations at all. You'll see some ideas below this post.
  3. Invite: Of course you’ll invite your BFFs, but cast a wider net to include lots of people. Get some coworkers, neighbors and friends of friends. You’ll need to consider different body types. Try to provide enough guests for each size category equally, and suggest accessories and shoes as well. In other words, make sure each guest has something to trade for/someone to trade with. The larger the group, the better the swap.
  4. Recycle: All articles leftover at the end of the swap go to Goodwill. Driver gets the tax receipt. If you have leftover piles of textiles no one is going to ever wear (holes and baby spew stains) and you’re local to Indy, there are fabric recycling containers outside some Marsh supermarkets by the large recycling dumpsters. You can mail old athletic shoes to Nike (or drop them off at their retail stores, including outlets) and they will recycle them for you. Another great cause that will take your business suits is Dress for Success.
  5. Mandate: All clothing must be clean, without damages and truly up for grabs. No take-backs once an item has gone onto the rack. Settle disputes with rock-paper-scissors, or begin a bidding war with proceeds going to a predetermined charity.
Provide tickets for each guest. If a friend puts 5 things on the rack, give her 5 tickets. She can make 5 swaps. You might even consider allowing guests to purchase extra tickets or making some items worth more than others. For example, a guest shouldn't bring a pair of shorts and expect to swap for a Chanel bag evenly. I might even make a Golden Ticket for one lucky swapper to get a bonus swap or the power of taking a coveted item!
Host the swap as a fundraiser by charging admission, selling snacks & party favors, and allowing vendor booths for those who make or sell goods. Many people with home-based businesses like to set up at events. Swaps are a great idea for schools, girls’ teams & clubs, or for sorority community benefit projects!
Below, I have gathered some products you might be able to use, and captioned them accordingly. I would love to get feedback on the logistics of this event so I can make mine even more fabulous. Natch, my party will include a catwalk!

UPDATE: Elizabeth at Peacock feathers recently held a fashion party that necessitated changing rooms. Click here for photos from her fete!

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  1. Great idea -- it's odd but just about all my girlfriends here in Houston and I share the same shoe size (a 10) -- maybe because we're all fairly tall? That or maybe my generation just has bigger feet....ANYWAY, love the idea of a shoe swap or maybe an accessories swap.

  2. Averill: What a fun way to have a party at your new home! A shoe swap! Just whip it up in all that spare time you have floating around. If you ever do it, send me the pictures! xo kitty.

  3. Great idea for someone else, but nobody is getting near my closet-LOL...And I am not swapping shoes with anyone ever-yuck! My size 7 Manolas are very happy right where they are.

  4. SR2: LMAO! I would love, love, love to get inside your closet!

  5. hey Kitty...just wanted to stop by and say hi

  6. marinik: go glad you did! xo k.

  7. Beth: I love it!!! Watch this space for further developments!