A few years ago, during the early stages of the worldwide downturn in the global economy, a new trend emerged where women of various age ranges and demographics would get together and exchange clothes, accessories, shoes, coats and more. Swap parties were all the rage because they were a very easy way to get a new wardrobe of gently worn clothes for FREE! It’s a great place to get transition clothes too for new moms working on getting back down to their pre-pregnancy size.
I attended my second swap party this weekend after scoring BIG during my first one this past spring. Before attending, I went through my drawer, closets and storage containers and assembled a barrel of clothes and accessories I don’t wear any longer, don’t think will fit me or I haven’t been able to make work in my wardrobe fashion-wise. About a dozen of us met at a mutual friend’s home. We arranged clothes by season, style and garment. There was a pile of work pants, a pile of party tops, a clothes rack for dresses and coats, a section for shoes and handbags etc. Some items came with the price tags still attached. You know how women tend to purchase items and then never wear them ever and they just hang out in their closet for months or years?
It was great that all the women made sure to bring their top designer or high quality clothes and items that they managed to maintain in tip top condition. I saw Christian Dior saddle bags, Cole Haan boots, and a variety of other fab pieces I had my eye on and prayed would fit me and still be around during my turn to pick.
The way it works is we drew numbers and took turns going around the room and selected several pieces to try on and got to keep one item until the next round when we could get two items. The final rounds were a free for all. It was better than shopping at a consignment shop or a thrift store because even at those places you have to pay something, even if it is a steeply discounted something.
It made me happy to see others delight in my beloved garments. I didn’t but could’ve brought along all of my fab expensive maternity designer clothes that I purchased for my pregnancies for one particular mom-to-be who was nice enough to send all of her exquisite Kate Spades, Jimmy Choos and Nine West boots that she could no longer fit and decided would not wear after her feet got swollen during her last two pregnancies. Too bad no one could fit in her tiny size 5 1/2 -6 feet.
Boy did I clean up. I got:
- A tweed cropped jacket by Zara
- A suede trenchcoat by Guess
- A corduroy faux fur collar and cuff lined coatjacket by Zara
- A grey corduroy blazer by Tulle
- A black wool coat by Banana Republic
- A cream-colored pashmina
- A pair of purple fishnets
- A pair of mauve patent leather ballet shoes by MeToo
- A low back black and gold patterened peasant top by Guess
- A patterened minidress by BCBG Maxazria
- A pair of boot cut denim jeans by GAP
- Black running pants by Nike
- Brown pinstripe slacks by Banana Republic
- Plum colored cappe sleeve turtleneck by French Connection
- A silk blend brown and tan striped turtleneck by Banana Republic
- A handcrafted cloth hobo resort bag with wooden handle and accents
- A tomato colored button down chunky cardigan by Tulle
All for FREE!
The key is to get women in varying sizes with similar style aesthetic as you and from different social circles together. Keep it intimate so you’re not there forever waiting to go around. You’re bound to come home with a big bag of great new clothes and your husband won’t cringe over your shopping bill because there won’t be one!
I highly recommend swap parties to circles of friends who want a new wardrobe for 100% off! Guests can bring wine, desserts and drinks for the host and a good time can be had by all. You never can go wrong with free!