Last night I went to my first swishing party – named a ‘Swap-a-rama’ which tickled my OH who liked to call it a swapping party!

What is a swishing party or clothes swapping party?

If you’re not familiar, a swishing party or event is basically a clothes swap party. You attend, taking along some clothes, and hopefully find clothes others have brought along, to take home yourself.

I’d fancied doing a swishing party at home with friends, but for a small one you need to have all people around the same dress size to make it work best. But this one was in aid of the local primary school. It was ticketed, with everyone able to take 10 items of women’s and 10 items of children’s clothing.  Then everyone’s let loose on the rails, and you can take away the same number of items as you bring along.

Clothes swapping to reduce waste

These parties are a great idea. Brilliant to declutter your wardrobe of those items you’ve bought and never worn, or will never get round to selling on auction sites. You get to donate to charity too, as leftover items get given to a charity (well, at the one I went to they did).

It was a fun evening, even though you can’t guarantee that you’ll find items that either fit or you like. Amusingly, my friends and I ended up basically taking each others clothes.  I thought it was great seeing people, whether I knew them or not, picking up my clothes I’d donated. Thinking that I could see them in the street turning up in my clothes!

I took a lot of items along (being someone who buys a lot of clothes and has changed sizes and taste quite a lot), but only came away with 1 jumper dress.  It was a bit disappointing in terms of there were a lot of items left which were a lot ‘older’ and frumpier than most of the people (average age of attendees were probably 30-40) would have ever touched, presumably brought along by the 2 or 3 much older people who’d turned up. But the larger the event, the more choice you’re going to have.

I’ll definitely be looking out for more events like this to go to.  It was great fun, and for a fiver a ticket, to come away with ‘free’ clothes for that price (plus a glass of wine), it’s pretty good!

Tips for holding a clothes swapping party

If having one at home

  • invite people who’re are across a similar size range.
  • Include accessories – this means people may still find items to take away even if clothes don’t fit
  • Agree a rule for the number of items each person can take, and make sure everyone gets at least one choice, rather than one person getting all the good stuff.
  • Take the leftovers to charity, unless people want to take their own old items home.

An official clothes swapping event

  • Allow people to bring a certain number of clothes if arranging an official event. You want enough clothes available but not to be totally overwhelmed
  • Have some choice items already there available to fill up rails and so you know there will be some nicer items.
  • Have rails and plenty of coat hangers. You can ask for people to deliver their offerings before the event so everything is set up
  • Hand out tickets saying how many items they’ve bought and therefore can take away.
  • If it’s a large paid for event, think about having someone who can do quick sewing adjustments for people who need an item they’re taking altered.
  • Have a way for either people to collect any leftover clothes they brought afterwards, or tell them before they sign up that left items will go to charity.
  • Include a raffle and refreshments. If a fundraising event,

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