How to Host A Clothing Swap Party

What’s not to like? Clothing Swaps are cheap, it forces you and your friends to finally purge your closets and dressers, and you can have an excuse – not that you need one – to finally get together.



If you bring drinks, a clothing swap will give you a semi-legitimate reason to get tipsy before noon. Or afternoon. Or all day. We at Champagne Tastes and Beer Budgets do not judge.


  1. Select friends with similar tastes, but a wide range of sizes. A sweater from one friend can be a cute sweater-dress for a shorter guest.
  2. Give your guests a minimum of two weeks notice so they can go through their closets and dressers.
  3. Set up the invitations: You can use Evite, or any other free online invitation service. Some prefer Facebook to set up the event, to see who is and isn’t going, and post updates to rally reluctant hoarders along.
  4. Have food ready.  Finger foods that you eat easily with one hand that won’t leave grease or powdered sugar markings are recommended. Try deviled eggs, hummus on crackers, raw veggies. (Once everyone has made his or her choice, and the donations have been packed up, you can bust out the messy snacks.)

Set up the rules early. Post them on the Facebook event page, include them in your emailed invitation, and refresh everyone’s memory just before you begin:

Suggested Rules for a Drama-Free Clothing Swap

  • Take turns. Put names in a hat, and pick who gets to go first. Limit the number of items to three per turn to keep it fair and moving fast.
  • Use “tickets”. The host hands out a ticket (can be a playing card or a poker chip) for every item a guest donates. If a person brings 10 items, she gets 10 tokens with which she can purchase 10 new items.
  • One bag in, one bag out. Everybody goes home with the same number of items that they brought in, unless they want to donate it.
  • Have everyone agree on a charity to donate to.  Pack up the clothes that are left behind – after making absolutely sure nobody wants it – and send it along the same day. Nobobdy wants clutter in their home overnight.
  • Create display areas. Set up folding tables, or dryer racks. If the weather is good, try the clothing line outside. Otherwise, large storage bins and chairs can work well as temporary displays.
  • Have a fashion show. If two people want the same thing, opt for a “who wore it best” episode.  Have each contestant try it on, and decide by consensus who wears it better. If it might spark animosity, flip a coin.

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