Monday, 29 July 2013

Ladies night - clothes swap!

Want to know the best way to..
1) clean out your wardrobe
2) find some new items for your wardrobe
3) give old things away to charity
4) have a super fun girls night

In Australia, my girlfriends and I have had a six monthly clothes swap for the last couple of years.

Here are my tips on having a great clothes swap..
  • Let people know with PLENTY of time in advance.. pick a date, and send out the invites. You won't believe how many people reply that they have just been to the Salvos or good will! It also helps if you talk about it a lot, so people know that it is coming, maybe months in advance... Some people in the past have replied and said that they just got rid of their stuff. No worries, come anyway! Grab some new things, try some clothes on, have a drink.

    Chaos and clothes... Its a free for all.
  • Get your lady pals to bring their lady pals from other friend groups.. The more people the better.. More sizes, more styles, more jokes, more new friends. Don't feel worried to have too many ladies. The best swaps we have had are when we have people in a range of sizes. I always used to worry that my friends were skinnier than me and I might not fit their stuff.. You know what? One size in a top can fit a lot of different body shapes. One size in a dress actually spans a very wide range of sizes. Shoes fit anyone. Cocktails can be drunk no matter your shape or size!
A few ladies checking out the goodies.

  • Let people know that anything goes, whether its nail polish, shoes, bags, dresses with the tags on them, old hoodies, books, cds... Anything can be swapped. Actually, it makes it way funner to have some daggy, odd items. And remember that one ladies trash is anothers' treasure. Examples in the past have been: A floral romper that someone had bought and hadn't worn at all. Someone liked it and has worn it heaps. A work dress you are bored of and just don't wear anymore, next week at work you see your lady pal in it. Yay.

  • Clean out your wardrobe with plenty of time so that you can reassess your throw out piles.. I have one friend that has a great method.. She has a pile for the swap, a pile to think about, and a pile to sell on ebay. She always has a lot of clothes with tags on them... (I love you Liz!) Such a good system. And normally she will revisit and throw more things into the piles. It feels so good to have space in your wardrobe.. Last time we had a swap, one of my lady loves had a very happy husband when she showed him all the things she was giving away, and all the new space she had created! (That space was filled up the day after the swap but hey, that's the point right? haha).

  • Have cocktails and champagne on hand. Create a signature cocktail for the night, something girly, or just make some pitchers of your favorites. It definitely helps people feel comfortable going through the clothes piles if they are happy and have a yummy drink.
Cocktails and scarves are a fantastic and inevitable combination at a clothes swap.
  • I always had my husband go out and do something with the boys, it is estrogen over load in the house and there are ladies running around in their underwear and giggling. Definitely a good time for the guys to have a boys night!
Us before the boys were sent away.

  • Have lots of yummy snacks, get everyone to bring a plate so the feasting can continue long into the night!
The snacks!

  • Have a good, girly playlist.. Liz and I would make sure we had lots of Florence and the Machines and Lana Del Rey on our iPods for the night..
When its time for the crazy outifts, then yes, beanies, ball gowns, belts and bikinis look great together.

  • Our clothes swap nights always end in two things: near the end of the evening everyone has 10 minutes to put together the most ridiculous outfit they can find. I'm talking bikini bottoms yoga pants, high heels with gym clothes, anything crazy. Then we all pile together for a group shot in our crazy outfits. After this, when most of the hot items are gone we sit around and a couple of people will go through all the remaining things and any last takers can grab things.. This can be the funniest part of the evening.. Trying to make a pair of stockings look appealing, or selling a white singlet.. It's definitely a lot of laughs. Everything else goes into bags and then gets dropped off at goodwill or the Salvation Army the next day. You wouldn't believe the quantities of clothes that go to charity!

Strike a pose. When good clothes go bad.

I can't recommend having a clothes swap higher to you. You would be amazed by how many cute new outfits I have gotten through clothes swaps. For weeks following a swap I will hear women in the office saying "thanks, you wont believe this, but I got it at a clothes swap". The best thing is that if you do it on a six monthly ish basis, people know to start keeping things in a cupboard for the next swap. All my friends swear by them, and we always have an amazing night. 

Miss all my beautiful friends down under,


Photo credits: Elizabeth Mahon

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