Monday, July 7, 2014

SECONDHAND FIRST: Tips for Clothing Swaps

Seattle-ite, +40 blogger, roller derby maven, vegan and unofficial #SECONDHANDFIRST advocate, Jean is a pretty cool person all around, and a delight to know. We met a while back at a blogger meet-up, and let me just say, as fun as her blog, Jean of All Trades may seem, she is much more fun (and stylish, and smart and pretty!) in person. I am honored to have her guest post today, covering a FANTASTIC Secondhand First practice: swaps.

Reduce, reuse, recycle. It's the mantra of eco-conscious people everywhere. I like to apply this philosophy to my sartorial life too. I try to shop less, I remix items in new ways, and I recycle.

No, I don't put my old clothes in with my bottles, paper and cans. I attend--and often host--clothing swaps.

Clothing swaps--or exchanges--are a fun way to recycle fashion. They keep clothing out of landfills and keep me out of the mall! Best of all, the clothes don't cost a penny.

Every swap I've been to has landed me with great "new" items. It's low risk too; If I don't wear something from a swap, I simply bring it back to the next one.

It's also a great opportunity to catch up with friends and meet other budget- and green-minded fashionistas. And despite the varying shapes and sizes of people who attend, there will be something for everyone. At the last clothing exchange I went to, we ranged from size 4 to 12, from 5′ 2″ to 5′ 11″ yet somehow we all found wonderful clothes.

If you've been thinking of hosting or attending a swap, here are a few things to keep in mind:

 • Bring as little or as much as you want to get rid of, but gently worn items only. Leave items with holes or stains at home.
 • Don't worry that no one will be your size or that you don't have much to offer. Bring yourself, and maybe some wine, and be part of the fun.
 • Shoes, purses, belts, hats, and costume jewelry are also great to swap (plus, with the exception of shoes, accessories will fit almost anyone).
 • Don’t fight over the goods! Remember that you wouldn’t have anything if you hadn’t been invited. And you won’t get invited back it you don’t play fair.
 • Gather up and try on a few pieces at a time. Keep what you like, and return the rest promptly so others can discover them.
 • Wear something that’s easy to slip in and out of and make sure you have on decent underwear! I wear boy shorts and a full-coverage bra so I don’t feel quite so undressed.

 • Don't worry about people's sizes. Invite people who you think would have fun.
 • Lay clothing around the room by type: pants on the sofa, sweaters on the coffee table. It will help people sort through the piles of goodies.
 • Set up a full-length mirror so people can see how outfits look.
 • Set aside a bathroom or bedroom for shy guests. Not everyone is comfortable changing in a group environment.
 • Offer some snacks of beverages so people can take a break and socialize. After some nourishment, they'll be ready to dive in for second helpings of clothes.
 • Pick a great charity so you can make sure leftover items go to a good cause.

I'm a huge fan of clothing exchanges. I've made great friends, re-homed perfectly good clothes, and scored wonderful items. Not convinced? Have a look at a few of the outfits I've assembled from clothing exchanges:

So, tell me, have you ever attended or hosted a clothing swap? What advice would you give?


Anupriya DG said...

That's such good advice!!! Clothing swaps sound like so much fun!!! Must get together a few friends & try it out! :)

Anonymous said...

A clothing swap sounds like a fun time. A great idea too!
Thanks for introducing a new blog to check out Bella.

Becky said...

I've actually donated clothes for other people's clothing swaps, but never been to one. Very interested in attending or setting one up.

Sheila said...

So good to see you back, Bella! I've hosted a few clothing swaps, and I've found that you really have to hammer home: NO JUNK. Someone always tries to bring gross t-shirts or frayed items.

mispapelicos said...

I wish i could clotheswop with you, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Thank you so much for being part of the growing family of Share-in-Style.

Shybiker said...

What a wonderful idea. I wish I was invited to one.

Krista said...

I would totally do this if everyone had weird ass taste like me :) BUT I do love the idea of it!

Unknown said...

I haven't done a swap but it looks fun. I would definitely be up for that! Debbie @

Lindigo said...

I am working on a blog post on all the ways to shop or gather clothing "second-hand first". The timing of this guest post was fabulous and I'm in total agreement with Jean's points especially how it's possible to swap even among a wide variety of sizes.