7 Tips For the Best Clothes Swap Ever

Photo: The Chic Site

Photo: The Chic Site

One of the most important things we can do as conscience consumers is consume less. I mean come on, do you really need 4 different black tank tops? Nah girl. Because they’re all black. And all tanks. For real, I see you eyeing that 5th one. Put it back.

For better or worse (I'm going with worse) we’ve been indoctrinated with this idea that we always need to consume more. The world consumes 80 billion items of clothing each year. To top it off, Americans throw away about 85% of their closet. EACH. YEAR.

:: Insert all the horrified emojis here::  

I’m not trying to make you feel bad, but we do need to change our behavior. It's hard, I get it. I hate that feeling of looking in my closet and thinking “UUUUGGGHHHH I’m so sick of my clothes!”. That’s the exact opposite of how our clothes should make us feel. They’re how we express ourselves to the world. They should inspire us!

It’s a tricky situation. We want to consume less and we know our clothes are in good shape...but oh my god if I have to look at that stupid flannel one more time I’m going to scream.

So what’s a woman to do?



I know, I know. Everyone’s heard this advice before. I’m sure you’ve even attended a few swaps. If you’re anything like me, you've probably came away from those experiences feeling…. dare I say...heartbroken?

Every time I’m invited to a swap I get this rush of anticipation. What cute clothes am I going to find? Who am I going to bond with? Who’s going to look so fabulous in that stupid flannel I was so sick of, that I almost wish I could take it back? It’s a heady feeling. And then, without fail* the swap flops.

I’ve come to realize there’s a method to having a successful swap. A good swap feels better than shopping. It feels like an event. With just a little thought and preparation you can master the art of the clothing swap.




Get To Swappin'


1. Invite a variety of shapes and sizes

 This does not mean everyone has to be the same size, because what are we Stepford wives? But there should always be at least one other person everyone could swap with.  I’ve seen it happen before where one person shows up who can’t swap with anyone, and they sit around feeling uncomfortable. It’s so awful! Be a good host and  do a little homework  before to ensure your sizing is balanced.

2. Be thoughtful about what you bring

 No one wants your smelly, pit stained shirt. No one. Not ever. Instead separate those items out and create a separate pile at the swap for recyclables.



3. Presentation is everything

 When you go into a store are the clothes just sitting in mounds all scrunched up? Of course not! That shit doesn’t look inviting. So hang the clothes up.  If you have a rolling rack, this is the perfect time to bust it out. If you don’t have one, get creative.  Hang the clothes from doors, knobs, molding, whatever. Put a little style into it. 



4. Snacks

No one likes to shop hungry so always put out a few snacks. Don’t worry about dropping a ton of money on this. People will appreciate that you thought about their comfort, so minimal is fine.  A veggie tray and some chips will go a long way.

5. Good Tunes

Make it feel like a party! My favorite thing to do is create a playlist that everyone can add to before the swap. Then put that baby on shuffle and watch faces light up when their pick comes on.

6. Set the ground rules

Inevitably two people will want the same item. I've seen lots of other blogs suggest using a "model-off" and letting the group decide who should get it. That's just plain craziness to me. The loser feels bad for losing, the group feels bad because they chose between their friends, and the winner also feels bad because everyone else feels bad. Instead opt for a game of rock paper scissors.

7. Plan Ahead

I promise there will be clothes left over. Decide before hand where you want these extra clothes to go. I like to look for local women’s shelters who can really use them. 

Buy less. Choose Well. Make it last
— Vivienne Westwood

What are you favorite swapping tips? Let me know in the comments!