August 17, 2011

Love to Shop? Have a Swap!

Accessory & Clothing Swaps are becoming a fun and popular reason to get together with friends and swap out your accessory and clothing items for something "new". Although I have heard of huge organized swaps, some churches and womens groups will also hold them once or twice a year which also loads of fun! I prefer a home party swap because its a more personal setting, and an opportunity to have some much needed "girl time" with your favorite girlfriends.  I have now hosted several of these swaps and I would love to share with you the ins and outs of hosting a swap so you can gather your friends for some fabulous shopping fun!
What is an  Accessory/Clothing Swap?
Swapping is a great way to take the items you simply don't wear anymore and swap them out for something "new". You can choose to have just an Accessory Swap or combine Accessories & Clothing. Every woman has items in their closet they don't wear anymore or have worn very little. Have you ever bought something only to find it never quite went with anything you had? What about a pair of earrings or necklace that just didn't make it out the door with you, or nice quality tops you only wore a couple times. I always prefer to give my nicer clothing items to a friend rather than just giving them to charity, and this is a fun way to share the love! You can transform a corner of your living room into a "boutique" for you and your girlfriends to "shop" in and have a blast finding your "new" favorite dress, fabulous jacket or go-to earrings without costing you a penny. Once you and your friends get used to the idea, you may want to host one with each new season so you can switch out your wardrobes every few months!

I recommend sending out an invitation via email, Evite, or Facebook inviting your girlfriends along with instructions on what they need to bring for the swap. You can invite as many ladies as you like and it definately works for larger groups, but 6-10 people ends up being a nice number of participants and allows everyone to still connect and get to know one another. I have posted the wording and info I used in my invitations. Please feel free to copy and use the wording for your own swap! 

Fabulous Food
I believe in everything stylish, savvy & chic so the next thing you want to do is decide on a menu or theme for food and refreshments. You can go a variety of ways, but think classy and chic! After all this is a chance to have some fabulous fun! Ideas would include: Wine and h'ordeaurves ( have everyone bring something), a lunch fair, or a variety of desserts and coffee.  I really believe that simple attention to details can make all the difference in a stylish and chic get together. So I recommend that if you can, use real ( not plastic or paper) plates, silverware and glasses. This a great opportunity to pull out your nice serving dishes and make your guests feel pampered and special.  I like to think that stemmed glasses are not just for special occasions, I like to serve water and ice tea in wine glasses too!

For our most recent get together, I co-hosted with  good friend who also invited a few of her girlfriends so we could have a nice turn out in attendence despite the busy time of summer.  I  chose to serve a Chicken Taco/Salad Bar, and sparkling lemonade with fresh mint.  Several ladies brought cookies and brownies for dessert. I kept the menu simple. I had shredded chicken that I had cooked in a crockpot with seasoning until tender, corn & bean salsa, sour cream, cheese, lettuce, guacamole and chips. I set everything up in nice serving dishes like a little taco /salad bar and the ladies could either fill a torilla or top a bed of lettuce for a taco salad. The prep time for this type of lunch was so easy, it was delicious, and the ladies all loved it!

Setting up
I chose to use my dinning room as our "boutique" because it flowed nicely from the kitchen where the food would be served and the living room where we ate and visited prior to the swap portion.  You may need to move a few things around like I did with rotating my dinning table and positioning it under the window. Think creatively for  ideas on how you can best display jewelry, accessories and clothing. I happened to have a rolling clothing rack, and a necklace tree so I used those for our display. As each guest arrives have them set out and display their items.  You may need to have extra hangers on hand or chairs to stack clothes on. Use small trays or plates to hold earrings and small accessories and help them stand out. Don't forget several mirrors!! If you have a full length mirror somewhere else in the house you can move it to your "boutique".

For me it's really not about what I "get" out of it, or really about everyone bringing equal items, but more about getting together with your girlfriends and having some fun. The "fabulous fashion finds" are really the icing on the cake!
I like to get the swapping rolling with a game similar to how "white elephant gift exchanges" are played. Everyone draws a number. The person with number 1 gets to choose their favorite item. Person with number 2 gets to steel the item person with number 1 chose, or choose a different item. You can make up your own rules on how many times the items can be stolen etc. I love getting to see what each person is most drawn too and which are the hottest items, it can also incite a lot of laughter and fun! After we have done a round or two like this we open up the "Boutique" for free for all shopping. Everyone enjoys trying things on, commenting on the various items and building their little piles of favorite finds to take home. Fun is had by all!

So next time you want to get together with your girlfriends for a couple hours of fun consider having an Accessory /Clothing Swap, it is such a great way to be savvy with your style, and a wonderful reason to bring everyone together! Have each girlfriend bring a friend and your circle of friends will grow and expand--a great opportunity to meet more people, and add to the variety of items for swapping as well. Below are pictures of the fabulous finds I scored at the last swap I hosted. Happy Swapping!

Sand Dollar necklace
Banana Republic wrap dress

Sweater top

Nine & Co. Metallic Brushed gold purse ( Never used!)

Beautiful fun necklace

Accessory/Clothing Swap Info for Invitations:

Never been to an Accessory Swap Before? Here’s How it Works:

We all have items in our closet/jewelry box we haven’t worn in a while, rather then toss them, swap them! Please bring only items in “like-new” condition that are still stylish and not hopelessly outdated.
If you are “spring cleaning” your closet and have clothing items in “like-new” condition that you are ready to part with , feel free to bring those too! We are focusing on accessories, but if you have a few clothing items, feel free to bring them along as well!

1.)  Bring your like-new but still fashion fabulous accessories to swap and pass on to someone else to enjoy.
 You may bring as many items to swap as you like—the more items we have, the more fun for everyone!

·       Costume Jewelry: necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings, brooches, etc..
·       Purses, bags and totes
·       Belts & scarves
·       Hats, hair accessories, watches, sunglasses.
·       Shoes
·       Clothing-Gently Used, Like New Clothing Items –Please be certain that the items are still fashionable and not hopelessly outdated. ( Dresses, skirts, nice tops, sweaters, fashion jackets/blazers, pants )

2.) Please be certain you are happy to part with them

3.) Bring your items to swap and look for a new “fabulous find”. I will be transforming my living room into a mini “boutique” for us to display our items and “shop” in.  We will draw numbers and play in a similar fashion as a gift giving exchange, so everyone has the opportunity to swap or steal their favorite accessories!

small trays or plates are great for holding/displaying small jewelry items

We even had new never used makeup at our last swap! So fun!

jewelry tree, Marshalls $10

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