One girl's trash is another one's treasure, which is why I love getting my girlfriends together for a clothing swap to shop each other's closet castaways. Somewhat of a tradition amongst my friends, everyone gets their own set up with a small table to display their unwanted clothing and accessories, then everyone shops from table to table. It's a great way to get rid of clothes that don't fit or we just never wear, while finding something new to take home.
Invite as many girls as you'd like, provided you can make enough room for everyone. The more clothes to choose from, the more fun. Each girl will bring bags of her unwanted clothes and accessories for the rest of the group to shop through. The best part about this is that you never know what you're going to find. For example, my friend Cassie sometimes includes some of her mother's clothing as well, which is predominantly vintage pieces. Throughout our many swaps, I've gotten a fur collared tweed jacket with crystal buttons, a fur-cuffed satin brocade suit jacket, and a drop-dead gorgeous evening dress…all vintage.
When setting up for the clothing swap, be sure to have space for each person's "collection". You can even designate each station with name tags or place cards. Sometimes, we make our own little signs with our names on them, which adds to the fun. Most of the time, I'd simply suggest setting up a table for each girl, though on occasion, we pull out a few rolling racks for some of our more expensive picks. For trying on clothes, you can create a changing area by simply adding a "dressing room" sign to your bathroom door. This works because there will be a mirror in the room with plenty of light. If your bathroom doesn't have a large mirror, any room with a long mirror would work equally as well. But if your friends are anything like mine, they never seem to make it to the dressing room. Almost immediately, clothes are being taken off each other's backs, zippers are being pulled down, and the place turns into an open fitting room slash shopping frenzy.
Make it a party with snacks and drinks, or have each girl bring a bottle of wine along with an appetizer, this makes things fun and a lot easier on you as the host. The best part of having this kind of event, though, is that your friends are soon transformed into your personal stylists. They'll throw clothes your way that they insist are "so you" and cheer you on when something looks great on you. In turn, you'll find yourself being swept up, doing the same for them. Many times I've tried on clothing I wasn't even interested in because a girlfriend insisted and it ended up looking amazing. There have been times when a girlfriend will bring garments specifically for certain people that she believes would look best in them. Be sure to be open to any advice and recommendations, sometimes outside eyes see better than our own.
At the end, leftover undesirables can be put together and donated to Good Will or clothing drives. You'd be amazed at how much you may have left to give away. Throw everything in garbage bags or other plastic bags and you're all set. As for the keepers, each girl can always use the bags she brought her clothing in to hold her new finds. Or, you can provide cute shopping bags for your guests to use instead. Either way, you'll get some new clothes for free while collecting donations for local charities, and you'll have a great time with your friends.