Are you wondering what the deal is with these new-fangled clothing swap things?
Are you thinking of hosting or participating in one? Look no further! I have complied the answers to a few frequently asked questions about clothing swaps.
Ginger’s Clothing Swap FAQ:
What IS a clothing swap?
Organized by a fashion community or group of friends. Everyone brings their gently used clothing, shoes and accessories they no longer want to the swap. Then the madness begins! You are free to choose and try on as many of the donated clothes as you like, and bring them home for free! The best swaps are when there are loads of clothes and ladies to try things on.
Is it really free?
Yes! A swap is an excellent way to get rid of your old things, and get some new-to-you duds at no cost. Perfect for anyone on a budget!
How much do I have to bring to a swap?
You should try and bring as much as possible to a swap, keeping in mind that your donations should be nice enough that someone else would actually want them.
It’s OK if you only have a few items though, someone may really like what you have brought! Ideally other women will bring large quantities to swap, so things usually even out in the end.
Check with the organizers first to determine whether you can attend a swap without bringing any items to donate.
What is the swapping process like?
Every swap and group will be different, but in general everyone pulls out their items to donate and quickly displays them to the group, then places them on a table or pile for someone to scoop up. If you see something you like you can grab it off the table or call dibs on it.
Part competitive free-for-all, part fashion show a swap is a really fun experience with the right group of ladies. If everyone remembers to be fair and gracious it will go swimmingly with a feeling of sisterhood and friendship all around.
What happens if two people want the same thing?
This part is a little tricky and can bring out the mean in people. Try and be on your best behaviour! Generally the person who indicates interest first (by touching the garment or calling dibs) will get to try it on. If they like it, they keep it. If not, the next person (second dibs) gets their chance with it. And so on.
If someone grabs something you like first, be sure to call second dibs, just in case they change their mind!
Is it really competitive?
Sometimes. Everyone is looking out for themselves, so there is a bit of competition and testing of wills in any clothing swap, particularly if you have two or more women with the same sense of style and size!
I would recommend calling dibs as fast as you can on pieces that are most likely to be a “win” for you. That is, garments that you have been searching for specifically (such as a Little Black Dress) or something that you know instantly will look gorgeous on you. You should know your shape, colours you look best in, and also clothing cuts you look best in before going into a swap. This will help you focus on winning the pieces best suited for you.
You may also consider tag-teaming with a friend. You can keep an eye out for things that your friend would look good in, and she will do the same for you. This can also help you bargain with other ladies when there is a hot item up for grabs.
What if there is still a bunch of clothes left over?
This is an easy fix. If you held your swap in a consignment or thrift store (both popular locations) the store will look through the remainders and take whatever they think will sell at their location. Anything that is left over after that step should be donated to a charity or women’s shelter.
It’s a win-win-win all around!
Is there any other swap etiquette that I should be aware of?
Most likely, yes. If you are ever unsure of a process or have any questions, you should contact the organizers of the swap and ask away! It is much better to ask and receive clarity than risk raising someone’s ire at the swap itself. Some ladies can be very aggressive!
Depending on the swap and group involved, there may be ground rules that you should be aware of and observe. If nothing specific is said, remember to employ common decency and fairness, but also remember that the whole point of a swap is for YOU to benefit, and to spiff up YOUR wardrobe! Don’t be afraid to dive in!