Sunday, April 05, 2009

I hosted a clothing swap!

Until Saturday night, I'd neither attended nor hosted a clothing swap. But after all the fun that was had, I can't imagine this kind of party not taking off--particularly in these economic hard times (two of my guests were laid off and looking for jobs).

After all, when was the last time you got to hang out with 15 fabulous women, drink wine, nibble on appetizers and exchange your ill-fitting clothes for a whole new wardrobe for free?

I'd set the start time for 7:30, but I wasn't expecting so many very prompt guests. My house was half-full by 7:45 and nearly everyone arrived by 8. While I was helping hang clothes and rotate appetizers into the oven (Trader Joe's Brie and Raspberry in Phyllo--love!), Josh put the girls to bed and fled to a Morrissey concert. As soon as the back door latched, women were dropping trou all over my first floor, trying on clothes and soliciting opinions. There was a lot of really good stuff, so in order keep it from becoming a total free-for-all, I announced rounds. As in "Round 1, pick the first item you really want and set it aside. When everyone's got something, we'll move onto round 2." After six go-rounds, the most sought-after stuff had been picked up and everyone was happy with their finds, so I declared open season on the racks.

I made out like a bandit, scoring a pair of dark denim designer jeans, black buckle flats, a silk floral J. Crew dress, a red and black corduroy strapless dress (worn once to a wedding), a couple of tweedy miniskirts and both shorts and capris from Banana Republic. Oh, and a red silk Chinese jacket and 3 or 4 blouses that had been left on the hangers at the very end. But it wasn't all about the get; it also was nice to see some of my favorite old clothes--items that no longer fit right but I couldn't bear to toss in the Goodwill pile--go to appreciative friends (who looked great in them).

The mix of attendees worked out really well, with overlapping circles of neighbors, preschool parents and ad agency people. I only wish that I got to talk to more people for longer, but I kept getting caught up in hostess duties: trashing abandoned cups, heating food and opening wine. And trying on clothes--that, too.

If you're inspired to host a clothing swap, make sure you've got clothing racks (I borrowed two), lots of hangers (not everyone brought them), empty tables (for folded items) and a couple of full-length mirrors (I borrowed those too). I cleared off the top of a cabinet for jewelry, placed handbags on a radiator and arranged shoes on the floor beneath the racks for my insta-boutique.