Sometimes I marvel at just how many clothes there are out there in the stores. Though it’s true that I’ve seen more than a few strip mall stores shuttered in the wake of a floundering economy, the ones that are still chugging along always seem to be packed to the gills with new products and styles.
But I don’t shop there much anymore.
It’s not that I don’t love new clothes. I do, but with two kids, new clothes aren’t much of a budget priority for me. Besides, with rising fuel costs we’ve seen rising costs of everything things else, notably food, pushing feel-good purchases of non-necessities down the priority list big time.
All the pretty little horses
But like I said, I love new clothes.
I could go to the thrift store, and I do occasionally, but the philosophy I hear from most seasoned thrift store scorers is that you have to visit the thrifts regularly to light onto fabulous clothing there. Apparently frequency and plain old good luck go a long way in the second-hand market.
Problem is, I don’t really like to shop, especially if it’s far enough away that I’d have to use my car. There are two local consignment and thrift shops near my house, but they’re small. It’s the biggies that really have the bounty.
You have to give to get
So how do I solve my hankering for new clothing? Throw a clothes swap with all the pomp of a regular party.
On an invitation offer a teaser about your clothing swap and promise light refreshments—served on reusable dishes, of course. Give the party a post-event cause, such as donating remaining clothing to the local women’s shelter, mission or charity yard sale. Then, set up the plan. Something like…guests may bring:
- Up to five each of clothes, accessories, shoes and jewelry.
- Everything should be clean and pressed with no holes or stains.
- Garments should be on hangers.
- Truly be ready to part with your contributions.
Retail queen for a day
As the hostess, get creative by setting up “shopping areas” that are well defined—racks or table tops for shoes, hooks for bags, belts and scarves, and racks for dresses, slacks, skirts, blouses, and coats. Add decorative touches from around the house to give it a real store feel.
You’ll also want to decide on whether you let everyone “shop” as they please, or whether guest draw lots for their shopping order.
Have your guests drop clothes off in advance or plan to sort them as they arrive. Have a co-host to make this party go smoothly. To keep the focus on fun and sharing rather than on greedy acquisitions, place pamphlets or posters referencing your post-party charitable organization.
When party time comes maintain a frivolous and light air, modeling choices and conversing about the many benefits of reusing clothes that otherwise haven’t seen the light of day in a while.
Above all, girls just wanna have fun. So do!
–Lindsay Curren, Lindsay’s List