I forget where I was when I went to my first clothing swap. I believe it was in college, and I couldn’t help but think how genius the idea was. Especially at that time as a student with no money.
For those of you who don’t know what I am talking about, a clothing swap is when you have a group of your friends over for a party, and you all trade clothes. You let your friends take a few weeks to go through their wardrobes, do a total closet purge, and bring any items of clothing, shoes, purses, or accessories they no longer use to your home. My rule of thumb; if it’s not sentimental, not a special occasion piece, and they haven’t worn it in a year, tell them to get rid of it. Items should be clean and free of stains or tears.
Next, you set up an event. Either a brunch, maybe a light appetizer dinner, and have your gals over for about 1 hour before swapping begins. Get everyone talking, get everyone fed, and have a little fun introducing new people to one another. For example, on this Sunday, the brunch started at 11:30 am, but clothing wasn’t swapped until around 12:30 pm. This gave everyone a chance to organize their clothing, have a cocktail or two, and get to know each other.
After everyone is done munching and has met a few people, designate areas of your living room, den, whatever space you are using to have ladies lay out their clothes. If you have a portable hanging rack, even better. Make sure you also have a designated changing area in case someone wants to try something on; the room should include a mirror. Once that is all taken care of, say Go! Let the girls rummage through one another’s goods and choose the items they like to take home. Essentially, go shopping, for free!
I provided party favors for my guests which were a simple assortment of chocolate and reusable portable striped pink and blue bags, that folded into little squares when not in use. I thought they were adorable for providing a means for the girls to take items home. I should have taken a photo of them… maybe next time.
When all is said and done, and the pillaging is over, encourage your friends to stay for one last glass of wine or pack up and go. For those leftover clothes no one wanted? Usually I take it upon myself as the host to collect all the garments and donate them to a local women’s shelter. Sometimes I have had friends want to take items back, which is fine too. But your friends made your party happen by going through their wardrobes; the least you can do is offer to donate what was left and take it off their hands.
A Clothing Swap Party is really my favorite way to get a bunch of friends together to revitalize our wardrobes…all without spending very much money! With the new year just beginning, this was the best purge to kick off 2016 fresh.
Now onto the food, which is why you are all here. Take into consideration variety, between items, between food groups, between dietary restrictions, etc. Make sure you also make enough so that everyone gets a nibble, but large messy platters of items are not always the best way to go. Think in between finger food, in-between meal food. Here was my menu:
- Roasted Assorted Vegetables in a Butter Broth (messiest dish)
- Squash, Broccoli, and Onion Quiche, Parmesean Cheese
- Ham and Smoked Gouda Tart, with Honey Dijon Mustard Glaze
- Chocolate Almond Puff Pastry Braid
- Brown Butter Lemon Blueberry Muffins
- Plain Mini Croissants
- Vanilla Greek Yogurt with Almond Granola and Blueberries, Side of Chia Seeds and Coconut
- Bowl of Clementines
- Add On: I had leftovers from a work party, so threw those on there. Consisted of mini steak empanadas and mini four cheese quesadillas.
For drinks, I also kept it simple yet semi-homemade:
- Cold Earl Grey Tea, with Lemon Slices
- White, Rose, and Red Wine
- Pot of Rubios Chia Tea
- French Press of Espresso
- Sugars, creams, and other mix-ins.
Everything was made from scratch, for the most part. And could be prepped the night before. Here’s a little step by step guide on what I did.
- I have re-vamped my quiche recipe, and it is excellent now. I need to make another one with a step by step and show you. Essentially, the vegetables were cut and prepped the night before, with the rest being done the day off. I understand you can reheat a quiche, but I don’t always like to.
- The vegetables were roasted the night before, reheated that morning.
- The Ham and Gouda tart was made possible by the wonders of puff pastry. And prepped the night before. All I did the morning of was add the egg wash. It is simply puff pastry layered with Black Forest Ham and Smoked Gouda, baked until brown and bubbly, and then wiped with a mixture of dijon mustard and honey, sprinkled with chives. Key here… all the ingredients are very good ingredients. One of the reasons I learned my parents could whip something up super fast and have it taste so good was because every ingredient in my house was good. Don’t use processed deli meat, rubbery cheese, and honey that is half high fructose corn syrup. The key to being a great chef is having great items on hand. I digress…
- The Chocolate Almond Puff Pastry Braid was made possible by a recipe video I saw online. Three ingredients, genius concept. Because it looks so professional when done. The item was prepped the night before. I added egg wash and baked the next morning.
- The croissants were from Trader Joes. They have excellent frozen croissants. No shame in my semi-homemade game. Proofed the night before, egg wash in the morning, baked in the morning.
- The Brown Butter Lemon Blueberry Muffins took the most time. I made them the day before, left them on the counter covered overnight. Placed them out in the morning. You can see a full set of directions in the post above.
- The yogurt and clementines were an easy morning set-up. Fruit in the bowl and placed out. Yogurt in the bowl, sprinkled with granola and blueberries, sides sitting next to it.
All in all, between prep the night before and making food in the morning, this took me 3 hours. That did also include setting up the house and myself that morning, so maybe 2 hours of total food dedication.
If you plan effectively, and get a little creative, you should be able to pull off a killer party any day of the week. Share your party photos with me in the comments or by email at email@example.com.