In my younger days, much of my disposable income went toward trendy clothes and shoes. When my closet would begin to overflow, my friends and I would have what we affectionately called "UGLY TOP NIGHT" and swap our clothes and shoes. It's way more economical than a shopping trip to the mall and it's more fun than a garage sale with strangers.
I still spend lots of money on clothes and shoes — for my boys! Clothing I purchase for myself tends to be more classic than trendy and lasts longer, which means I tire of wearing certain items long before they wear out. So I think it's time! Wanna have one too? Here's how:
1. SEND YOUR INVITATIONS at least two weeks in advance so everyone has time to gather their clothes, shoes, belts, purses, and other fashion accessories that are still in good condition but just don't get worn anymore. You can use a website like Evite, create a Facebook event, send an email or a text... or even use the phone or send a formal invitation in the mail (weird, right?).
PRO TIP: Invite 6-12 friends so you have enough variety without it becoming overwhelming. Make sure to invite at least two people for each size so everyone has someone to swap with.
2. PLAN YOUR FOOD, sticking to things that can be eaten with one hand and don't leave fingers messy. Think cheese and crackers, fresh whole berries or grapes, deviled eggs, mini quiches. If you are going to serve wine, make sure you have wine glass charms to mark the glasses and a flat surface to set them on. I recommend serving white wine or keeping club soda nearby if you prefer red!
3. ESTABLISH A PILE PLAN with different areas of the room set up for piles of clothing in different sizes: Size 4/6 in one corner (and who invited all these super fit women anyway? ... pass them a plate of cookies and color me jealous!), size 8/10 in another, 12/14 in another, and so on. All the fashion accessories can go in one pile since they are generally one size fits all.
4. CREATE A SHOPPING STRATEGY to maintain a little bit of order and reduce the chances of spilled wine. Limit the number of items chosen to 2 or 3 per turn to keep it fair. Draw straws, go alphabetically or in order of birthdays, or just let each person take home the same number of items they brought.
5. SHARE THE LEFTOVERS with women in need. Consider Dress for Success for interview-appropriate attire and accessories. ARC Thrift Stores, ClothingDonations.org (a service of Vietnam Veterans of America), and the Help & Hope Center all gratefully accept clothing and other household donations.
There! You have a fresh new wardrobe while having fun with your friends. Maybe you even got rid of more items you collected and have a somewhat more organized closet. Now ... do it again next month with all the books, CDs, and DVDs that are collecting dust on the shelves!