By now it seems many women have heard about girlie swaps/naked lady parties/clothing exchanges, when friends converge to exchange clothing as an alternative to shopping. Other people’s cast-offs are so much more compelling than your own, non? It is always a thrill to get stuff for free. Girlie swaps are a cheap girl’s dream come true.
The premise is simple. Gather a group of women and have them clean out their closets. It is time to finally chuck those impulse buys that were in fact brief psychotic breaks: shoes that do nothing but attack and bite and pinch and those sexy little numbers you picked up when you thought you were the fifth member of Sex and the City instead of a track pants kind of girl. Anything that is creating guilt or irritation should be shoved in a bag and lugged over to the hostess’s home. Our girlies have expanded the swap to include books, magazines and various household items as well. Basically anything that needs to be de-cluttered is fair game.
Add snacks and drinks. Sugar and alcohol are recommended to keep up your energy. Throw in some good conversation and let the swapping begin.
It helps to establish a few rules, otherwise pandemonium can break out amongst the flurry of clothes, martinis and grabbing. There is always an aggressive one in the bunch, so some semblance of order is necessary so that meeker participants still stand a fighting chance of getting something fabulous. We have a war pile set up when more than one person wants the same item. Each party tries on the item and either the rest of the women decide who it suits better, or names are drawn from a bowl and fate decides.
We have tried to impose a no heckling mandate. No offering is too hideous or worthy of derision, although exceptions can be made for MC Hammer pants, padded shoulder suits from Joan Collins’ Dynasty days, or strange vests made from Muppet pelts.
There may be some pain. It will hurt when you witness that sweater that clung to your potbelly and made you look barrel chested drape perfectly on your friend with the perfect collarbones, slipping oh so fetchingly off her shoulder a la Jennifer Beals circa Flashdance. It hurts a lot. But through the pain there is some satisfaction that the sweater has found a happier home. And fear not because there will be reason to rejoice as well. You may end up with a gorgeous designer jacket that was made just for you that you would never be able to afford (hurray for my new Brian Bailey jacket, whee!).
Girlie swaps are a perfect way to make you the proud beneficiary of someone else’s cast-offs, and to finally peacefully let go of your own.
When the swapping frenzy is over and the ladies are crumpled in a heap of clothing and accessories, gather what is left and donate it to a worthy charity. Everyone benefits.
All in all, a gloriously cheap and fulfilling night.