Is Swapping the new Shopping?Trust us you’re going to love this new way of shopping…
by Alexandra Hoëld
published November 30, -0001
rating: (71 Ratings)
A few weeks ago I dropped by my friend Lisa’s house to find her hosting something she described as a “Swapping” party. Intrigued, I had never heard of such parties and hoped it wasn’t another one of those pathetic singles gathering. Lisa explained, with an amused smirk, that Swapping involved fashionistas getting together to swap their designer cast-offs and have a girl’s night in at the same time.
Apparently, in New York swapping is the new vintage shopping, the new cool underground party scene… and there’s even a website, <url> www.swapstyle.com <url>, so you can swap fashion items from Juicy Couture to Chanel directly online. Amazed, I sat and watched as Lisa’s charming friends sipped martinis, nibbled canapés, gossiped and swapped barely worn designer bags, sexy dresses, fabulous jeans and luscious fur coats. Everyone went home with bags full of new clothes!
As a confessed shopaholic, I couldn’t resist being instantaneously drawn to this concept that literally lets you have all the fun without having to cope with a hefty credit card bills. Cocktails, gossip, girl’s night-in, finger foods and free clothes, I was sold on the idea and immediately wanted to host my own “Swapping party”!
Having asked Lisa to explain the Swapping set of laws, I immediately started thinking about which of my friend’s wardrobe I wanted to raid. I needed girls who were the same size as me and who liked to buy unlimited amounts of great designer duds, just like me! A couple of weeks later, my Swapping guest’s list was confirmed and consisted of four carefully chosen fabulous fashionistas, with very different but complementary styles: Interior designer Julie, the absolute expert in vintage shopping who always looks like a million bucks without spending more than 50 dollars on an outfit; fashion PR executive Vicky, edgy fashionista and designer sample-sale queen; Chic lawyer for Bulgary Francesca, who wears only the most fabulously tailored suits and owns a “to die for” designer bag collection; MAC Cosmetics Make-up artist Emily, who always puts together the most funky grunge outfits by carefully mixing vintage and designer items.
A few friends called me with concerns such as “I don’t have anything I really want to get rid of, I only buy things I love” or “I only have old rags to chuck out what will the others think???” after some much needed reassuring, all four of my friends finally showed up to my doorstep with several bags of hidden treasures. Following some much-needed cocktails and canapés, we each took our turn and held up one item, explained why we bought it and why we are parting with it, looking back it almost felt therapeutic, just like a “Shopper’s Anonymous” meeting. So many interesting items popped up, we ended up having to apply the “more than one person wants something” Swapping rule which states that when more than one person is interested in any given piece of clothing, that item goes in the “Swap pile”. At the end of the round, the people who want the item try it on and the person who owns it decides who looks best in it. One situation you do have to prepare yourself for is to actually want your clothes back when you see a friend looking fabulous in them or discovering how you should have had worn them all along. In the end there was a real mix of labels, and everyone seemed happy to trade designer for high street or vice versa.
Four hours later I was the proud owner of a new pair of Paper, Denim & Cloth jeans, a Juicy couture hoodie, a pair of Hermès crocodile flat boots and the wonderful giddiness you get from a retail high only without spending a penny. Everyone agreed that the Swapping party was a success. Take my word for it: you will be hooked… so girls get together and start Swapping!
Here are a few basic “Swapping” rules:
1. No swapping when one of the swappers is out of the room.
2. Agree beforehand if your party is designer labels only, vintage only, high street only or a mix.
3. Bring lots of stuff. If you don’t have a wide enough variety of items to swap back for an item you want, you’ll loose out in the long run. Bring at least 20 items and don’t forget hats, bags and shoes.
4. Make sure you take turn and each person shows only one item at a time. This way no one gets to choose all the best items first.
5. If more than one person wants an item, then it goes in the “Swap pile” for a “Swap off” at the end of that round. In this, everyone who wants the item tries it on and the donor decides whom it suits best.
6. Be fair: everyone has to go home with something they love. Obviously, some lucky girls look gorgeous in anything; but that doesn’t mean they get to take it all.
7. You can give the rejects to charity or save them for your next Swapping party.
8. Give prizes for the most hideous garments and for the most-wanted.