How To: Throw a Successful Frock Party

Friday, January 10, 2014

clothing swap

I've thrown a lot of Frock Parties in my day. From small scale house parties to a large scale over 100 people sponsored event -- I've done them all. Each one is a little different and some are definitely more successful than others. As someone who loves clothes, but doesn't necessarily love spending, clothing swaps are the absolute best way to stay fashionable without spending money. It's also a great way to rid your wardrobe of unwanted items and spend some time with friends. Everything I've learned about frock parties, I've learned from trial and error. Hopefully these tips can guide you and your friends into the right direction.

Invite your friends and let them bring their friends too!: A lot of my friends and blogger friends know a lot of people that I don't, so when they bring their own friend or two, you a) get to meet new people b) brings a variety to the type of clothing. It helps build a new community!

Set a clothing limit: One of the biggest mistakes we made with our large scale swap was not setting a maximum. For a smaller swap, I've found 5-10 pieces is PLENTY. Seriously, if eight girls show up with ten items -- that's eighty pieces. It doesn't seem like each person bringing ten would be too many, but it can get overwhelming. Believe me, at the large scale swap, we had over 100 people and some people brought over forty items. It was overwhelming to say the least, but totally our fault.

Don't limit items to just clothing or sizes: I love a swap that has accessories, hats, shoes, unused makeup, house ware, or whatever else. It's a nice way to bring a wider variety to the swap. Not to mention, not everyone will be the same size, but accessories, make up, and house ware is for everyone. This helps not exclude anyone and also is another great way to rid your wardrobe.

One thing I stress with every swap is that size (small, large, or in between) is not an issue. I want everyone to feel included and welcome. Inviting ladies of all varieties has never been an issue. Everyone walks away happy.

clothing swap

Ask everyone to bring some snacks: This might seem strange, but if there are snacks it becomes more of a party than just a clothing swap. People can put their baking/treat making skills to use. Plus everyone can hang out at the snack table during and after the swapping. It makes it more of a party. Ideas: cookies, cupcakes, fresh veggies, hummus, cheese, crackers, fruit infused water, and boozy drinks. Basically anything that won't make your hands sticky or greasy or damage the clothes.

Pick a swapping system: This is one of the most important parts of the frock party. There are so many different ways to set up a swapping system. They all work for different reasons. It's just a matter of what works best for you and your friends. It's important to keep the swapping fair. Everyone wants to feel like they've gotten back what they brought.

My favorite way to organize it is like this: everyone gets a number (go in that order) and each person gets to start by picking their favorite item. After that we kind of rotate through the numbers until everyone has a good amount of items. Once that happens, it's a free-for-all. This has been proven to be the most effective route. It's also one that starts slow and builds into a quicker operation. Meaning that the swapping takes time, but not too much time that everyone gets bored.

Other ways: Take inventory of how many items everyone brings, set a price range, and give them "tickets" for each item. Set the clothes up by dollar amount and let everyone shop that way.

Set the swap up like a store: This definitely depends on the space that the swap is held. I like having a clothing rack or two for dresses and easy viewing. A coffee table is perfect for accessories, hats, and shoes. Couches are wonderful to drape sweaters, tops, bottoms, etc. The goal with setting it up is to make everything easily visible. Get creative and use your space to your advantage.

clothing swap

Have a mirror or two or three: Having a mirror in the swapping room is key. Everyone wants to see what it would look like.

Make a playlist or ask people to bring their favorite vinyl records: The music makes the party. It sets the mood and the vibe. Spotify is wonderful for this too! Though I love switching out vinyls that everyone brings.

Donate, donate, donate! The whole purpose of a swap is to be green, refresh your wardrobe, and save money. To help perpetuate this line of thinking, I donate all left over items to the local thrift store. I've been to swaps where the girls saved awesome items for the next time. As well as swaps where the hosts sold the clothes to consignment shops so they could afford to host the next swap -- they provided all the snacks and drinks. This works as well.

Keep it seasonal, swap hosts: What I mean here is have a swap every season! Refresh your wardrobe consistently. Rotate who hosts the swap -- this changes up the location, the invite list, and keeps it exciting.

bottom: (l-r) Nicole (my sister), Myself, Anna Middle: Rachel, Abby Top: Jesi, Allison, Skyla, Megan

I hope this helped you and if you have any questions please let me know. In the future if anyone is interested I might write a whole post about planning the large scale sponsored swap. Most of all, set up a clothing swap, have fun, get pretty new clothes, and tell me all about it!

Other posts:
-first clothing swap I hosted

-recap of our large scale swap

All photos taken by me during our last swap in September
© Midwest Muse.