Monday, June 14, 2010

Hosting Your Very Own Clothing Swap

I like parties. Throwing them, going to them, hearing about them. Everything from big, fancy, over-the-top weddings to small, cozy potlucks. I am in. Every time. The sad part of working crazy hours is that I haven't had much time to host as many gatherings as I'd like. Even sadder, I've had to decline attending certain soirees. Food, friends, fun times and I have to say no. The worst part about it is that I'm always well intentioned. I'll meet new people and think, "They're lovely, we should have them over to dinner." Or I'll get an invitation and plan what I'll wear and what I'll bring (because I'm brown and my mother taught me never to go to someone's home empty handed) but then won't be able to attend because of work. This is the point where someone asks, "But I thought law firms always had great parties?" Sure, if your idea of a good time is standing around with a luke-warm drink making small talk with your business colleagues. Good times indeed. Even the "fun" firm outings are awkward because you know that Friday night will soon be Monday morning and you'll have to keep a straight face during a presentation delivered by a guy that was doing the freaky chicken dance not that long ago.

There's a point to all of this. The point is that my latest soiree was a long time in the making. I actually think I spent more time thinking about it than executing it. It's obvious my meticulous, research happy, work personality carries over to my personal life. It's an illness and I'm trying to get rid of it. See, a few months ago, I read an article in Better Homes and Gardens (yes, I read BH&G. You can quit smirking now) about hosting a swap. The BH&G swap had pictures of everything from lamps to books to dishes. I was intrigued by the idea but wasn't particularly interested in other people's housewares. We live in a tiny apartment that barely has enough room for our stuff. Then, one of my favorite bloggers hosted a clothing swap. Ding (that was the lightbulb going off above my head). Clothes and accesories? A girl can never have enough of those (a significant other may disagree).  An idea for a clothing swap was hatched.

I recruited a fabulous attorney friend to help, knowing she'd be the perfect partner in crime for this soiree.  A location was chosen, invitations were sent, swap items were contemplated.  We asked each of the girls to bring five pieces of clothing, accessories, or shoes they no longer loved and wished to swap for new items.  We made a giant "number tree" and planned on having each of the girls pick a tag with a number inside to determine the swapping order because frankly, I'd be afraid to break up a fight between two girls fighting over the same pair of shoes.

And what's a party without party favors, right?  Bath&Body Works, I love your products and would be ecstatic if you wished to sponsor my next soiree ;)

What about food, you ask? Oh, there was food.  Food galore.

Thai noodle salad.

Cranberry turkey salad

THREE kinds of sandwich spirals including tomato provolone, turkey bacon, and club.

Chocolate cake with the best-ever-I'm-not-counting-calories-today chocolate ganache and raspberries.There was also a delicious broccoli slaw that I forgot to photograph in my rush to eat.  Oh, and some uber tasty lemon and mint cake balls that I also did not photograph because I was using my hands to eat them as fast as possible.  Oh, and a refreshing berry limeade.  Yup, also forgot to photograph that because I was eating (hey, at least I'm consistent).  In hindsight, it's suprising I managed to get any clothes at all given I spent most of the party eating, drinking and chatting.

We ate, we giggled and we swapped.  The clothes were set up in little group all around the giant room.  In hindsight, neurotically organized me would have probably grouped the shirts with other shirts, the dresses with other dresses, the pants with other pants but we just kinda mixed things up like a trendy boutique and it worked out really well (and yes, it took a lot for a detail-oriented, control freak me to admit that).  Ultimately, we ended up not even needing to draw numbers and the girls just "shopped" freely because everyone was so nice!  When two girls reached for the same item, they actually offered it to each other!?!  Needless to say, I was not one of those girls.  I would have grabbed the item I wanted and ran for the door.  They complimented each other when someone tried something on and they even suggested items they thought would look good on someone else.  I was truly amazed at how supportive everyone was even though the majority of girls had never met before.

I was also totally impressed by the selection of items.  We had everything from dress shirts to cute, summer dresses to sparkly high heels.  I even walked away with a few things that still had tags on them!  I would be more surprised but I bet everyone has new items in their closet that have sat there for quite a while because they looked so much better in the store.

Everyone left with a bag full of cute, new items and delicious food leftovers and we bagged up the leftover items and took 'em to our local Salvation Army.   Judging from the fabulous items I will be wearing this upcoming week (and the decadent leftover cake I'm eating as I type this), the clothing swap was a success.  Maybe the whole law thing is overrated.  Maybe I'll be a party planner instead.  No?  You sure?


  1. What an amazing party!! And look at those shiny gold shoes.

    You can be a lawyer by day and party planner by night.

  2. This must have been such a fun party.I'm smitten by the luscious cake :D

  3. This looks amazing!!! I'm so excited that you threw a party too. The food looked delicious (as did the clothing and the party favors). Isn't it cool how the women just seem to insta-bond and be so sweet to each other? The same thing happened at my party...there must be some kind of psychology to it. Thanks so much for sharing! I posted it on my Facebook page and on Twitter so other folks can enjoy!

  4. Sounds like a great party my lawyer wife would love to attend. Great food spread.


  5. Dear Azmina - You have a wonderful way with words and your food looks awesome too!

    Clothing swap sounds great - now I just have to find a bunch of girlfriends wearing LV all the time!!! :)

    Thanks for stopping by my corner and commenting. I hope we'll see each other more often.

    Ciao, Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  6. Love parties and I'm always mentally planning the next one! Looks like you had tons of fun and that's great :) Everything looks so perfect!

  7. Yet another reason why we need to live in the same city, twin.

  8. I don't know where you live Azmina, and that is probably a good thing but otherwise I'd be over in about a second flat to attend your next party.

    Oh, and I'm not judging you for reading BH&G because I can do you one worse...I read Ladies Home Journal. Terrible, I know.

    You are one talented photographer, writer, and cook, and I'm sure a fantastic lawyer too. You are the daughter my Indian dad dreamed of having!! Poor guy got me instead. :)

  9. So cute! I agree, nothing beats planning a party. Looks like yours went off flawlessly!

  10. haha yea falling off a bike naked.. doesnt seem like the best situation. thanx for the comment <3

    i really need to plan a clothing swap with the girls. ive always loved the idea! such a great way to spend a weekend too!

  11. great party, what a fun idea...and the food, great offerings...great post


  12. Great post! I'm guilty of the same thing when it comes to entertaining. I haven't hosted as many gatherings as I should. Working on it, though.

    Looks like you put together a great party and everyone enjoyed great food and new clothes. Can't go wrong with that. Great job!

  13. Confession - I read BH&G and I read that article ;) I like your idea of a clothing swap so much more though, especially since it sounds like it went off so seamlessly. I'm thinking that's because of the hostess - who could be brawling over shoes with tempting cake nearby?

  14. Kait- I like your plan! Sleep's overrated anyway :)

    Yasmeen- The cake was almost better than the brand new dress I snagged!

    Alejandra- Your blog was the BEST source of clothing swap inspiration. Plus, the food looked to die for.

    Lazaro- I'm sure Nancy would have fabulous items for a swap!

    Devaki- Invite me to the swap when you find the girlfriends wearing LV! I don't own any LV but would like to find some at the next swap :)

    Renuka- Thanks!

    TheHousewife- I agree! Mentally planning parties is almost as fun as hosting them.

    Char- We must fix this problem, asap. I'd suggest we both move but the city half way between us is probably in the middle of nowhere!

    Ameena- Nicest compliment EVER! Thank you! I will confess to reading a few Ladies Home Journals as well. And I don't think I'm nearly as fabulous as you or Maya but I'm going to keep trying :)

    Katy- Flawlessly is a good way of putting it. I'll stick with that description!

    Kelsey- Yeah, my bike riding skills aren't that great. Certainly not great enough to attempt to ride naked!

    SweetLife- Thanks!

    Jean- I'm so glad others feel guilty about not hosting more parties :)

    OC- I'm so glad you read BH&G. It's really too bad we don't live closer and are forced to remain computer friends :)

  15. So, uh, who got the sparkly sandals??

    Super idea! Nice eats too - love, love, love that chocolate ganache and raspberry cake! Phwoahh!

    Maybe I should do this too - I got a wardrobe of clothes about a third of which are still tagged - that same old "it looked so much better at the store syndrome" :P

  16. i love clothing swaps! i host/go to a few a year but mine are NOWHERE near as lovely as yours looked food-wise!


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