Frugal Fashionistas: Tips for Hosting a Clothing Swap

"One man's beauty, another's ugliness;
One man's wisdom another's folly."

--Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays


Clear out the closet and invite your friends over for a fun and free shopping fest!


money and refresh wardrobes by hosting a clothing swap.

I found this wonderful LA Times article by Susan Carpenter

about some frugal, fashionable wardrobe fun.
Clear out the closet
and invite your friends over for a
fun, and free, shopping fest.

In better days, diamonds may have been a girl's best friend. But in such dark economic times, it's friends that are a girl's best friend -- especially if you can raid their closets.

Clothing swaps are growing in popularity, and for good reason. The events, where people donate clothes they no longer wear and walk away with items they never even knew they wanted, provide a shopping high without the buyer's remorse, a wardrobe refresher without the plastic. In an era when people with money aren't spending it, and people who don't have much are hoarding it, clothing swaps are a cost-free cure for clothing lust, which, despite the ever-declining economy, is a difficult sin to swear off, even if most of us have more than enough to wear.
Click Here to

Tips for Hosting Your Own Clothing Swap

If you're thinking of hosting a clothing swap but don’t know where to begin? Here are some do’s and don’ts from Suzanne Agasi, founder and director, who’s hosted about 170 swaps.

Do :

  • Bring only gently worn or new items.
  • Make sure the clothes are clean.
  • Encourage women to bring accessories, such as shoes, purses, belts, hats, scarves and costume jewelry.
  • Allow time for guests to mingle before trying on clothes.
  • Provide food and drinks, or encourage guests to bring food to share.
  • Designate one room for changing.
  • Put shoes and clothes worn to the event in a hands-off area if they’re removed for changing.
  • Donate whatever clothes are left at the end of the swap.


  • Discriminate: Invite women of all shapes and sizes.
  • Hold back the good stuff. If you aren’t wearing it, it’s worth nothing.
  • Make fun of the clothes.
  • Take things home without trying them on.

9 comments: said...

Hi Tracey - so fun to find your site. I've got a pre-copy (sorry my menopausal brain won't give me the right word) but the copy of your book "Frugal Luxuries" that you would have sent to reviewers. At any rate no idea where I got it but I've had it for years and look at it often. So neat to see you here! I'm one frugal babe - used not to be but now I am. It is as much fun as being a spendthrift. Next week I end a year long diet from buying myself any clothes - used or new. I fell off the wagon once in Boston and bought one of those crazy summer pieces of material that can be made into "126 different dresses or skirts or shawls". Next week on the 17th - I will buy some jeans - and that's it. Really don't want anymore clothes would still like to get rid of some of mine. Might have a swap but truly when you are nearly six feet tall they don't work so well. But getting together with other women is ALWAYS fun - afterward we take what folks don't want and donate it. good for our bulging closets and good for folks who need it. Also - I saw you have a rule about gently used or new. We don't have that rule. Sometimes we find something people have held on to since the 60's - a gorgeous paisly hippie blouse in Indian cotton. Priceless and VERY worn. The market will decide what is valuable and what isn't. In this case the market being the gaggle of goils.
Check you later - I'm going to put your blog on my blog list...

Tracey McBride said...

Hi Jan!

Thanks so much for the great comments and nice words!! You're right...we shouldn't limit ourselves to only "gently" worn items...there's nothing like the patina of a vintage 60's or 70's tunic or jeans that have been worn and worn and still are holding up!! In retrospect, the rules will/can vary by the group or individual who is doing the planning/hosting!!

Congratulations on your year long dieting success!! It seems that I've given up dieting but now just cut out most sugars, starches and processed foods...that being a diet of sorts!! Thus, in a way, I know how much commitment is needed to accomplish what you have!! You're an inspiration. Have fun,fun,fun shopping for that much deserved new outfit!

Thanks again!

P.S. That's so funny about you having a review copy of Frugal Luxuries!!! Occasionally I run across them at used bookstores and the like, but not often! So glad you had fun with it.

labanan said...

well really - it was very frugal of me to have it don't you think? But now that I see the pictures on the "real" one...well I'm not on a book diet yet!
Thanks for commenting on my site. It is fun to do AND free-ish.

scrappy quilter said...

Great post and some great tips.

Tracey McBride said...

Thank you so much for the kind words from you both! Just a reminder...used books are a fantastic bargain! You can find "Frugal Luxuries" and "Frugal Luxuries by the Seasons" on, and ebay...some volumes are selling for as little as 99-cents each (plus shipping). Also...I just bought a good condition copy of "Frugal Luxuries by the Seasons" on ebay last week for $5.95 as a buy it now...shipping included! If it's in good enough shape I will include it in my first give away (coming up in a few weeks :)! Thanks again for the nice comments.

the pleasures of homemaking said...

That's a very good idea for women that have work wardrobes! Good for kids clothing too.


It's Just Me said...

I have always wanted to do this - but get giggles from my friends who think I am "not their size" Sorry a small bottom and long legs, yes maybe. But, I know we are both size Medium tops... so keep an open mind when inviting people!

Until someone understands I keep shopping the second hand stores with great luck - just hit it on 1/2 price day whoo hoo!

Storybook Woods said...

What a fun and smart idea, I love it. Clarice

The Frugal Fashionista said...

I ran across your site b/c I got booted off my own blog and when I refreshed it ~ YOURS popped up! LOL I run a charity clothing swap in Metro DC called the FRUGAL FASHIONISTA CLOTHING SWAP! We had a great event on Sunday that I just posted a blog about! Our next event is scheduled as a BACK TO SCHOOL / FAMILY type swap for all! I LOVE doing this and since I am no longer a slave to Uncle Sam and have enough time to dedicate to it~ It's really become a super passion of mine! All of our remaining items are donated to a local domestic violence shelter... You should check out our site... or my blog here on blogspot;)

Love your blog!
Cool beans Tracey!

The original "FRUGAL LUXURIES" ~ Based on the books by Tracey McBride ~ Established 1993

A warm Thank You to all kind souls and kindred spirits who generously take the time to leave a comment...your encouragement, trust and support are deeply appreciated...please know that we read each and every message and will respond as time allows.


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"FRUGAL LUXURIES: Simple Pleasures to Enhance Your Life and Comfort Your Soul" was written by Tracey McBride and published by Bantam Books, NY, in 1997. It was the first of its genre to synergize the elements of simplicity, frugality and gracious living.

After more than a decade, FRUGAL LUXURIES has never been out of print and is now more relevant than ever.

"It's our hope that a new generation, faced with a teetering economy, will also find this information helpful and enlightening."

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