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Why Shop? Have An Accessory Swap!

Thinking about your spring wardrobe yet? If you’ve got nothing new to wear, we’ve got a fun way to change up your closet without spending a cent!

You may have heard about clothing swaps, which are increasing in popularity among the fun and trendy. Everyone brings some good-condition items they no longer wear, and leaves with a “new” clothing find. It’s fun, free, and refreshing to the wardrobe–if your friends all wear the same size. That’s why recommends an accessory swap: So all your girlfriends, in all their beautiful sizes, can participate. Here’s how to do it:

If you’re feeling a bit spendy, some gorgeous pre-made, purse-themed invitations can be found here. If you prefer to make your own invitations, rubber stamps featuring purses or handbags are easy to find. For cover wording, try something like:

No Need to Shop; Let’s Swap!


Why Shop

When You Can Swap?

Instruct your girlfriends to bring as many handbags, costume jewelry, belts, and scarves as they would like to swap. They should bring only items that are clean, in good condition and not hopelessly outdated. (Vintage is ok, however!) Girlfriends may also bring items that others have donated to the cause.

Setting and Setup

All you will need is a large enough space for everyone to view the offerings and try things on. Since accessories are generally small, you may want to provide a table to display them. You’ll need at least one large mirror for trying on.

If you want to pad out the offerings, you could try scouring sales and discount stores for trendy and cheap scarves, purses, and jewely. You may find a bargain: We recently spotted some great crocheted scarves for a buck at the dollar store. The accessory section at Target often has great clearance deals on belts and jewelry.

Food and Drink

Non-messy, non-fussy finger food is the order of the day. Wine and cheese, (a little bubbly makes things more celebratory, and goes with anything), simple appetizers, possibly a few sweets. Set up your buffet away from the display table, of course, and save the good stemware for another day. There is likely to be a lot of picking up and setting down of glasses, and the stain from a toppled-over glass doesn’t look good on any accessory.

Swapping and Other Activities

Generally, swap parties are conducted as “organized chaos”–there are no real rules on who takes what. When everyone is ready, just start browsing and trying on. We hope your girlfriends are polite enough not to hoard items or fight over them. However, if two people really, really want the same item, you could have the group “vote” on who should get it.
What to do when the swapping’s done?  Well, you could TiVo some episodes of What Not to Wear (always good for a few laughs!) and watch them together. Or, if you are in the position to splurge a little, hire a stylist, image consultant or personal shopper  (our favorite is here) to come for an hour or two and discuss accessory dos and don’ts. She may even be able to offer some personal fashion advice to your guests.
Don’t forget to donate any leftover items to a local women’s shelter, Goodwill, the Salvation Army or another charity.

Variations on the Theme

Here are some other ideas to try:

  • Give your accessory swap a serious or campy theme–black-and-white, special occasion accessories, wear-to-work only, bad holiday pins, garage-sale finds.
  • Extend the swap to shoes, if you’ve got enough girlfriends with similar-size feet.
  • Ask each girlfriend if there is a story associated with her accessories (she wore it the night she met Jon BonJovi; it was given to her by her Great-Aunt Harriet, whom she hated; she bought it in a bazaar in Bangkok)–and if there is, get her to spill it!

Party Favors

Since everyone will be leaving with new stuff, you can skip party favors and no one will notice. But if you just can’t resist, here are a few ideas:

  • This cute purse-shaped picture frame is only $2.50 at If you search their site using the word “purse”, you’ll find several more purse-themed favors that are reasonably priced.
  • Get everyone the latest copy of Vogue, Lucky, or whatever fashion magazine you favor, so they can study the latest trends.
  • Tie a pretty bow to this circle hanger from Lillian Vernon–sold in a set of 3–to help your pals organize belts, scarves and other accessories.

This is an easy party to organize, so go ahead and give it a try. You’re going to look fabulous, girls! Why not send us some pictures and let us know how it goes?

Comments are closed due to spam. But we’d still love to hear from you, girlfriends. Just talk to us instead!


  1. For additional ideas and tips on making your accessory swap a success, see our post at
    Dawn and Tina

    Comment by Dawn — May 29, 2007 @ 7:19 pm

  2. I can’t wait to hold my first accessory party!! I moved to a new area almost a year ago and although I’ve met many acquaintences, I haven’t made really close friends. This idea might very well help me do so!!! :-)

    Comment by Stacey — August 21, 2007 @ 3:35 am

  3. Excellent idea ladies! I’m planning the accessory swap right now. As an image ocnsultant, I also think this will be a great way to get to know some of the women in my commmunity.

    Comment by Akili Worthy — July 7, 2008 @ 11:28 am

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  7. I am so ding this…thanks for the idea

    Comment by pamela — March 10, 2009 @ 10:32 pm

  8. would you care if I shared this on my blog giving you credit of course if its ok email me and let me know, thanks

    Comment by pamela — March 10, 2009 @ 10:33 pm

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  10. Thank you for the great tips. I am going to plan my accessory swap now!

    Comment by Beth — May 11, 2009 @ 6:46 pm

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    Pingback by Not Without My Lipstick » Blog Archive » Hosting a Style Swap (Part 1) — October 20, 2009 @ 4:24 pm

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