Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Dos and don'ts of successful swishing

Next week is diversity week at Sussex Uni, and we're having a swish to celebrate the marvellous diversity of women in all our varied forms. Hoorah.

This has prompted me to think about some of the things that have worked and not worked at recent swishes I've been to. Here are a few dos and don'ts to help your next swish go with a swing:

Do: display clothes so that they are easy to see and look their best. This means clothes rails, hangers and different areas for accessories, shoes, etc.

Don't: just plonk everything on one table if you can help it, as this gives the impression of a jumble sale.

Do: make sure everyone feels welcome to come, whatever their size or age, and whether they shop at Primark or Prada (I've had some excellent Primark items from swishes, and one Prada dress that ended up going straight back into the next one. Go figure).

Don't: charge people for entry or per item if you can POSSIBLY help it. I've been to a couple that have done this, and you would be amazed how much it puts people off. Guests are already being generous by donating their own good quality clothes. What's more, charging really does give proceedings the feel of a jumble sale, when it should feel like a glamourous party.

Do: take virtually everything to the charity shop or clothing bank afterwards. Only hang onto pieces for the next swish if they are undisputably 100% gorgeous.

Don't: recycle the same clothes, swish after swish. You only end up with the cumulative total of everything that's been rejected. This usually amounts to worn t-shirts in eight shades of sludge that you wouldn't touch with a long stick. No better way to make everyone feel depressed before the party's even started.

Do: encourage your more reticent guests to get stuck in.

Don't: let people leave empty handed because of shyness or worries that they're too big/small/old to find anything.

Do: make sure to grab something for yourself. An underhand (but effective) strategy is to greet newcomers and get first pick of their goodies as you help to arrange them...

Don't: spend all your time dealing with practicalities and miss out on the good stuff.

Have you been to any successful or unsuccessful swishes lately? Would you add anything else to this list? If you're in the neighbourhood, do come along to next week's swish (see poster above - designed by moi - for details). If not, why not put these tips into practice and throw your own?

In other news, I have finally discovered ebay. I know. I cannot BELIEVE I have been missing out all these years. Kind of wish I hadn't though as am now winning - ridiculous lie: buying - shedloads of clothes for 99p a pop. Back away from the internet, Cockatrice...

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