Over 40 Fashions



If you love clothes, and you love being with fun, thrifty, kind women- why not start a free swap in your town?

What you need to start a free swap:

  1. 1. A venue that will allow you to use it for free.  Venues currently holding swaps include senior centers, churches, community centers, a Jazzersize gym, a meeting room in a grocery store, and libraries.  Sometimes women will start swaps in their own homes, and when it grows too big they’ll seek out a larger venue.  Even though you’ll have spandex or swimsuits on for modesty, you’ll probably want a location that offers a bit of privacy while trying on clothes

  2. 2.Set working rules. As an example, the idea behind  Free Swaps is to offer and get free clothes and stuff, forever.  No money changes hands ~ even if you get the items home and decide they aren’t quite ‘you’, we ask that you GIVE them away to someone. That is the mission of Free Swaps.  We request that all items be clean and in working order because no one wants to bring good stuff and have to pick through trash.  All swap remainders are donated to organizations or other swappers that will give them away (not sell them).  Examples might include:  PTA clothes closet, FISH emergency services, church clothing closets, friends and neighbors, women’s resource centers, or homeless shelters.  Since all the clothing is already washed and in good condition, women at these places get to have fun looking through new-to-you clothes, too:) Free Swaps are different than rummage sales or charity events.

  3. 3.Set a day and time.  Free swaps usually take about an hour.

  4. 4.Get the word out.  Try putting notices on Craigslist, posting them at your local community center, senior center, corner store, church, daycare, book group, or other places thrifty kind women gather.  Email your friends, set up a group facebook page or groups site, send a notice a month in advance to your newspaper if they post public notices for free. You can design a swap to cover anything from a particular size range such as women’s and teens size small, to a particular theme such as Christmas giftables. The point is to do all of your advertising free, since that’s one of the goals of free swapping. 

  5. 5.Don’t mess things up by asking for money.  With free swaps, we’re all on the same level - no one knows who just lost their job or who just won the lottery- we gather because we are thrifty, fun women with too much stuff  - but not the right stuff - in our closets:)  A free swap feels like we’re all playing dress-up in a free store, all sharing what we don’t need/use/want anyway, and coming home with new stuff that we love - all with like minded women.  We all get to be philanthropists because the goodies that remain after a free swap go to organizations that will give them away, not sell them.  Everybody wins.

  6. 6.


This is how I organize my free swaps, but you can do it the way that feels right to you.

Shoes, purses, accessories, and jewelry are in a separate pile so when swapping starts, no one is hit by an errant shoe, and earrings don’t snag that nice sweater.

All the clothes are kept in bags while we wait.  When it’s time to start, the swap coordinator gives the go-ahead to empty bags into rows on the floor.  After you empty your bags, step back until everything is out and ready. Things in the middle of the room in rows are free.  Items in little piles around the room, against the walls or in bags are someones’ stash.

When everything is in rows, the swap coordinator will say, “Go!”  And we’ll all start at the same time.  That way everyone has the same opportunity to find new clothes. 

Gather what looks good to you then try things on.  Mirrors are available (I have 4 full length mirrors that were donated that I bring to the venue with me when I set up.  Other swap coordinators ask women to bring mirrors.  Or if you’re lucky you might get a yoga studio with mirrors already there:).  If the clothes you try on aren’t quite ‘you’, throw them back into the rows for someone else to enjoy.

No re-sellers, ebay, etc.   Swappers support our mission by enjoying the swap as a place to get free stuff, and if you part with your new-to-you swap items, YOU do it in a free way too! 


Arrive at the venue at the stated time with clean in good condition items to swap.

I know it’s exciting to see all the free stuff laying around, but No cheating!  No taking, or hiding, or stuffing things into your sack before we officially start!  It only makes it fair for all of us. 

For clothing swaps, wear a swim suit or spandex workout clothes under your street clothes.  Many venues are in a public building. Occasionally a choir person, janitor, or male customer will wander in -  so not being naked is a good thing for all concerned.

Some women clear out whole wardrobes to swap their first time, then a few items after that.  You can bring a piece of jewelry and leave with a whole wardrobe or visa-versa. The point of the swap is to grab what you don’t want/use/need, clean it up, and bring it to swap for free.  We all have fun and find new stuff we like.  Be courteous and generous, and come prepared to play.

It’s fun to see people smile as they try on something you brought, or see the encouragement of 'that looks great on you' and 'here’s some jeans in your size'.  You’ll be able to try new fashions you’d never dream to try on in a store, and it's all because GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN!

Please do NOT bring:  clothes that are not of the specified swap size, clothes that are ripped/stained/dirty/smelly/not wearable.  If you have unwearable clothing items you might try offering them on www.freecycle.org

Have fun! 


                 Here’s a short clip of the 2012 Free Holiday Gift and Toy Swap in action!


Other Articles and videos about Free Swaps:

Go Green KATU clothing swap Video


Earth 911 article on Swap Positive/Free Swaps  http://www.earth911.com/living-well-being/style/swap-positive/

Oregonian swap article: http://www.oregonlive.com/living/index.ssf/2012/01/free_clothing_swaps_where_no_m.html


Show off what you got from the latest free clothing swap!  See the Be A Model! page for how to submit your photos and clothing descriptions.  For all other correspondence contact info@over40fashions.com

P.S.  check out this blog to win free organic clothes and other good stuff