Benefits abound at clothes swap parties

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Swap shop

Glenview resident Sue Schwartz looks for approval from a friend while at a clothes swap on Friday January 27 in Glenview. Swaps are used perk up a wardrobe in these hard economic times, basically shopping for free in other peoples' closets. More than two dozen women gathered at Joy Cmeil's Glenview home to take part in the event. (Shaun Sartin, Chicago Tribune / January 27, 2012)

And the cute little gray Marc by Marc Jacobs dress I picked up at the party? I got several compliments when I wore it to work Monday. Yup, everybody wins.

shopellen@tribune.com

How to host your own clothes swap

•The bigger the better. Send an email invite and tell your friends to pass it along to their friends.

•Rent clothes racks.

•Plenty of full-length mirrors ($15.97 at http://www.walmart.com).

Box of wire hangers borrowed from dry cleaner.

•Big paper shopping bags donated by a grocery store.

•Get kids to pitch in to display clothes.

•Invite a local seamstress to attend and consult on alterations (and get business).

•Designate a charity for cash and check donations with a prominently displayed jar to put them in.

•Donate leftover clothes and accessories to charity or women's shelter.
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