Plan the party menu with snack foods that won't leave a messy residue on those shopping fingers -- such as cheese, grapes, crackers and pretzels. Include some decadent small desserts like bite-sized brownies or cupcakes. Serve a spiked punch, margaritas or an assortment of wines.
Decide the best way to display the merchandise you're expecting. Dresses show best on a hanger so consider converting space in a bedroom closet into a temporary dress rack. Plan to display everything else by clothing type on tables or organized stacks on clean rugs, carpeting or as a last resort, the floor.
Enlist a couple of friends who possess that creative flair to come early to help you decorate your temporary boutique. Include as many mirrors as possible and arrange for a few semi-private areas for guests to try on their finds.
Give each guest a ticket for every piece of clothing she brings to exchange at the party. Consider giving double tickets for designer or high-end clothing pieces and requiring a higher number of tickets to "purchase" these items.
Arrange in advance for your creative friends to quickly move the incoming clothes to their designated areas. Direct your guests to the snack and beverage lounge until all the attendees have arrived and your boutique is fully stocked.
Draw numbers to decide the shopping order. Give your guests enough time to shop through the clothes and identify items they want to "buy" with their tickets.
Start the exchange process with lucky girl No. 1 selecting her "new" item and trying it on for fit. The second in line can select hers right away or wait to see if the first item chosen doesn't fit and goes back on the rack. Continue down through the list until all your guests have made all their selections.
Pack up any unclaimed clothes at the end of your party and donate them to charity, a thrift store or a women's shelter.
Consider using the white-elephant gift exchange style to give people the option to choose from claimed or unclaimed clothing items when their turn comes up.
If you're hosting a small party with a few friends, try auctioning each item one at a time using the attendee tickets as cash.
Inviting friends with similar sizes works best, but don't leave out friends because of sizes. Accessories such as jewelry, hats and scarves can also be included in the exchange as a way to include everyone.