I must blog about how much I dearly love sample sales. There is nothing so exhilarating as getting a 90% discount on coat, a pair of $500 boots for $45, or a t-shirt that should have originally been $10 anyway but had a retail mark up of 1500% for no good reason.
There are of course the traditional brick and mortar sample sales as well. In New York, we’re blessed because they happen daily, sometimes top secret and sometimes highly publicized. But they’re there if you want to find them. These warehouses are packed tightly with racks upon racks of the season’s over-stock from some of the world’s most sought after designers. I will go. And if I can’t go, I will send a friend, who I trust, with impeccable taste (i.e. my friend Teresa), to shop for me.
You can check out sites like Racked.com or TopButton.com to find out when and where sales happen (again, mostly in NY and LA but sometimes other big cities). You can also scour NYMag.com for sale information as well. I tend to walk a lot in Manhattan and sometimes I walk right into one identified only by an 8 1/2 x 11″ sheet of paper that says, “Marc Jacobs sample sale, 2nd floor” in blue sharpie.
If you don’t have access to the real-life versions, there are a few signature sites that offer truly amazing online sample sales (and I literally have an order a week coming into my office). My favorites: GiltGroup.com, HauteLook.com and RueLaLa.com. Everyday at 11 am and 12 pm ET, the sales start showcasing a new designer, and a countdown clock that details just how few precious minutes I have to throw things into my virtual cart before some other obsessed-maniacal-fashionista-turned-monster gets my cashmere wrap sweater in royal purple with sequins at the collar ticks back the seconds. It’s insanity I tell you. The only glitch, you have to either be invited by a current member or sign up for a wait list. But if you can access them, you’re golden! Brands like Ella Moss, Beyond Yoga, Marc Jacobs, Free People, Alice + Olivia, Citizens, True Religion, and Walter. Then the heavy hitters: Vera Wang, Zac Posen, Judith Ripka, Botkier, Prada, and Hermes…oh, the list continues and my head spins.
Is the economy bad? Hell yes. This is why sample sales are so crucial. You’re getting a realistic price for the clothes you love. I say take advantage of this. Get online. Get to the sales. Shop the samples and look good even when the state of our country’s economy sucks. It can’t all be doom and gloom.