swipe it | how to shop a sample sale ~ 7 tips for success

garance dore sample sales I haven’t written a “swipe it” post in a while, but this month has been a good one on the shopping tip. More than 85 sample sales took place in May, so it was kind of hard not to find some deals. I truly try (key word: try) not to over shop, but it hasn’t been easy, especially with the change of seasons. With sample sales it’s very easy to caught up in the rush of the deal and end up with some duds.

To increase the level of sample sale success, here are some simple rules to follow:

Have a game plan. Before going to a sample sale, I visit sites like RackedNY or Mizhattan to read reviews and to get the scoop. This has saved me from taking some fruitless trips. Those who run the sites typically get early access and give good updates (replete with photos) on what you can expect from stock and sizes to prices and wait time to get in.  They will even provide updates if the sale is multiple days. This helps me to (a) determine if I’m going  (b) put together a list of items to seek out and (3) determine how much money I’m willing to spend at the sale.

Try things on. Inevitably, you’ll get caught up in the rush, even if you have a pre-determined list. In the Sandro sale, I went into the fitting room TWICE and took a few spins by the only mirror on the sales floor just to be sure about my purchases. The items are final sale, so there’s no turning back! Trying on items at a sale is no easy feat, it’s like being backstage at a fashion show: 50 girls, 75 square feet. And, that’s if they even offer a fitting room! I’ve been to sales, where women literally try on clothes out in the open. If able, go with a group of friends that can at least encircle you to form a semi fitting room (yep, I’ve been one of those friends!)

Inspect the clothes. These are sample sales after all and some pieces are truly samples, whether that means the size or the fact that they’re not finished. Also, be on the lookout for snags, stains, and rips. The worse thing is to get home and realize there’s something you can’t fix or can’t return. All sales are FINAL.

Have patience + remember to breathe.  Whether it’s standing in line (I did a 45-minute stint at Loeffler Randall. Others, 2 hours+!) or simply trying to search through the racks you will need patience. You will also need to remember to breathe. I remember my first DVF sample sale and started to breathe heavier as I typed. It was nuts – people everywhere, a line to get in, a line to try on clothes, a line to pay and a line to pick up your purse you had to check when you first came in. And, the poor workers. Arms nearly ripped off as women grabbed after garments returning to the floor from their time in the fitting room.

Limit the number of sales you attend. If you live in NYC, May and December tend to have a CRAZY amount of sample sales. While you can get good deals, if you attend too many your bank account will take a hit. This time around, I limited myself to three: Sandro, Loeffler Randall and Reed Krakoff. Almost went to the Chloe one, but reviews on Mizhattan stopped me dead in my tracks (my credit card is still thanking me).

happy shopping, tiffany 

p.s. – to see my scores from the month, be sure to follow me on Instagram (@passportsandvisa).

p.p.s. – for a really funny and totally accurate account of a sample sale experience and also the source of the title image, read here.


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