Why Don’t You… Shop a Sample Sale (and Subscribe to My Newsletter)?

How to Shop New York City's Sample Sales Like a Pro

Why Don’t You… Shop a Sample Sale (and Subscribe to My Newsletter)?

‘Why Don’t You’ is my weekly tribute to legendary editor Diana Vreeland who penned a column of the same name for Harper’s Bazaar for 26 years begging, “Don’t just be your ordinary dull self. Why don’t you be ingenious and make yourself into something else?”

When I first moved to New York, I stalked Racked’s sample sale coverage religiously. Eventually, I came to cover them for Racked NY (when it was alive and kicking. RIP). Besides some absolutely great buys — boots from the Dolce & Gabbana and Vivienne Westwood come to mind — I can confidently say that I can shop a sample sale. I will not feel pressure to buy just because something is cheaper than its retail value and I can occupy myself in those long lines like the best of them.

Granted, the glory days of sample sales, like when you could get Chanel boots for $200 are long gone but there are still good sales to be had (and shopped). To celebrate my very first sample sale newsletter, SZN 2, I want to share with you a few tidbits that I’ve learned to help you brave the sales listed. Oh, and steer clear of the windows displaying the ‘SAMPLE SALE’  signs in Chinatown. Those aren’t the sales I’m going to prepare you for.

Go Early

If you are serious about this brand, and I do mean serious, make sure you’re one of the first people inside. You have to be early. I once waited in line for seven hours to go inside the Hermes sample sale. And then did not get in. Did you hear me? I did not get in! I didn’t even get there super late. Doors opened at 9 a.m. and I got there at 8:30 a.m. At that point, people had been camped out since 5 a.m.

Check It

You will have to check all coats, bags, and umbrellas. So dress accordingly. Don’t waste all of your time peeling your layers off at the front door before you can even enter the sale. Also, there is no such thing as a private fitting room. You’ll have to undress in a group fitting room, so again, dress accordingly.

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Wait It Out

If you aren’t looking for something in particular from seasons past, just wait. Sales usually get better the closer to the end date when additional discounts start to get rid of everything. If you have a small foot or are looking for a rare size (like a 00), you might not want to chance it.

Don’t Be Afraid, Ms. New Beauty

Beauty sample sales are safe! Just an excess of product, all sealed. Not testers or returns. Stock up on your favorite Diptyque scents (candles, too!), Stila Liquid Lipstick or Tocca body wash.

Pay Attention

So, here’s the thing. Everything isn’t a true sample. There are usually one or two racks with the actual samples that are cheaper than everything else. Look for safety pins or irregularities because this garment was probably used to perfect the piece that went to print, so to speak.  A lot of the time, sample sales are just a chance for the brand to get rid of overstock. Before you go, do a little bit of research. What is this brand known for? How much does that item usually cost? Then you can decide if this is worth your money. I only had over my debit card when items are 80% or more off of their current retail value or priced under $150.

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Subscribe!

You guys, if you would subscribe to this newsletter and then send it to all of your friends, it would mean the world to me. Honestly, TRULY. Every single Monday, you can expect to find the week’s sample sales, notable online sales, store openings, and other cool things happening around New York City. Even if you aren’t a NYC resident, this newsletter will make you feel like you are.

I hope to run into each and every one of you because these are things that I truly want to do (especially the musuem events — subscribe to see what I’m talking about!).

I love you. Mean it,

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