New York City is great for three things: public transportation, dancing to the Fugees until 3 am in a basement in the East Village, and sample sales. Everything else is just a distraction from what this city is REALLY about.
Embracing individuality in fashion is one of my favorite qualities of New Yorkers. A girl could walk down the street wearing Julia Robert’s outfit from Pretty Woman and not one person would second-guess her. In fact, I would be jealous that she had more confidence than I’ve ever had to pull it off.
NYC being home to a ton of designers also gives us SAMPLE SALES!!! If you’ve never been to or heard of a sample sale here’s the deal: Designers use items for fashion shows, presentations, interested buyers, and retailers. These items are known as “samples” and are not placed in stores for consumers. At the end of the season, designers have no use for them and hold a “sample sale” to sell them at discounted prices. Overstocked items and pieces from previous seasons are also sold at these sales. It’s basically a ton of inventory that they have no use for anymore.
You have to do a little searching on the Internet to find them, but they are almost always worth attending if you love sales (like me).
Here’s how I found out about all the sales I attended last week:
Racked: This site is updated daily with sale info, addresses, item prices, and locations.
260 Sample Sale: This is a building on Fifth ave that hosts sales all year round.
It opened at 10:30 am and I got there around noon. It was pretty crowded, but luckily they still had a lot of items in my size. I grabbed a bunch of things and went back to the “changing area” which was a room full of women trying on items behind a curtain. You cannot have shame while at a sample sale if you want to try on anything. Get in your underwear and pretend like no one else is there.
Prices were decent:
I ended up only buying one dress. I don’t really own any sexy dresses so I figured I should buy this one since it fit very well. Original price was $495 and I got it for $69:
The next sale was Fred Perry.
I didn’t end up buying anything, but this tiny boys sweater was so adorable I almost bought it for my future child. That was the most in-my-30s thing I've said so far. Maybe I shouldn’t have shared that with everyone. Let’s pretend I never said that.
I wasn’t familiar with Lauren Merkin bags but decided to go to the sale anyway. I am SO glad I went! The bags were super cheap and super cute. The sale opened at 10am and I got there around 1pm. It wasn’t too crowded but I could definitely tell the items had already been picked through.
I’ve been wanting a new medium-sized bag forever and I fell in love with this one:
The bargain bins were awesome. I found a really cute blue bag for $20!
And I got this pink leather wallet for $15!
The next sale was for Scotch & Soda at 260 Fifth Ave. It was huge, crowded, and overwhelming. I got there 2 hours after it opened and it was already crazy. It didn’t help that it was directly on Fifth avenue either. There was a bouncer. I almost got a denim jacket, but the line to check out was really long and I had to pee, so I bailed. On to the next sale.
I was really excited about the Yigal Azrouel and Cut25 sale. I worked in their showroom a few seasons ago and fell in love with almost every thing I wore. The sale started at 1 pm and I got there at 2 pm.
Girls were pretty much trying on clothes anywhere they could.
This adorable dress was $150, but my size was already gone:
I found these two Cut25 dresses that I tried on over my clothes. They both fit perfectly and I had a hard time deciding between them. I would punch myself if I bought both, so I got the black one. It was originally $395 and I got it for $125.
The next morning I was very excited for the Scoop sale. They carry a lot of my favorite brands like Rag & Bone, Current Elliott, Alexander Wang, and Alice & Olivia.
Maybe all the fashion bloggers and friends of Scoop employees got to the good stuff the night before, but there was nothing that I wanted. I tried on this dress but I didn’t love it. I left without buying anything Bummer.
I went to SoHo for the MiH Jeans sale next. All jeans were $40. Amazing.
I found a really cute denim jacket. It was supposed to be $65 but they gave it to me for $20! I ended up getting these two things:
The last sale I went to was the APC overstock sale in Brooklyn. I didn’t even go in because the line was insane.
I didn’t feel like getting into fights with women over wool cardigans so I didn’t bother waiting. I was happy with what I got from the previous sales so I bailed.
So. Here’s what I learned from my week long sample sale adventure:
1. Get there early, like right when they open. The skinny b*tches grab all the smaller sizes first, so if you are a size 0-4, you need to get there ASAP.
2. Grab EVERYTHING in your size because you can make decisions later.
3. If you’re not sure it fits, TRY IT ON. Take your clothes off in the middle of the room, nobody cares, it’s usually all women anyway.
4. Don’t buy anything over $100 unless you absolutely love it. Sample sales happen all the time, so spend your money wisely.
5. Don’t leave your finds hanging while you go look in the mirror, women looking for deals are ruthless and will steal it when you're not looking.
Follow this advice and you'll most likely end up buying a Zac Posen dress for $15.