I’m never one to pass up a good sample sale – they’re basically the ultimate secret to scoring designer duds you never thought you could afford on a budget. Some of my favorite pieces in my closet found their way to me via a sample sale and, admittedly, there’s something bizarrely thrilling about participating in what is basically the shopping Hunger Games every now and then. Below are a few tips and tricks for shopping sample sales that I’ve picked up along the way.
If the sample sale is for a designer that you really love, do some pre-shopping by checking out previous seasons to know what pieces to expect to see once you hit the sale. It’s also a great idea to check out previous sales’ offerings to have an understanding of prices before you go. Websites like Racked and NYMag often publish photos and prices from the same sample sales each year – so it doesn’t hurt to do a little sleuthing about last year’s sale so you know what you’re getting yourself into ahead of time.
Get there early…
It goes without saying that getting there early, especially for a major sale like, say, Alexander Wang, is a must in order to get your hands on the good stuff. Sure, it seems crazy to arrive 3 hours before the doors open, but if you’re first in line, you’ll be let in right away – as opposed to shoppers that get there later and end up spending even longer waiting in line.
…but also go back at the end
While getting there early will get you the first pick at the best stuff, checking back in on the last day could mean scoring even better deals. Many sample sales slash the prices on everything even further during the last 24 or 48 hours, and it’s always worth a look.
There’s nothing worse than triumphantly scoring exactly what you looking for and heading to the checkout counter only to find out that the sale only takes cash – and there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to find an ATM and run back to the sale before someone else scoops up your finds. Always bring cash just to be safe.
Dress the part
It sounds crazy, but believe it or not, most sample sales don’t have dressing rooms – and if they do, it’s one big communal one. Opt for thin, tight, non-bulky clothes like leggings and a tank. You’ll be able to slip them off quickly if a dressing room is available, and if it’s not, you should be able to get a good idea of how something fits over the clothes you’re already wearing.
Don’t be afraid to ask for a lower price
Sometimes pieces at sample sales can be slightly defective – a seam that’s slightly off here, a missing button there – and if you find one, you might be able to get an even better discount. Simply ask one of the sales associates if they’re willing to mark the piece down further – the worst they can say is no!
Go purse-free if possible
Nearly every sample sale I’ve been to has required me to check my purse at the door – not only is it a hassle that takes time away from shopping, but it’s easy to lose the ticket they give you so you can claim your bag when you leave. (This may or may not have happened to me.) If you can, opt to carry just your phone, keys and wallet in your pockets – it’ll be worth it, trust me.
For more shopping tips, don’t miss: Sale Items At Anthropologie Start At Just $12 – Hurry! and Can You Tell Which Pair Of Black Booties Cost $400 More Than The Others?
[Photo: Facebook/260 Sample Sale]