How-To Shop Sample Sales

Hey Glamazons!!

You hear about a sample sale via Twitter or from a forwarded email. You count down the days and show up on the opening date, credit card in hand. Now what?

It almost sounds too good to be true that designers sale their samples (usually used for ad campaigns and editorial spreads) at the end of the season for next to nothing.

However, for many first-timers, their initial trip to a sample sale is hectic, overwhelming and sometimes, disappointing. They leave with the one purse they were able to pry from the grip of a pushy shopper or a mutilated designer item they may never even wear.

I realized at the Glamazons we give you sample sale information (via our Twitter page, @glamazonsblog) and dish to you about the great buys we get at sales, but haven't ever advised on how to shop them.

And I can't, in good faith, share sample sale information without having you guys equipped enough to go into a sample sale knowing how to avoid the madness and leave with something fabulous.

That said, remember these tried-and-true tips that I've learned (the hard way) and enjoy a sample sale shopping experience that lives up to the hype.

-Do your research.

Study the designer's collection that you're shopping. This is important for a number of reasons. First, it gives you the upper hand over other shoppers (who you're competing with to grab the best finds). When you look beforehand, you know exactly the item you're looking for as opposed to seeing all the samples for the very first time.

Secondly, though great designers reinvent themselves every season, each one has a signature aesthetic that they never veer too far away from. Rather than attending every sample sale you hear about, only go if that designer's look blends seamlessly with your unique taste and style. There's no point in going to shop Vera Wang if you're a Jean Paul Gaultier girl.

-Go early.

With sample sales, the old adage rings true: the early bird gets that coveted Tracy Reese blouse. For the best selection, go on the first day as early as possible. There's nothing worse then attending a sale when only the rejects are left.

-Try it on!

At these events, all sales are final so make sure your buy fits you well...because you're stuck with it. The last thing you need is another garment collecting dust in your closet.

-Don't cling to your 'usual' size.

Sizes vary, especially when it comes to European designers. A Christian Louboutin Size '7' is very different from a Jimmy Choo Size '7.' Some die-hard sample sale shoppers even visit the designer's regular boutique pre-sale to find out which size fits them best.

May sound a bit over-the-top, but I purchased a pair of Christian Louboutin pumps at the first sale in a 7.5 (my size for as long as I can remember) and they pinch so tightly I can barely walk. (I DID try them on at the sale but wrongly assumed they'd stretch over time...after several visits to the shoe repair man, they haven't).

I learned my lesson and bought an 8 in the below shoes at this year's sale. Never felt more comfortable ;-)

-Dress comfortably.

I know you're thinking: Why does it matter what I wear to a sample sale where I'm buying new clothes? This is why: Most sample sales don't provide closed dressing room spaces...or you may want to approve or veto a dress without waiting on that god-awfully long dressing room line. The solution? Wear flats that you can easily slip on and off and clothing that can easily be removed. For ladies that don't want to strip to your undergarments in front of a room of strangers, a camisole and boy shorts are great alternatives.

-Go for the classics.

If you're not a religious Barney's shopper, then you're most likely someone who doesn't buy high-end designer duds outside of sample/outlet sales. That said, it's worth investing in an item that you'll get the most use out of.

There are usually staples on sale, like black pumps, a traditional sheath, a tweed jacket, that will stand the test of time. Though that trendy, neon, studded, bubble-hemmed dress is calling your name, you don't want to buy anything you wouldn't normally wear or won't wear often.

-Be prepared to search.

My routine is to give a lightning quick once-over and then zero in on the section with the finds I love most. Whatever your strategy, get ready to search, dig and hunt to find the treasures. And speaking of treasures vs. trash, look for quality pieces. Stained, ripped and worn-in finds are often not worth the money it costs to fix them.

-Mind your manners.

Yes 'behave yourself' should go without saying but something comes over people when put in a room full of affordable designer duds that are only a grab away. Be respectful of other shoppers. At the end of the day, it's only a pair of shoes, pants or a dress. It's not worth shoving or being mean to other people.

At the same time, know that sample sales can sometimes bring out the worst in people. Thus, never leave those amazing shoes you found unattended while you try on another pair. Somebody will swipe them, trust me.

Hope you found these tips helpful, ladies!

Happy shopping!



1 comment:

naseyamh said...

Great tips! now the question is how do you find out about sample sales in advance???

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