As a Splenda Stealer, designer labels are just not in the budget. If I’m wearing something with an H, LV, CC, Tiffany or David Yurman jewelery, etc., it’s was probably a present from someone. Not probably, it was. (I don’t currently have anything with CCs but if you are reading this please feel free to donate to the “Confessions Of A Splenda Stealer Fund.”
Call me silly, but before I worked in NYC I knew nothing about the sample sale. The only “super designer discount” event I ever want to was this weird warehouse of Saks Fifth Avenue down in Maryland during my senior year in college. After that experience, I sort of swore those sales off. In short, it was terrifying. Waiting on a line of antsy women who then literally sprint into the stale sales room with water-stained carpeting to snatch up as many deals as possible is not my idea of fun. Call me crazy, but part of the reason I like to shop is the experience, especially when buying luxury items. I would much rather sip my coffee and slowly peruse the racks or window displays than fight over a Longchamp bag with some overly tan woman in a Juicy velour sweatsuit who reeks of cigarettes.
But during my first few weeks working in Midtown and reading NYC blogs and such, I stumbled upon sites like TopButton.com that were all gung-ho about the sample sale. I was curious to see how these sales may be different from my traumatizing experience. The first one I went to was a Diane Von Furstenberg sale with my friend Nikki–and it was a eye-opening experience. Cramped quarters, racks of clothing with tiny aisles so that you have to become-one-with the clothes for people to pass you, a “dressing room” which was just a big room with mirrors and a guy counting down the 90 seconds you had to try on the 30 articles of clothing that you dragged in there. Sheer craziniess. I never saw so many strangers in their thongs, which brings me to sample sale rule #1: prepare to take your clothes off in front of strangers. Unless you are an exhibitionist, do not wear your super lacy or really old unmentionables to a sample sale because chances are, you will not be trying on clothes in a regular dressing room. Super time saver–wear thin layers that you can throw dresses or tops over and avoid the try-on line completely.
#2) It pays to be, how should we say, “un-petite.” I am a slender person, but I am not a size 2 which works incredibly to my advantage because when I got to this year’s Diane von Furstenberg sample sale, most of the women who were on the line (that literally stretched around the block) were all teeny, tiny Asian women. As annoying as the line was, and as hysterical as the inside of the sample space was, not only were all these women fighting over the Thumbelina sizes, but if I had to, I could just stampede over them to my part of the rack.
#3) Do your research. I already knew my size in DVF before I went, and I stuck to the styles of clothing, like the wrap dresses, that I know fit me really well. I actually did go out on a limb and bought two styles that I never tried on before, but luckily, they fit amazingly! No try on line=me flying over to the check-out line to buy five dresses that normally would have cost around $1,500 to $2,000 for only $825. I still had to fight back a seizure when I handed over my credit card, but two of the dresses were for my mom, which brings up rule #4: while it can be fun and exhilarating to share the sample sale experience, if you offer to shop for anyone, make sure they are the same size as you. Grab whatever you like, and then the two of you can decide who fits what best.
Without the time I waited on the line to get in, which was only about 15 min, I was in and out of the sample sale in half an hour, tops. I spent the next 20 minutes leisurely walking to work, swinging my bag of DVF dresses in a no-frills white shopping bag. I was distracted for the rest of the day.