One of the glories of NYC is that you never have to pay retail on fashion and homeware goods provided you shop in a canny way. All you have to do really is take advantage of how the fashion cycle happens. The fashion industry works on a 6 month cycle with designers putting out 2 collections per year. It’s relentless and so designers big and small, high end and mid range have to clear out unsold stock and samples relevant to the last cycle and start on the new one. Provided you know where to look you can benefit from 60-90% reductions on these fashion items.
The whole sample sale philosophy get applied to shoes and other accessories like jewelry and also to homewares of all kinds. So how do you find out when sample sales are on and buy up that delicious coat or handbag you couldn’t afford before. The trick is to get on the right email lists and learn to to keep an eye on the right websites. Keep an eye on this site Racked New York. It has good listings of sample sales though there is no site that has totally comprehensive listings. Next go to the websites of your favorite designers for e.g. Georgio Armano, Vivian Westwood, Tusk etc and see if you can sign up for an email alert related to their sample sales. This site Lazar shopping puts out relatively comprehensive listings and you can sign up for an email alert which is useful.
The easiest way to keep track of what sample sales are on is probably to download the app shown in the video, ‘Sample Sales New York’. It’s main drawback is that it is only available through itunes and those New Yorkers with an android phone can’t get it. The best time to be tracking sample sales is a couple of months ahead of each Fashion Week in NYC. So December is prime Sample sales time because the next NYC Fashion week will be in Febraury 2015.
To get best value out of a sample sale requires a bit of preparation. You need a plan of attack. First wear flat shoes and clothes that will allow you to try on clothes without recourse to the fitting rooms which become very crowded. That means layers and tight fitting clothes, such as leggings and elastin tops. Check before you go about how you are expected to pay. Cheques are totally out, sometimes cards are in, sometimes not, cash is always welcome. Most sample sale listings will say how they prefer to be paid. Children are out unless they are old enough to behave appropriately and pushcarts are definitely out.
To avoid just buying because the prices are so low, know what it is you are looking for before you enter. Most sample sales are held in large warehouse type spaces with racks and racks of clothing. This is about as un-Macy’s as you can get. There is no attempt to lure you into buying, the low prices do that. There is grim competition for the best pieces so get used to hanging on firmly to what you take off racks to try on. This is not casual, leisured shopping. People stream in ready to quickly sort through and grab what they want from those racks. Even if you are a tourist this is not a standard tourist destination in that you will be competing against seasoned NYC fashionistas who know their stuff so enter into the spirit of the thing and be aggressive about what you want.
You can get extremely good bvalue but don’t ever, buy what you will not wear. So do not go for passing fancies. Be focussed, know what you’re after and win by getting a great bargain. Good Luck.