Here’s the Full Lowdown on Shopping Sample Sales

In addition to vintage shopping, sample sales are my new favorite way to get unique merchandise (particularly in tall sizing) at a discount; I’ve gotten great deals.

If you’re a sample sale newbie, no problem! Check out the full lowdown on shopping sample sales for all the important tidbits to know before you go.

theresa on the town - lowdown on shopping sample sales

What is a sample sale?

Sample sales are used by stores and brands to get rid of excess (brand new) inventory, typically offered at a discount. The term ‘sample sale’ is used to describe true sample sales (samples for upcoming/recent collections that may not be sellable via retail), as well as warehouse sales (merchandise left over from previous seasons).

Where are They located?

They take place frequently in NYC, as well as in LA, San Francisco, and London. Sales are generally held in the brands’ showrooms or design studios but, sometimes, they are outsourced to vendors (such as 260SAMPLESALE) who hold them in warehouse spaces.

Also, some brands have online sample sales (Tibi recently had one, with up to 80% off). Gilt and The Outnet are popular sample sale sites; they sell new items, marked down at 70-75% off.

theresa on the town - lowdown on shopping sample sales

Elie Tahari (Elie Tahari Outlet)

theresa on the town - lowdown on shopping sample sales

Mackage (Mackage Studio)

How often are sample sales held?

Everyday (atleast in NYC). Some sales last for days, while others are one day only. The frequency varies according to the brand. Some have them once a year, while others do them bi-annually.

How does the pricing work?

It depends on the sale. Many times, the price is a flat discount off the retail price and the discount may vary depending on the item. For example, pants are 50% while tops are 75% off. Other times, items are a fixed price.

Unfortunately, there are no secrets (that I know of) to get deals beyond the prices as marked.

how can i pay?

You can research ahead of time on these sites but, normally, cash and credit.

Can i try on the merchandise?

Yep, but don’t expect individual fitting rooms….atleast not in NY! The fitting rooms are communal. In other words, an empty room/space sectioned off by a curtain with multiple people changing.


Check out other posts from the “Are You Sample Sale Savvy” series:

Also I write reviews after attending the sample sales that you can find on Sample Sally. Enjoy!

Subscribe to the Theresa On The Town email list to get these gems and other exclusive features delivered to your inbox!

Join the Townie Movement!

Receive our free newsletter for insider features, giveaways, fashion tips & tricks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *