We have a store right around the corner from where I work. Whenever I walk past during my lunch break, I see two long queues of women standing in front of it. It’s a Sample Sale store, one of the many here in the City. I believe Sample Sales are to date a phenomenon of New York. Certain stores here offer a discount on clothes from high-end designers. You can buy Jimmy Choo, J. Crew and other designers for a fraction of the price you would anywhere else. The idea is similar to that of an outlet: The clothes might have a flaw or are not up-to-date and can be purchased at a very good price. The merchandise might be left over or some of it was over-ordered, so that they have a high quantity left to sell at a low price.
Compared to Century 21 and other outlet stores, they offer real bargains but then also their return policy is usually non-existent. Sample sale stores can be found throughout entire Manhattan, from 8th over to 5th Avenue. Since you cannot bring back the purchases, be sure that what you buy is what your heart truly desires.
I once walked into a Sample Sale right off of 7th Avenue. My coworker had found the cutest skirts, dresses, and tops for altogether probably less than 20 dollars. It was summer, so I found it just the right time to spice up my wardrobe. However, while she had done her shopping the week before, the store now offered itchy woolen sweaters and fall fashion. Not exactly what I had been looking for. These stores change their products very fast, as they tend to sell out fast and then have new items delivered to them. Be sure to get what you want instantaneously once you see it, otherwise it might be gone the next day (this is a rule of thumb for almost every store in New York, by the way).
Sample Sales are owned by the funkiest and most diverse people you can imagine. From Jewish over African to unknown designers – you have quite an array to choose from and even more aspects to look out for. For example when my Polish friend wanted to try on a coat one fall afternoon. She has a very thick accent and was recognized as foreign instantaneously. The African seller tried to offer her a price much higher than she had the two American girls before us. What a fail! Of course this is not only refined to Sample Sale stores, so be careful of being ripped off all over New York.
And that one specific Sample Sale I still walk by almost every other day? Well, one spring afternoon I wanted to see what it is all about. They weren’t so strict about taking my purse in, so I enjoyed walking from stand to stand. From Rebecca Minkoff shoes and handbags to silk fleece tank tops – they had a nice collection of designers who usually cost a few hundred dollars. Young women were all over the place, touching the fine leather merchandise and squeezing their toes into patent high heels. The prizes were a bargain, with only 40 dollars and up for a handbag – not bad for an average of $300 to $700 the brand usually wants for these high-end purses.
Other sample sales stores offer an even better price but then their shoes or dessous are only a specific size. Usually not the size
the average person I have. My coworker, who is very much into fashion, came across a store which offered Miu Miu products for a true “bargain”: Instead of a few thousand dollars, their shoes were “only” two hundred and their accessoires even ran cheaper than 100 bucks. She likes to spend money on fancy things (where she takes the money from is still a mystery to me as her paycheck definitely does not cover her exquisite expenses).
Sample Sales are truly great for those fashion addicts under you who can appreciate a real deal from high-end designers and who don’t mind standing in a line that can take a few hours until you are let into the store. They are also great for just browsing through the expensive merchandise and not being the only customer in the store. Just another amenity New York offers in abundance. If you are a female and into good looks you might feel obliged to drop into one of these stores on your visit to New York!