1) The early birds get the juiciest luxury worms.
You should try to get to the sample as soon as possible if you want the best selection. Yes, you might be able to haggle a lower price at the end of the sale but by then you’ll be lucky if you can even find something you like. Go early and then go back later if you want to – most sales last a few days.
2) Don’t just stick to the clothing racks featuring your size.
Sample sales are crazy. Very crazy. Staff members are often busy running around the floor and items might be misplaced. It is wise to take a quick peek at the racks for items ones size above and below your own. Also, in some cases, the tag may have fallen off of the item. If the piece of clothing was a sample it, may come in size 8UK or 10UK (US 4/6) and could be placed on either the size 8 or size 1o rack.
3) Visit the dressing room racks.
Did I mention that these sales are crazy? Clothes move to and from the racks all of the time. Take a moment to see if the dress room castoff rack has an item you saw and liked in your size. At the most recent sample sale that I attended I thought they were bringing out new racks of clothing only to find out that these items were the dressing room “no go’s” from other attendees. This meant I was able to see many more items in my size.
4) Don’t wear any makeup.
You don’t need to look fancy. Go with a freshly scrubbed face and maybe some tinted gloss or lip stain. No one wants your makeup all over the clothing – it’s gross. It also means high dry cleaning bills for the person who might ultimately buy the piece.
5) Wear the right undergarments.
Sample sales generally have one big dressing room. That’s right, you are going to have to change in front of everyone. This is the time to pull out your nice undergarments and wear them. I know, I know. No one should be looking around, but let’s face it – you probably won’t feel as confident stripping down. It’s also important to consider the undergarment style. I recommend wearing a strapless bra or nipple covers and thong that match your skin tone. I really like Calvin Klein for undergarments because they last a long time and come in a number of skin tones. This means you can quickly try on range of items and get a sense of whether they work for you. It can be hard to make a decision with a patterned bra, straps and underwear lines impacting the look.
6) Ask for more details.
The staff at the sample sale are there to help you. Find out if you can you put items on hold, see if there are additional shipments coming into the sample sale, ask whether they have seen the item you liked in another size. Squeaky wheels get grease! The more you know, the better your shopping experience will be.
7) Don’t forget about online sample sales.
Going to a sample sale can be a lot of fun but it isn’t for everyone. There are lots of great opportunities to take advantage of online sample or flash sales on sites like Gilt Groupe, Brand Alley and TK Maxx (TJ Maxx for those in the USA). While you won’t be able to try on the clothes, it is a great way to check out designer styles without much effort.