Flashy designer stores with spare racks of clothing are highly visible in New York City, luring in locals and visitors with their impeccable styling and on-trend pieces. While these stores have their pleasures, savvy New Yorkers that want their money to go further depend on one thing: sample sales.
Sample sales are crowded. They don’t have even a fraction of glamour. But they do offer significant discounts on designer clothes — from classic pieces that will serve as the foundation of your wardrobe to more on-trend seasonal items. Attending a sample sale is a quintessential New York City experience. You will need to arrive early, most likely wait in a long line, and quickly scan the racks amidst other stylish fashionistas seeking the best of the lot.
Here are three of the top, most dependable sample sales in the Big Apple. Go in with an idea of what you’re looking for, and leave without your wallet being too much lighter.
Before your trip to New York, check out Clothingline, where all of the city’s upcoming sample sales will be listed. Located in the Garment District, this location consistently features beloved brands and designers such as Theory, J.Crew, and Cynthia Rowley. Expect 50 to 80 percent off retail prices, but no frills when it comes to the experience. There are no private dressing rooms — so be prepared to try on clothes in a big communal space or know your size in a particular designer. Highly anticipated upcoming sample sales include Theory and Helmut Lang (between July 22 and 25), so check back on the site for a more finalized schedule.
260 Sample Sale
In a bit more glamorous location on Fifth Avenue, 260 Sample Sale (at 260 Fifth Avenue) offers weeklong sales on a wide range of brands and designers from Diane von Furstenberg to Madewell to La Perla lingerie. Each sample sale is focused on one particular brand — you won’t find a mix of different designers here at one time. The lines can be long and the space inside crowded, but you will find racks of beautiful designer items at seriously discounted prices (percentages vary based on each designer). Follow along on Twitter for the latest updates on sales, kicking off again in the beginning of August.
Privé Designer Sales
In Chelsea Market, Privé Designer Sales offers discounts on a variety of designers for clothes, shoes, and accessories including Elie Tahari, Bruno Magli, Michael Kors, James Perse, Penguin, and more. Check back at the website for the latest details on sales that offer up to 70 percent off retail prices on items for both men and women. This is one of the few places that also offers seasonal multi-brand sample sales, bringing together items from a range of designers in one place.
Photos courtesy of 260 SAMPLE SALE