How to Find Sample Sales Explained & Why They’re Worth It – WWD

Getting a better deal on designer merchandise might be easier than you think. Sample sales are staged year-round by a bevy of brands, boutiques and major retailers, meaning that there’s no wrong time to save on new items.

Ahead, all of your questions about sample sales answered.

What is a sample sale?

Retailers stage sample sales to get rid of excess merchandise. While many focus on clothing, there are also sample sales for beauty and accessories.

How do you find designer sample sales?

While some sample sales are invite-only, there are plenty of options open to the public. Retailers such as Miista and Dover Street Market make information about upcoming sample sales available on social media or email newsletters, but others prefer to keep details on the down-low.

In that case, you can visit websites like 260 Sample Sale, Eclipse or Clothingline Sample Sales, which regularly post upcoming dates and times for sample sales from a variety of brands, including designer labels. Subscribe to their email lists to get the latest information on new sample sales near you. If all else fails, you can also try searching elsewhere online for sample sales in your area.

Do sample sales save you money?

Sample sales are a great way to shop for discounted items. While the scale of markdowns varies from sale to sale, it’s safe to say that a sample sale item will be cheaper than buying it at full price. However, it should be noted that sample sale stock may be limited to certain sizes, styles or colors, as it’s generally considered leftover merchandise.

How do sample sales work?

Sample sales typically take place across two or three days. Many times, they’re open for several hours each day, meaning there are plenty of opportunities to shop. During peak hours, you may have to wait in line before entering. It’s recommended that you show up as close to the opening of the sale as possible, as a lot of merchandise often gets purchased within the first few hours.

While sample sales take place all year, some are pegged to specific seasons, as this is when retailers typically update their stock.

Which luxury brands host sample sales?

There are plenty of designer labels, including Hermès, Manolo Blahnik and The Row, that host sample sales.

The Hermès sample sale is a private event, meaning you’re unlikely to gain entry without an official invite. It typically takes place in New York City each fall, and features an array of heavily discounted accessories including jewelry and scarves.

Manolo Blahnik’s sample sale is the perfect time to get the brand’s coveted pumps at prices as low as $120. This sample sale is open to the public, so you should expect to wait in line. Make sure to bring a credit card, too, since they don’t take cash. Like the Hermès sale, it occurs in New York City sometime in the fall.

260 Sample Sale hosts sample sales for a variety of high-end brands, including luxury loaner Rent the Runway and labels like Alice + Olivia, Theory, LoveShackFancy, J. Crew, Ted Baker and James Pearse. Check the website for upcoming dates in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago. 260 Sample Sale also allows you to shop the sales online.

Are there bridal sample sales?

Kleinfeld, the famed boutique featured on “Say Yes to the Dress,” has its own sample sale for brides looking to save on their big day. You’ll need to book an appointment on Kleinfeld’s website in order to attend the annual event, which typically takes place in New York City each spring, and you’re allowed a plus one. Dresses start at $299, while accessories including veils, jewelry and headpieces start at $29.

Are there sample sales for home goods?

Brands like Diptyque and Brooklinen host sample sales if you’re in need of some new decor. Diptyque’s sample sale, held in New York City during the summer, features discounted candles, diffusers and body products.

Brooklinen’s sample sales take place in both New York City and Los Angeles, usually in spring or summer. Get your hands on marked-down bedding, towels, candles, loungewear and more.

What do you wear to a sample sale?

There is no exact dress code for sample sales, so they’re the perfect opportunity to embrace your personal style.

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