to shop / surviving nyc sample sale season

The months of October through December in New York City are absolutely crazy with sample sales. The term “sample sale” is used rather loosely as many manufacturers just sell overstock and don’t sell true samples. Temptations are abound. I don’t go to many because I’m lazy, not to mention, time during this time of year is also precious. Here is a quick recap:

1) Yves Saint Laurent – The prices at this one get ridiculous towards the end. The lines are also crazy. You’ll learn quickly that women cut and sometimes you may have to too. A hilarious (Jersey) woman who was in line with me told me how she paid a Missoni x Target hoarder in a Target store $50 for two girls’ ponchos. And then she had to pay again when she checked out. Her daughters didn’t like the ponchos. Tough crowd.

I accidentally grabbed a pair of shoes with two right shoes and got back refunded before the sale closed – they couldn’t find the left, so I think a woman must have gone home with two left shoes. They reluctantly gave me a full refund. I also took advantage of bypassing the line with my mishap and checked out what was available — nothing much at that point, but if you stuck around there were $10 belts.

Flats were marked down to $50. Satin heels were marked down to $50. All other heels were $100. Ready to wear was marked another 75% off (I think). I picked up a silk print skirt for $75 with an price tag of $875. I have no idea what season it’s from. Unfortunately, the skirt is about negative three dozen cupcakes from fitting comfortably.

Was the sale worth it? I ended up selling or eBaying most of my bounty. If I’ve learned anything recently, it is to be timely about getting rid of items I don’t want. I couldn’t find flats in my size.




2) Repetto – Repetto’s US distributor got a bunch of boutiques together for this sale, but the center stage was Repetto’s. This sale doesn’t get much publicity so I have no idea how much stock was there on day one, but whatever day I went was pretty good. Samples were $60. While there were tons of samples in FR 37 (US 6), there was also a random selection of samples in other sizes. More current styles were $100, which in my opinion, is still very decent. The purses went so fast. There was a huge variety of styles. Not all styles fit the same, but typically Repetto runs one size small. The staff were friendly and helpful.



I found the Nikolai Patent Oxford in Puce in the sample bin and another on the non-37 table. One pair went to a friend who commented on them in a post ages ago. The other pair are a size too big for me. I’m not sure if I can add enough padding to size it down a full size.


I found a few good pairs, but my favorite were the BB patent ballerinas in flamme. I was very surprised to see such a classic style/color there. One shoe was MIA, but persistence paid off. All in all. This sale was worth it.

Sure, the YSL shoes were such a good deal, but I get much more wear out of comfortable heels or flats. I couldn’t justify keeping the YSL’s after the Repetto sale.

3) Natori / Josie Natori / N by Natori – This was by far the best sale. I’ve eyed Josie Natori’s ready to wear at the department stores for ages (so much delicate lace!), so I was ecstatic that they had an entire room dedicated to ready to wear. Most of the items were priced $20 and capped out at $50. Persistence and timing was key. It was hard to try on items there (many of these are true samples without sizes), but I was easily relieved of anything that didn’t fit well – thanks, friends. Natori is also known for their lingerie. I inherited a pile someone else who was my size left behind. The staff is also fantastic here. Here’s a snapshot of the tops/slips/skirts/dresses I got.

This Natori cowlneck dress retails for $325 and is current season. I’d gotten something similar from Uniqlo in the past, but needless to say, the quality of Natori was much better.

And this silk arata dress was also current season and retailed for $450!

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1 comment
  1. Jin said:

    Your persistence and dedication to the art of shopping is awe inspiring! I think i’ve mentioned before how envious i am of you new yorkers and the bevy of sample sales you are exposed to. Pat on the back for you for all the awesome finds!

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