2017 Update: This is still a fun discussion on the best sample sale sites as they existed in 2011 — but you may want to check out our more recent discussion of which flash sale sites are still worth checking out (and what to buy) in 2017.
Fashion websites were excited last week about the American opening of Vente-Privee, a new sample sale site (started in Paris, opened in America in partnership with American Express, Calvin Klein collection on sale today, etc, etc), and Bluefly’s just announced they’re getting in the game with the yet-t0-launch Belle & Clive (click both links for invites). However, as the trend has gotten older, the bloom is off the rose for many of the sample sale sites — the NYT just had an article about how better deals can be found elsewhere, and I’ve even attended fashion-type events where brands admit that they are now producing lines just for the sample sale sites (so kind of like factory stores, except less well marked). I thought today might be a good time to have an open thread about the GOOD about sample sale sites — which are your favorites? What are the best things you’ve gotten from them?
For my own $.02… I like that the sample sale sites put things in front of me that I may not have noticed, and probably would not have considered in the store at a higher price. Some of my best purchases:
- James Perse shirts for my husband. Rue La La had a sale years ago on James Perse and I got him one white tee at a much higher price than I would normally pay for a white tee for him — $30!! — and it has become such a favorite that we now buy them whenever they go on sale at Nordstrom.
- Portolano cashmere slippers (with mink details!) for me from Rue La La. I bought these just when I was transitioning from the law firm to the non-profit, and probably shouldn’t have spent the $50 or whatever I spent on them… but ohmygod they’ve been amazing. Supersoft knit, fuzzy fur, leather bottoms… the knit is worn down in the heel area so they look pretty scruffy now, but the comfort is still there so I continue to wear them. (Bluefly has some cashmere slippers on sale right now — no mink details to be found, though.)
- A Momeni rug for my son’s room from Hautelook. My husband is a leeetle bit space-obsessed, and I thought it was a fun theme for a nursery, so we bought a dark blue rug with robots and spaceships on it. At the time that I bought it, I figured quality was a gamble, but considering it would probably be covered in spit-up and worse it didn’t matter. I’ve been really pleasantly surprised with the quality, though — it has a nice high, soft pile; it cleans easily (enough); and it hasn’t left too much new-rug-fuzz all over the apartment. Kohl’s has the same rug (but not in the size that we got).
- Hot Rocks earrings from Ideeli with moonstone/silver accents. These have become my new go-to earrings for casual events — I love that the moonstone color is primarily a milky white (great for standing out against my dark brown hair) but changes color when the light hits it. (I’m not 100% sure that’s the brand’s name, but that’s how it’s listed on the order info in my account.) (Endless has a similar pair, but mine were much much (much) less than that!)
- Happy Socks from Gilt Groupe — this was a middle-of-the-night splurge for myself (I think from the men’s section!) but I love my crazy-hued socks. They’re also sold at Madewell.
Readers, which are your favorite sites? How religiously do you stalk the sales? What have been some of your best purchases?