Discount City: Your Guide To Navigating A Sample Sale

Sample and warehouse sales are fabulous. I mean, I went to one last weekend and wound up with a dress that was originally marked at $500 for just $75. No brainer, right?

The thing about these massive sales, though, is that they are extremely hit or miss. Sometimes you’ll walk into one and just see a series of garments and accessories that make you wrinkle your nose and go “wtf?” Seriously, sometimes it really is too good to be true – the only reason certain items end up selling for a small fraction of their original price is that absolutely no one ever wanted them. But you definitely can have great success at a big last-ditch sale.

Here are some tips:

Some ladies are just going to have better luck than others. For example, if you wear a medium, you’re not likely to find many wardrobe items left in your size for obvious reasons. Same goes for girls with feet sized 7-9.

If you have exceptionally small or large feet, go to any and all sample/warehouse sales. Shoes are usually the highlight of the whole thing and you will have a lot to choose from if you wear an unusual size. I’m guessing this is because you can make an item of clothing that doesn’t fit perfectly work (more on this later) whereas shoes actually need to be the right size, so people are unlikely to snag a pair the first time they go on sale unless they’re the exact right size.

When walking in to one of these sales, attack accessories and shoes first. Since they’re laid out in a way that makes each piece visible, they go faster than clothes, which are hung on racks. It goes without saying that you should grab anything you have even the slightest bit of interest in buying; if you let anything out of your site, you’re at risk of losing it. Set a budget for yourself before heading inside and make sure you stick to it by dropping the pieces you are least excited by whenever you think you’re in danger of going over budget.

If you can, bring an extra large bag with you to stash everything in. If that’s against the rules, ask someone on staff if they have one you can use.

Scan clothing racks on your first pass. Don’t waste too much time looking at each individual piece – just focus on identifying colors and fabrics that catch your eye the first time around. If you time left over after this, go through piece by piece.

Grab pieces even if they aren’t your size – especially if they’re a size larger. Now is not the time for worrying about what the size tag on your dress says. If you’re normally a 4 but the dress you love is an amazing price and is only available in an 8, grab and worry about tailoring it later. On the other hand, if you don’t see your size out, it never hurts to ask someone who is working the sale if they have additional pieces in storage.

Backtracking a bit: Prepare for what’s coming at you by dressing forthe occasion. If it’s nice out, a dress is the way to go. You can slip it on and off easily when trying on items. Shoes that are easy to slide in and out of are essential too. Don’t bother with accessories or sunglasses. Carry a cross body bag to keep your hands free. Most important tip: be sure to wear full-coverage underwear because changing rooms are usually just one large room with a million people stripping together.

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