Have designer tastes without the designer budget? Luckily there’s a way to get that pair of Jimmy Choos or Stella McCartney suit without maxing out your credit card. They’re called Sample Sales and they give you the chance to buy clothing and accessories with discounts of 20% to 90% off RRP.
You can get some real bargains at sample sales but if you don’t keep your wits about you, it’s also easy to end up with something you don’t really want, or to buy something that’s not such a great bargain after all.
Here are our tips to getting the most from sample sales in London:
1. Know your sales
You won’t get any bargains if you don’t know about the sales in the first place. LDNfashion keeps a directory of London sample sales by designer and it’s also worth signing up for the email newsletter of your favourite designers so you’ll be the first to know about any flash sales.
2. Arrive Early
The best bargains will disappear fast so it’s important to be one of the first in. If you’re attending a sample sale for a highly sought-after designer, be prepared to turn up well before opening time and take your place in the queue.
3. Try before you buy
Clothing sizes can vary considerably between different designers and you really can’t trust the size that’s printed on the label if you aren’t already familiar with that sizing scheme. You also can’t assume that the retouched dress that looked amazing on the model on the website will fit as beautifully on you. Returns are generally not permitted at sample sales so make sure you try on all items before you part with your cash.
4. Wear tight fitting clothing
It’s common for sample sales either to have makeshift public dressing rooms or not have any dressing rooms at all. If there are dressing rooms, there’s likely to be a long wait. To save your time and modesty, dress in leggings and a vest top so you can try on items over your own clothing.
5. Team up
Shopping with a friend or two is not only more fun but you’ve got more chance of nabbing the best bargains if you spread out. Your friend can also act as the voice of reason if you’re contemplating buying that pair of 3-sizes-too-small-jeans and slimming into them later.
6. Ask for reductions on imperfect items
If you notice a loose button, a torn seam or another imperfection that’s easily repaired, try asking for a further reduction on the sale price.
7. Check prices online as you shop
Sample sale prices are not always as great as they seem. It’s worth searching on your smartphone before you buy, just in case you can get the same item online with a greater reduction.
8. Bring cash
Not all sample sales accept cards and they’re unlikely to hold items for you while you run to the cash machine. Make sure you bring enough cash – this is also a good way to budget and ensure you don’t go crazy in the face of so many discounts.
9. Set a budget
As we just mentioned, shopping a sample sale without a budget is a great way to burn through your money. Set yourself a reasonable budget and stick to it to avoid buyer’s remorse later. If you’ve gone in to treat yourself to a particular item you’ve had your eye on all season, don’t get distracted by everything else, unless you can afford it.
10. Don’t buy anything you don’t love
It’s easy to get caught up in the adrenaline and excitement of a sale but this can result in you walking out with a bag full of clothes you’ll never wear. Don’t buy anything just because it has a large discount – make sure it fits you well and you’re sure you’ll wear it before you buy.