For anyone who loves bargains, shopping sample sales is one of the most thrilling experiences, or it’s exhausting, overwhelming and disappointing. If you’re a newbie to getting your hands on designer fashion at a steal then follow our easy tips to come away with an amazing new wardrobe to brag about, rather than with nothing except a few bruises from the athletic shopper in front of you in the queue. We asked some of the organisers of our favourite sample sales to share their advice.
1. Do your research before you go
Get to know the brand who are hosting the sell, research the pieces that you like and seek them out at the sale. “Always check the brands website before you go to the sample sale,” says Hayley Mitchell, Marketing Assistant at French Connection, who have their next sale from 3rd – 5th June in Camden. “Make a wish list of some of your favourite pieces and keep your eye out for these at the sale.”
2. Know what you’re getting yourself in for
If you like to go shopping in beautiful boutiques with attentive customer service, sample sales aren’t for you. “Be prepared for queues and a very busy room full of other shoppers,” advises Guy Lowman, Event Delivery Manager at The Music Room, one of the most popular venues for sample sales in London. Don’t expect helpful staff, beautifully presented clothing or changing rooms but you can expect amazing discounts.
3. Avoid busy times
However, if you’re able to arrive at a less popular time, you could have a much quicker and stress-free shopping trip. Lowman recommends avoiding before work, lunchtime and after work.
4. First thing on the first day is usually the best time
To get the best buys, arrive first thing on the first day if you can. That is when there will be the most choices available. While the majority of sample sales mostly carry stock is in smaller sizes, there are usually a few pieces of clothing in larger sizes but they tend to go quickly, as do accessories. “The first day and early will always be the best time to go, but if you can’t make it down on the first day, think about getting there early on another day so you don’t miss out,” suggests Mitchell.
5. Bring a friend.
In a high-stress environment, a second opinion from a friend is vital says Sini Moilanan, designer at Tramp in Disguise, whose next sample sale takes place on 18th and 19th June in Camberwell. “It is easier to make quick decisions with someone who can give you an honest opinion,” she explains.
6. Think carefully before buying
Remember: it’s not a bargain if you only wear it once. Especially if you haven’t got a friend with you for a second opinion, ask yourself a few questions before you hand over your cash. “Think what you would wear it with? Do you already have something in your wardrobe you can pair it with?” advises Moilanan. “Think whether you would be interested in the garment also when it’s not on sale. Do not buy anything just for the reason it is greatly discounted.”
7. Dress for the occasion
No we don’t mean your biggest designer heels. “If you need to try anything on it’s a good idea to be wearing thin layers. A cross-body bag is always a great idea so you’re hands-free and ready to shop,” recommends Mitchell. There are often no changing rooms so wear something that you can slip stuff over the top of to avoid buying something that doesn’t fit.
8. Bring cash and cards
“At sample sales the only way to pay is often with cash,” explains Moinanan. Set yourself a budget and don’t take out more cash than that. Some sample sales accept cards though so bring them just in case, but be careful not to lose track of how much you’re spending!
9. Try different sales
Don’t just stick to the brands you know, lots of independent designers or agencies run group sales where you can discover exciting new names and pick up good quality clothing for a fraction of the price. Remember to research them before you go.
10. Sign up to the LDNfashion.com newsletter
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