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Shopping utopia: The secret world of sample sales

Sample sales are often seen as the Mecca of shopping–not only can you score designer duds for a steal, but sample sales are also know for their elusiveness. So finding one gives you a sneak-peek and a chance to get what’s hot before everyone else–sounds pretty spectacular, right? Well for those of us not living in New York City, it seems that sample sales will just remain a fantasy–or maybe not! Nowadays all you need is the internet, and you too can shop like a fashion insider. So if you want to find designer steals, read on!

designer dress

Check out these sites, for an in to incredible sample sales, both in person and online:

  • Gilt has online sample sales for designers such as Alessandro Dell’Acqua, Zac Posen and Vivienne Tam. The sample sales are each one day long, and merchandise–which is priced 50 to 75% off–goes quickly, so be sure to get there right at the start. Sales are limited to Gilt members, and membership is free but limited to referrals from existing users. Email for information.
  • Another online members-only joint, Planet Lulu offers apparel and accessories at 50 to 75% below retail price. Membership here is also free and requires only filling out a form. Lulu is only open a few days each month, so stay on the ball so you don’t miss out on the savings!
  • HauteLook is making quite the splash. Membership is free and open at this site, which has 12-48 hour online sales with offerings discounted up to 75%. Their Tracy Reese sale had dresses starting at $112 and shirts priced as low as $86.
  • The Art of Shopping includes both information on their upcoming physical sample sales, which take place in New York City, as well as a periodically open online shop. Their multi-brand sample sales feature goods at a 40-90% discount and have included brands such as True Religion, Ella Moss and Juicy Couture in the past.
  •, a massive fashion and shopping site, has a database of sample sales including sales in New York and Los Angeles as well as sales and promotions on the web.
  • The popular DailyCandy e-newsletter and site has topics ranging from food to technology to shopping and sample sales are sometimes thrown in. While you currently cannot sign up to receive only sample sale notices, you can sign up for DailyCandy Deals, which places promotions for DailyCandy subscribers in your inbox every Tuesday.

More sample shopping tips and sites

This list is by no means exhaustive. Fashion blogs, such as myfashionlife and thebudgetfashionista, often list sample sales, sometimes even providing invites to exclusive ones! And of course the world wide web spans the world so be sure to Google “your location + sample sale” to see what pops up!

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