• Lindsay Rootare

Making the Most of a NYC Sample Sale


Broad City is an over the top comedy, but....this sample sale depiction is not inaccurate!

I love a good sample sale! Confused? You're thinking the Hand Me Up Club is all about sustainable fashion, how could I be sample sale crazed?! Well, contrary to the name and concept behind "sample" sales, there are actually sample sales (read: mass, warehouse-like sales) happening all year long for sustainable brands, like Reformation, Jill Stuart Vintage, A Peace Treaty, Rent the Runway and more!


The RTR sample sale is always a big one; crazy lines, manic pop up changing rooms, and designer formalwear going from $40-200 a gown - such a steal! With the next RTR sample sale on the horizon for next week, here are a few of my tips to make the most of your sustainable sample sale experience.


1) Do your research and prep!

Nothing is worse than finding out a big sample sale is starting the day after you decided to treat yourself to a nice brunch or depop bender, eliminating your splurge budget before the big sale! Websites like Chicmi and Sample Sally have the big sales listed well in advanced so you can save and spend wisely to take advantage of the best deals. Also, make sure to search the brand on Poshmark/Depop/eBay/etc beforehand, while a sustainable sample sale is awesome, if you see items are going for even less in the resale market than the prices at the sale, save your cash and choose the reused options!


2) Wear a bodysuit!

Preferably a nude one, if possible (Helps with the illusion of trying on items with cutouts, etc). Many, many sample sales will not have a changing location, meaning if you want to try something to see if it fits, you have to throw it on while huddling in a corner. If you don't want to give a free skin show to staff and security lurking around, a bodysuit makes it easy to try things on without having to complete strip in public. Similarly, layers are NEVER your friend at a sample sale. Dress wisely!


3) Get a phone case with a wallet/card compartment.

First thing when you enter a sample sale will be the bag/coat check, you'll have to check all bags and coats (Don't forget your wallet or phone in your purse or you'll have to wait in another line to get it back before you can check out!), make it easier on yourself by adding your credit card (Most sample sales nowadays are credit card only, pop ups love a good Square reader) to your phone case so you only have to keep eyes on one item, and an item you can shove in your bra/bodysuit to easily stay hands free while combing through the racks.


4) Dress for utility!

As mentioned above, wear a bodysuit and do not wear layers. I would also suggest going laceless with your shoes and wearing brightly colored footwear. When trying to toss on a pair of pants, it speeds up the whole process if you're not trying to balance on one foot while untying your shoelaces. - And by the end of the sale, or if you are in a changing area, there will be clothes piled on the floor everywhere. If you wear a brightly colored shoe, it will be easier to find and spot, even as people throw discarded items on top of them. As always, opt for a flat or low heel, as the line to get in to a big ticket sample sale can be LONG (For the last Reformation sale, I waited close to 2 hours!).


5) Figure out your priorities for the sale.

Are you going for best selection or best prices?

If you want the best selection, go on Day 1, but if you want the best prices, go on the last day for even bigger discounts and sales.


6) Be aware of the brands on site!

While a sample sale may be marketed as one brand, many times there will be little pods of other brands included. If you are trying to shop sustainably, do not assume every brand in the sale shares your ethics and make sure to check tags!


7) Be polite!

We've all seen that selfish fashionista; don't be her! That means don't hog the mirrors (and don't stand so close no one else can use them), don't hoard items, don't steal from other shopper's piles, don't elbow staff restocking racks, don't drop items on the floor. We all came to get a killer wardrobe, not die from stress, so do your best to be respectful. -Even take it a step further by taking a pic of the price list and posting it publicly for other prospectives shoppers of the sale to know what to plan for!


I'm already limbering up and ready to take the RTR sample sale by storm, I'll see you there in my nude bodysuit, slip on colorful shoes, with a smile on my face! Do you have a favorite sustainable sample sale? Let me know!