There are good sample sales and there are glamorous sample sales and Everyday Glamour Chicks, (E.G.C.’s), know the difference. E.G.C.’s only concern themselves with the cream of the crop, glamorous sample sales.
The first step is to be in the know. You must know where the glamorous sample sales are if you are to be a real E.G.C. Forget subscribing to those exasperating online sample sale sites that email you every two seconds about discounted designer duds. Online sample sales are not glamorous--they are a fruitless race against time. You will surely get sucked into an online shopping vortex and you can be certain that what you do manage to buy will not fit. To know where the glamorous sample sales are, it is best to know someone who works in the fashion business. About once a year she will mention to you in passing, “Oh yeah, and we’re having a sample sale tomorrow.”
The most glamorous sample sales always occur exactly one day before you get your next paycheck. Ask your fashion insider friend what the prices will be like. A good indication that the sample sale is a glamorous one is if she responds, “The stuff will be marked anywhere between $30 and $3000. There should be some good deals.”
Glamorous sample sales are always located downtown, not in SoHo, and not quite in Tribeca. It will be located in urban nowhere land and your fashion insider friend will be sure to give you shitty directions.
On your way over to the sample sale location, you will encounter empty, quiet, creepy, abandoned downtown streets. It is recommended that you stop and ask one of the Fed Ex delivery guys standing by his truck which way to go. If he says, “Turn around!”, and you have been walking 5 minutes in the wrong direction in the blazing sun, this is a good sign. The more remote the location, the better the goodies!!
Arrive at the sample sale location, sweaty and disheveled. If it is located on a back street with zero traffic, you are definitely going to enjoy a very glamorous time! You will be sure that you have arrived at the correct location as you will spot a piece of printer paper stuck to the wall that will say, “Sample Sale”, with an arrow pointing to an old, dilapidated metal door. Push it, push it hard, it’s heavy. Enter a dark, abandoned staircase. Climb a very steep four flights with no light.
Panting at the top, you will see the light. Hallelujah. Walk in. A glamorous sample sale feels like you are in the movie the Wizard of Oz—everything starts out all boring black and white and then all of a sudden you find yourself in the wonderful Technicolor land of Oz, with cute munchkins called sample sale workers who smile at you as you walk through the door.
Always head for the shoes first. Walk smoothly. Keep it civilized. You will note that the black leather strappy heels with discreet rhinestone trim is marked down to $725. Oh. Not in the $30 range. Huh.
Ok, now for the clothing. Go to the racks and work your way all around the room, checking prices as you go, and grab up anything that is $99 and under. Here is a typical handful of clothing that you will encounter at a glamorous sample sale: two cargo pants, (an olive green and a navy), 3 cool-girl sweatshirts in varying shades of grey, a white silk Chanel-reminiscent blouse with black trim and bow, a cream and navy horizontally striped cashmere hoodie, a classic, round-necked deep purple cashmere sweater with vintage button shoulder detail, and a short, swingy denim skirt.
Keep repeating, “Where’s the fitting room? Where’s the fitting room? Excuse me, where’s the fitting room?” A couple of downtown hipster fashionistas will stare blankly at you. One of them will wake up from her trance enough to blithely point to a lone fitting box, (yes, a makeshift box made from white partitions), in the center of the room. Note the very long line. At this point your heart will sink but do not despair. Remember that you know someone who works there. She will personally escort you to the secret bathroom in the back! It will have a garment rack placed conveniently inside! Never mind that the mirror in the bathroom is so small that you can hardly make out half of your face. There are ways around this.
Try on the white silk Chanel-reminiscent blouse with black trim and bow. Walk outside. Ask the sample sale workers, “Is it cute?” Watch them nod politely. Walk farther out to the front to see yourself in the full length mirror. Note the lady who eyes you and your blouse lasciviously. She wants the blouse. She wants it bad. You can cut the tension with a knife. This is a very good sign!
Go back to the secret bathroom and try on the olive cargo pants. They will surely fall off you. Olive cargo pants at sample sales are always huge. Pull on the navy blue cargo pants. Oh, can’t pull them over your thighs? I forgot to mention. Navy blue cargo pants at sample sales are always miniscule.
Slip on the purple cashmere sweater with vintage button shoulder detail. It’s so warm. Oh my god, it’s downright HOT! That is some good quality cashmere! Run out to the front again to check yourself out. Yes! It’s a definite keeper.
Finally, slip on the cream and navy horizontally striped cashmere hoodie. Run out front and once you find your place in front of the full length mirror, be sure to swivel back and forth to admire yourself from all possible angles while squealing, “Cuuuuuuuuute!” See the lascivious lady watch you again. She is eyeing your striped hoodie. She is lusting after it.
Decide to forgo trying on the cool-girl sweatshirts in varying shades of grey. Instead, go out and place everything you definitely do not want neatly back on the racks. See the lascivious lady eye you and your stash. She wants to pounce.
Approach the register with three items that you are considering. They will most likely be variations on these three garments: a white silk Chanel-reminiscent blouse with black trim and bow, a purple cashmere sweater with vintage button shoulder detail, and a cream and navy horizontally striped cashmere hoodie. Tell the cashier that you are definitely getting the purple sweater, but you need her help choosing between Chanel-reminiscent blouse and the striped cashmere hoodie.
If the cashier is wearing something striking, like say, a black pencil skirt and a Prince of Wales exaggerated shoulder top that appears to be something that Lady Gaga would wear in the music video, Telephone, then you should trust her advise. She will tell you, “I think the hoodie is something that you will wear more often because it’s casual. The blouse is dressy, so it’s a higher cost per wear.” Ok, Gaga. You are so practical. You are so right.
Pay for the purple sweater and the horizontally striped hoodie. Watch the lascivious lady greedily pick up the Chanel-reminiscent blouse that you passed on. Shout, “That’s on hold! That’s on hold!!” Give the lascivious lady a glare. Pay for Chanel-reminiscent blouse.
Let the cashier put your stash into a plain brown paper bag. Click your ruby slippers three times and say, “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.” Descend the four flights of steep stairs with no light. Push the heavy metal door. Walk out into the blazing sun, into the quiet downtown back street of urban nowhere land. When you pass the Fed Ex delivery guy, smile, wave, and say “Thanks!"