The Hierarchy of Sample Sales and Black Friday 101 | Le Hoarder
Le Hoarder

A NYC -ish* Style and Shopping Blog

Thursday, November 23, 2017

The Hierarchy of Sample Sales and Black Friday 101

Not all sales are created equal. People always ask me how do I know which ones are the "good" ones but you have to understand - I've been sample sale-ing for over 20 years now. I probably hit my first NYC sample sale back when I was studying at F.I.T. After a while you develop an instinct for where to shop and when the deals are gonna be epic.

When you first discover sample sales, it can be overwhelming. You have to fight the urge to shop every sale and you can get yourself into real financial trouble. Luckily over the years I've honed my editing skills and while I still make a mistake or two, these days I tend to under-buy and error in the side of caution. I'm still kicking myself for not buying more $50 Tamara Mellon heels or clothing at her first couple NYC sales (read about them here and here) or more $99 furs from Elizabeth and James - they haven't had another sale like that one since.

These days the term sample sale is often misused. A true sample sale is when a brand or manufacturer sells off their previous season's samples. Real samples (often one of a kind pieces made for the runway or garments made to show to buyers) are often the best deals at any sample sale. It drives me nuts when a sale consists of stock merchandise for moderate discounts - and you can often find better deals at end of season department store sales. I always look for pieces that nobody else has (as they were never produced - like these white Rebecca Minkoff booties) for killer prices.

My favorite sales are almost always always run by the brand themselves in their showroom or a rented space. When you cut out the middle man you often get the best deals. One of my all time favorites is Jimmy Choo. The brand runs their own sale in Metropolitan Pavilion 1-2x a year and on the last day they slash prices and you can walk away with $2,000 heels for $100, $50 men's shoes, and bags and wallets for as little as $30. When discounts hit 90% or better, you're speaking my language. I know I picked up a Lockett bag at the last sale but when I saw this lil white stunner for $150 I couldn't resist.

From head to toe:

  • Sunglasses: Wildfox, gifted in Fashion Week swag bag
  • Dress: H&M, $29.99 - get it now for 20% off and free shipping with code 1662 - click here
  • Bag: Jimmy Choo, sample sale, $150 (over 90% off!)
  • Socks: Forever 21, $2.90
  • Boots: Rebecca Minkoff, sample sale $30 (not sure if these were ever produced) 

This round of pics is by my amazing 12 year old son, Akiva. He's getting pretty good, right?

You can shop my style here:

Other sales are run by companies that buy end of season goods and samples and sell them at discounted prices. Some of these companies work directly with the brands to sell - so they don't have to do it themselves. These are the middle men. They can often be hit or miss. Companies like Clothingline (look for their blowout sales!), 260 Sample Sale (not as good as they used to be), Jen X (on the expensive side but their Balenciaga sale makes it all worth it!), Shelly and Renee (I always skip because they aren't cheap enough for me) and Global Fashions (mostly slightly damaged and not well priced) all fall into this category.

And then there are the sample sale sites. Always check to see if a listing is sponsored because if they were paid to list it. you don't know how authentic their review is. At this point I'm lucky enough to  have a crew of bloggers and readers who share when something amazing happens. IMHO the site Chicmi has the most comprehensive listings right now - and they don't just cover NYC sales. Before I hit the City I'll check in there - plus I check a few of my fellow bargainistas' Instagram feeds (and stories) for updates and a peek inside the sales. Shout out to my girls LakeishaDinara and Mushkie!

And now on to Black Friday/Cyber Monday!

I have to confess that I don't really do too much for Black Friday anymore. Back in the day I used to wait for hours in the middle of the night (in the freezing cold!) to get the best deals. These days thank goodness so much of it is online! Typically when I shop I'm not much of an online girl (better deals are almost always in-store unless we are talking about a rare online glitch) but for the next few days I'm happy to shop in my PJs.

Nordstrom Rack is the on only sale that will get me out of bed in the morning. Take 30% off all red tag clearance and in past years they have had 50% off clearance dresses. Fingers crossed for some refurbished Louboutins!*

*ETA no extra discounts on dresses this year and not a single Loub in sight. Booo.

Kohls always offers extra Kohls cash this weekend ($15 for every $50 you spend) so stacked with deals and rebates it's always a win. For this and the rest of my picks you can just shop online and skip the in-store madness.

I'm always on the hunt for cheap Crocs Sexi Flips. is offering 40% off sitewide (plus some doorbusters with additional discounts) and free shipping on orders over $24.99.

Amazon will be chock full of deals this weekend! I spotted some cute Aldo bags on sale for around $50 or less that are very Gucci inspired. Click here, here and here. I also love this little glittery cutie. When buying inexpensive bags the trick is to look for texture and embroidery to make it look luxe. For example the velvet or fabric bags will always look more expensive than the pleather verisons.

More Amazon finds from this year include my air fryer and Firestick. My husband got one for me and I've been using it nonstop. I saw several on sale for under $100 and I would highly recommend grabbing one. Even my kids throw in fresh cut potatoes and make their own healthy fries. And thanks to my Firestick I don't really watch cable anymore.

I always check for refurbished deals for this sale. My T5 camera is currently on sale (but out of stock) but you can still snag a T6 for a little over $200! And I have my eye on a 24mm lens. I have the 40mm (you get crisper images with a prime lens) and I love it but I hate stepping so far back to take a shot.

You've all heard me rave about Kidpik basics before - now take 50% off sitewide plus free shipping on orders over $50. Time to stock up on inexpensive basics for your girls!

My list could go on and on but basically anywhere you want to shop - pretty much has a deal right now. Needless to say, I'll be checking all week! This is definitely the best time to shop electronics. Clothing sales are always better at the end of December/early January.

As for sample sale picks for the week, there are a few new ones that have popped up! Golden Goose will be having a one day sale with discounts up to 75%. I know it's not as inexpensive as I'd like but I really want a pair of their sneakers. They have limited quantities so get there early. A.V. Max also announced their holiday sale which is where I always stock up on jewelry gifts for $5-25! Alice and Olivia usually has great samples if you can fit a 0-6, but for stock wait for the end for discounts.

Golden Goose
November 28, 12-5
ESP Showroom, 231 W 39th St, #715*

*ETA I was informed that they are limiting purchases to 1 per customer until 4pm.

A.V. Max
December 4-8, 10-4 (open till 7 on the 5th)
39 W 38th St, 10th Fl

Alice and Olivia
December 5-10
Tues 8-8, Wed 9-8, Th 10-8, Fri 9-8, Sat 10-7, Sun 10-4
260 5th Ave

Happy shopping! Hope you had a great Turkey Day!




  1. That bag is incredible! Maybe next year is the year I finally do Jimmy Choo haha.

  2. i love your posts. i always learn so much!

  3. I absolutely LOVE shopping this time of year! So many great sales to choose from!

  4. Love love love those booties! #need

    1. LOL thanks! I've been wearing them non stop since I got them :)

  5. We found some great stuff on amazon!

  6. Thank you for explaining sample sales; I completely agree that its so easy to hear the word sale and spend money unnecessarily.

  7. Totally agree with 260 being more pricey. The recently moved some of their sample sales out to LA and while I snagged a Philip lim bag at a great price, the Rebecca minkoff sample sale was more expensive then the bags on the site! Plus I find in la the sample sales run by the brands are the best.

  8. What a helpful post! I've never been to a sample sale and always wondered the details on how to get to one. :)

    xoxo A

  9. This post is amazing - so so so helpful!

  10. I have never been to a sample sale but have always been weary of ones I've seen online! Thanks for such great tips! xx, I'm Fixin' To

  11. Simply love your bag it's so unique and fits so well with your white boots. Great Post

  12. your bag and boots are absolutely adorable!

  13. Girl, you look AMAZING!! Thanks for the sale round-up and I am LOVING those white boots!

  14. such a cozy and funky outfit i love it xo toby

  15. I believe anything you say about sales and sample sales because in my eyes you are the QUEEN! I always get discouraged at sample sales because I feel like I wait in line for so long only to end up with stuff I wasn't going to buy if it wasn't for the pressure of being at the sale and have waited so long. But there are some great deals out there. I really wish I could go to that Golden Goose sneaker sale! I have one pair and have been itching for another pair. Hope you score some kicks too! xoxo, Christine

  16. This is such great info Michelle! I always learn so much from you:)

  17. You look super cute! I love the boots and bag!


  18. This is some really cool info! Thanks for sharing!

  19. Sales have not been good this year . Better for my pockets. I do try to be more cautious of what I buy now too! I am dying for a pair of golden goose. I hope they are mostly closer to the 75% off and not a sad 50% πŸ™πŸΎπŸ™πŸΎπŸ™πŸΎ

  20. I loved learning more about true sample sales. It completely makes sense that you would find the best deals when the company host itself as opposed to having a middle man! I really am always in awe of your finds! Love these one of a kind boots as well as you bag! I can't believe the price on it! You are definitely the queen of sample sales! NR hasn't had the items that I've been looking for lately although, every now and then I'll find a great steal. I did equal in store and online shopping for black Friday and we did go to Khols. That was the only store that had really long lines. Hope you got some amazing deal this past weekend!

    Manda |

  21. Black Friday was almost overwhelming to me this year! Love how you've styled this look by the way.

    @trendyinindy ||

  22. Literally the best time to shop, thanks for sharing all of these ideas!

  23. Hey Darling,
    How are you?
    You are the Best if its about Shopping and you always make the Best Deals ever:)
    Loved the Look , the White Boots and Bag is Gorgeous:)
    Need one of those Bag:)
    Love, Open Kloset By Karina
    Wish you Happy New Week

  24. Love this outfit! So many awesome sales too!

  25. Wow! I wanna find a Jimmy Choo sample sale like that!

  26. That Jimmy choo bag is 150??? No way, there is such a huge huge bargain!! You make me so jealous and I kind of really want to go a sample sale in NYC right now!!!!! you are truly the queen of hunting good bargains!

    xx, Jessie

  27. The Sample Sales in NYC must be fantastic. I've heard so many stories about it, and you're such a lucky person being able to find the best deals ever. Unfortunately, here in Germany things work differently. But I still had a chance to upgrade my wardrobe for this season. The Jimmy Choo bag is a bomb, such a statement piece! And OMG 150??? That's crazy!

    Cheers, Eliza |

  28. Obsessed with that bag! So fabulous! You always find the best sales! I wish I lived closer!

    xo, Jennifer

    xo, Jennifer

  29. You are so fab!! Love how you pieced this together! You own it!

  30. Wow, NYers speak a different language when it comes to sample sales, lol. My mind was blown at all the different places/stores there are for sample sales. You really know your stuff girl. I wish LA was more like NY. I hear about some of the SS but it's not the same as NY. I hope to get in there one day!

  31. Hey beautiful,
    Hope you're doing well. Love love this! I didn't think there could be so many stores for sample sales! For me when I went black friday shopping, not gonna lie the deals weren't very good. I still couldn't help myself from getting a couple of things, obviously. But I would've loved to have a once-every-never kind of sale that is really really worth it. NY is one of the best places to shop in my opinion because there are so many places you can go. I adore the look, so chich and sexy yet casual. Those sunnies are so stylish!

    xoxo, vanessa

  32. Yes i can totally see that happening. I’ve been shopping on Black Friday for years with my mom. Picking what’s the best and knowing what deals are the ones to go for. I think those types of things need practice and understanding. And things have changed in the last several years. Thanks for sharing your insight as always

  33. You are the sample sale QUEEN! I just found out about Chicmi! I am based in LA, so there are not as many good sample sales as NY, but I definitely want to look into it. I like the idea of buying samples straight from the brand at their showroom. I love a good discount! Golden Goose would have been a good sale to go to!


  34. I still don't know how do you have such a good discipline to not shop all the time. I felt like a crazy person when I went to shop with you, likely I didn't have my second credit card ;) I would shop more haha.
    Love your Rebecca Minkoff boots, they look so cute.

  35. I love reading your posts!
    As I love a good sale and any tips will help me snag that bargain.
    In Australia we mostly have crappy sales but when I’m in the US I definitely shop up a storm
    You girls are so lucky for the amazing sales!
    I love that glitter handbag it’s so gorgeous.
    Natalia k

  36. If there's someone to turn to when it comes to get a lesson about sales it would be you! Your 20 years of experience shines through and being basically your age (I believe) I remember when sample sales actually were just that, samples from previous seasons or pieces that never made it to production, but I'm glad you cleared out all the new forms of sales for an old geezer such as myself. As for BF and CM I'm not much into those either, as I think they were better back in the days to be honest. Do I sound old and cranky? Yes. Haha. Thanks for the guide hun!
    Thomas xx

  37. I have been invited repeatedly to the 260 sample sales here in La but never been. Have you ever been to this in NY and what would you rate them? I feel like any sample sale here in La is just 60% off retail merchandise and not actually the samples.

  38. I always get invited to designer sample sales but I've never been because I'm not sure if they are worth my time and money. When it comes to sales like Black Friday unless is online I don't buy anything, I just can't deal with the crowds.

    Love your boots btw!



  39. You are a real model, tell me how you feel about such photo sessions would be very interested to know your opinion, because you have good taste!


© Le Hoarder

This site uses cookies from Google to deliver its services - Click here for information.

Blogger Template Created by pipdig