January 2018 | Le Hoarder
Le Hoarder

A NYC -ish* Style and Shopping Blog

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Gimmie All the Stars.

I took the girls into the City for our annual New Years Day at the American Girl Doll Store in Rockefeller Center. I'm super excited to share that American Girl just sent us Luciana Vega, their 2018 Girl of the Year doll so we'll talk about her and our experience in a future post. I do have to share that Ella was just reposted on the American Girl Insta - check out her feature here. For today, we're just gonna share our mother-daughter street style. Recently I've been obsessing over stars so when I saw these Stella McCartney Elyse platform shoes at the sample sale for over 80% off I kinda really needed them. Plus they matched the girls' Nina Kids Demi boots perfectly.

I've been killing it at the H&M sale and picked up this Gucci-esque cargo jacket for $10 (from $69.99) and this dotted dress for just $15. I really wanted to wear the jacket but my fitted coats didn't fit over it - so I pulled out my vintage thrifted cape and added the hat for a pop of color. I confess that I knew I wouldn't be outside long or I would have added several more layers for me and the girls. My 12-year-old son (and photographer) was a total pro and didn't complain once while he shot us in 9 degree weather - with windchill it was even lower.

Right now H&M is offering an extra 20% off and free shipping (with orders $100+) with code 5944 thru the 15th. Hurry!!

Head to toe:

  • Hat: Classic Prep Monograms, c/o
  • Sunglasses: Jason Wu, sample sale, $20
  • Cape: Gloverall, thrifted, $20
  • Jacket: H&M, $10 (linked below!)
  • Dress: H&M, $15
  • Gloves: Carolina Amato, sample sale, $10
  • Bag: 3.1 Phillip Lim, Nordstrom Rack, $245 (RV $775)
  • Tights: Spanx, Burlington Coat Factory, $13
  • Socks: Smartwool, Nordstrom Rack, $0.01
  • Shoes: Stella McCartney, sample sale, $200 (RV $1,100)

Shop my look here:

Girls and I coordinated with our star shoes (theirs are from Nina Kids) and we took several pics, but this was the only one that came out. We'll have to try again soon. In this weather I always layer with wool socks so I don't freeze my feet - ergo those hot pink socks peeking out. Ella was actually wearing a pair as well. Did I mention they were a penny at Nordstrom Rack? :)

Ella has been loving her new Sophia Webster butterfly backpack (we are slowly building her designer collection) and Ava is just as happy with her Old Navy unicorn purse. I found their hats for 70% off at Target ($1.50 each). Score!

For some reason Ava loves to Dab. Don't ask me why...

As for sample sales, there are a couple on my radar for this week. I just noticed Zadig & Voltaire is having a warehouse sale but I'm not sure if it will be as epic as the last one in their showroom where I scored my favorite glitter heeled boots for $75 and my sample fringed belt for $40. Jason Wu will be at 260 - and they will have samples. That said, I'm heading to Miami this week and I'm not sure I have time to run into the City before I leave. Ugh. They will either be amazing or a waste and I'm not sure if I can take the gamble. If you hit those sales be sure to let me know what you score!

Zadig & Voltaire
January 15-21
M-Sat 11-7, Sun 12-6
153 Mercer Street

Jason Wu
January 16-21
T 9-8, W-F 11-8, Sat 10-8, Sun 10-5
150 Greene Street

This week I kept is short and sweet because things have been crazy. If anyone has any recommendations for Miami please do share! I wanted to do the Museum of Ice Cream but for a family of five it's about $200 which seems insane to me. Personally, I think kids under 12 should have a discounted rate. I also heard great things about Jungle Island (the place with the parrots) but they are closed for renovations. Boo. Any ideas?

Happy Shopping!



Sunday, January 7, 2018

Confessions of a Sample Sale-aholic.

My name is Michelle and I'm addicted to sample sales. I've been sample sale-ing for over 20 years now. Once you've shopped a designer sample sale, it's pretty much impossible to shop at retail. Last week, my blogger bestie, Belle, launched her editorial site, Little Fashion Stylist. I wrote this article for her about the sample sale life, but I confess it's an updated compilation of several posts that have appeared here over the past couple years.

I have a few half-written articles that I planned to share first, but I couldn't finish because life got in the way. Besides the craziness of the Bomb-Cyclone that hit us last week, my boiler decided to crack and die, leaving us without heat since last Wednesday. It dropped to 32 degrees (Fahrenheit) inside my home so we sent the kids to live with my BIL, and ran out and purchased several space heaters so the pipes wouldn't freeze and burst. Right now it's 39 degrees in my house. It's so cold I can see my breath, and it hurts my fingers to type - even with gloves on. Thankfully, tomorrow they're coming and putting in a new one for a whopping $12,000. Ouch. Mine wasn't even that old. Plus I was told it would last for 20 years. Guess not. 

But I digress...

Over the years I've scored everything from $25 Sergio Rossi heels, $100 Choos (that retailed for over $2,000!), countless designer dresses and coats for under $50, even my first Chanel bag for 75% off.  The Chanel actually wasn't from their sample sale - just a crazy end of season deal. But the principals of bargain shopping still apply. Even my $20,000 Badgley Mischka wedding dress was a sample sale score for about $1,000. Name any designer -  they probably have a sample sale.

There are a few caveats as bargain hunting is not an exact science. So much of it is luck, and being in the right place at the right time. If you're looking for a deal you have to be open. If you're looking for current season merchandise and you can't deal with lines, crowds, and digging through countless bins and racks, the sample sale life is not for you. But if you can stomach it, there are amazing deals to be found.

You gotta understand, not all sales are created equal. People always ask me how do I know which ones are the "good" ones. After a while you develop an instinct for where to shop and when the deals are gonna be epic. But you still have to get lucky. At this point I have a network of sample sale friends who share intel and invites. Not all sales are open to the public, but over the years I've talked my way into many a private one.

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 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 - some of which were never manufactured for retail) are often the best deals at any sample sale. It drives me nuts when a sale consists of stock merchandise for moderate discounts -  you can often find better deals at end of season department store sales. I always look for pieces that nobody else has for killer prices. My favorite sales are almost 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. When discounts hit 90% or better, you're speaking my language.

Head to toe:

  • Hat: H&M, $1
  • Coat: Zara, $29.99 (sale find from last year!)
  • Dress: Trendsend/Evereve c/o
  • Bag Strap: Rebecca Minkoff, sample sale, $15
  • Bag: Chanel, Neiman Marcus, 75% off 
  • Gloves: Carolina Amato, Century 21, $5 (Back when end of season sales were good...) 
  • Boots: LF/Life c/o

When I hit a sale, I come prepared. Getting ready for a sample sale is like preparing for battle. I love dressing up but I always keep things simple for New York City sample sales. And now I'm gonna break down my five simple rules for sample sale success.

1. Always be first in line.

I can't stress the importance of this rule enough. Waking up an hour earlier can make all the difference at some of these sales. For less popular sales getting there a half hour early is usually enough but when it's a big name you want to be there 1-2 hours early. The first hour of the sale is when all the best/cheap stuff gets snapped up.

2. Be prepared.

I always have a giant blue IKEA tote bag stuffed in my purse to lug home my spoils of war. For $0.99 it's one of the best deals ever. If it's going to rain I have a tiny umbrella and a couple plastic garbage bags to protect the goods. I also do my due diligence. When a sale is announced I immediately Google past sale reports so get an idea of pricing and selection. Then I look online at lookbooks for current and past season collections to create a wishlist. I also check to see if they've had markdowns historically and show up for those days too. It also can't hurt to ask if they'll be replenishing.

3. Don't overdress.

I have a uniform. I like slip dresses because I can pop a dress on top of it or try on pants or skirts under it. I'm just not one of those girls who strips down to her panties publicly. Some gals wear the leggings and tank top ensemble but I'm more of a dress girl. In the winter I'll wear Spanx tights under my dress which will help suck me in as needed. This also means no makeup - it's just gonna shmear all over the clothing when you're trying it on in a hurry. If I'm wearing lipstick I wipe it off before I go in. No jewelry either. It can get caught and snag the clothing you're trying on, or fall off and get lost. Shoes should slide on and off easily as well.

4. Check and double check!

Sample sales are final sale so look everything over carefully. Sometimes a small damage or unfinished product isn't isn't a big deal if it's an easy fix or insanely cheap. It's also easy to get caught up in the moment and come home with something stupid. Made many a mistake back in the day. Now I'm a master editor and only buy what I love or can be passed along if I change my mind. OK, maybe that's not true - I still make mistakes from time to time...

5. Bring a buddy.

Some sales don't have mirrors or dressing rooms. You're gonna need someone whose opinion you trust to be your eyes. Plus a buddy can help you snap up all the cheap samples and then you can edit together. I have my sample sale crew at this point - we pass along the pieces that don't work for us and make sure nobody makes any huge fashion mistakes. If I'm solo at a sale I usually make friends in line or the dressing room. Shopping is always better with friends.

Photos by Belle Bakst

Be sure to follow my shopping adventures on LeHoarder.com and/or my Instagram from real time updates. Like I said, once you start sample sale shopping, you can never go back. And be sure to say hello if you see me about town - because like I said, shopping is always better with friends.


P.S. Sample sales have started popping up on the schedule again but IMHO there is no must-shop for this week. Keep your eyes focused on the retail sales. Zara just got another markdown but I'm waiting for one or two more before I shop. Designer sales are at second markdown at department stores and a few have an extra percentage off. You should be checking Barneys, Bergdorf, Bloomies, Neiman Marcus and Saks about now. And FYI, deals are always better in store vs online. Happy shopping!

© Le Hoarder

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

Blogger Template Created by pipdig