Sample Sale

“Shopping is my cardio.” – Carrie Bradshaw

Not to worry, this is not your standard ‘I heart S&TC’ post. While I feel that the above quote is certainly true for me these days, something tells me that in order to get SJP’s body she had to do something besides shopping to get those abs, my point is that shopping is indeed a work-out. Especially when you go to a sample sale.

This afternoon I have arranged to leave work early to attend one of my favorite sample sales: Theory.

Twice a year this place called Clothingline hosts a Theory sample sale. It’s more of a warehouse sale, since actual samples are not in fact available, but it’s still amazing prices on beautifully made clothes. To give you an idea of the savings in the spring I bought my interview suit, which retailed for around $600.00, for under $200.00.

The selection is plentiful, which you might not guess as you walk in the standard glass doors off of 36th St., and grouped by size. Typically they offer merchandise from the current season, which makes this sale even better than Century 21 or any of the other designer discount stores.

If you’ve never been to a sample sale before, I’ll give you some tips, but I can’t promise that the information I provide will really brace you for what you’ll encounter. Basically; don’t say I didn’t warn you.

1. Know your size: Theory clothes are cut very well and if you know what size you are in one pair of their pants, then you know what size you are in all of them. Unfortunately, my bottom half is currently somewhere in between there 4 and 6 right now so, I’m going to have to try pants on anyway, but if you can avoid hitting the fitting room you can seriously cut down on time and frustration.

2. Attire: Wear an item you can take off in one fell swoop, like a trapeze dress and tights, and wear shoes that you can slip off without using your hands. Do not wear anything too warm. As I said before, this is exercises, you will sweat. You’ll see why I suggest this outfit in the next section.

3. The Group Dressing Room: Behind a large black curtain fit to hide the great Oz lies the fitting room. Just a heads up; there is usually a line you’d normally find in the Meatpacking District on a Saturday Night to get in. Don’t even think about cutting it, certainly not if I’m in line. Once inside, scan the space as quickly as possible for an open mirror/hanging rack to throw your stuff on and get to it (hence the outfit recommended above).
Each shopper is different; there are the people who are on a mission and don’t even realize other shoppers are around them, there are the people who ask for your opinion and wind up flashing you as they switch between two tunics, and then there’s the wild changer. Beware of this person, you may catch an elbow in the face.
If you too are modest for this set-up and don’t know your size, all I can recommend is the exchange policy. You can exchange any item for the duration of the sale. Once it’s over though, eBay is your best option.

4. The “That was my sweater” Argument: Possession is 10 Tenths of the law here people. It’s like the Old West – stake your claim to what is rightfully yours, which counts as anything you have your hand on. If you put an item down, it is fair game. You can give dirty looks or even yell at people but, as I learned at one Kooba sale, you can tell a woman, “you obviously need that bag more than I do” and continue to compare her skin to the leather, but she’ll still smile as she takes it up to the register.

5. The Buddy System: Normally I am a believer in the buddy system, on trips and at bars it is definitely the way to go. At a sample sale on the other hand, it’s more like Lord of the Flies, every woman for herself (and her cashmere). If you must go with friends treat it like a fire drill and pick a meeting point for whenever you make it out. You do not have time to find your friend amongst the masses and ask her if this color makes you look washed out. Ask the girl behind you in the sweater line, she’ll be more honest anyway.

So that’s my advice and you can take it or leave it. As for the time/date/location of the sale, it’s going on for the rest of the weekend so I’ll post that information for the rest of you after I’ve gotten first dibs 😉

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