Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sample Sales

As I already hinted, yesterday's Rachel Comey sample sale was something of a waste of time. I didn't go when it first opened because the prices were so high and early reports from Caroline (who went at 11) were that it was a waste of time. Evidently everything ran really small, was priced very high (dresses around $250) and most of the stock was in strange prints. Hoping for reductions, I went at 2 to find that the sale had been picked almost bare. Like the other people there, I wandered around hoping that something was hidden, but the empty racks didn't hide much. One or two styles of shoes predominated, almost all in size 7 and almost all ugly--I swear the green leopard print pumps had been there last summer. There were four racks of old stock ($100 per item or 3 for $250) that were fairly densely packed and two near empty racks where this summer's items had hung. If it wasn't for the labels, you could have thought you were in a thrift store, such was the caliber of what was remaining. I found two pieces of note--the dress I bought (which I was only able to buy because another girl was considering purchasing it and finally decided against it) and a top in the same fabric.

I was surprised because the prices were so high--many items were available cheaper on line or in stores--so I presumed nothing would sell. I guess I ignored the psychological appeal of the sample sale--the sense that these have to be the best bargains and even the compulsion to spend on something such events produce. I'm sure in the heat of the morning many people felt if they didn't buy now, the dress, shoe, bag would be gone forever.

Of course, I fell victim to this compulsion too--see my earlier post. A perfectly lovely dress, yes, but one that isn't right for my figure. But it was more me than the ill fitting pants, scratchy cardigans or bizarre red strapless dress that may have been my other options. In that light, it was a dream find. At home, next to the clothes that actually fit me, not so much.

I'm a little annoyed with myself as I thought I'd learned the lesson of sample sales many years ago. When I first moved to NYC, I went to as many sales as I could and generally bought something that seemed a great deal at the time. DVF and Rebecca Taylor dresses, Autumn Cashmere cardigans, Frost French frocks, Delman flats, Twinkle knits--you name I bought it, along with a scattering of no name independent label items from designers long forgotten. Sure, a few such items were gold, but most were not me, went unworn and were donated to friends or charity stores. Some still hang in my closet waiting for something, some day when they suddenly become right. Add to this my Loehmanns, Century 21 and Barneys/Bergdorfs/Saks "finds" that weren't, and you have a lot of wasted money. Today, I know myself better--or so I thought--but I'm embarrassed to say I haven't learned my lesson as yesterday's pretty, but not me, dress attests. I think the lack of choice and the high prices of the new RC actually helped steer me into this dress--it was a deal, the prettiest thing left, but I would have been far better off saving the $100 towards a dress that actually works on me.


Marti said...

Hi Moya, I agree with you on so many levels. Now that I am out of NYC in a town where there are few sample sales I still give it a minute before buying. I say liquidate the things you arent wearing and put the funds towards a great JM fall piece. I think his fall starts to deliver this month. I have done that and I cant even tell you how happy I am about it. you feel so much freer and you have a more wearable wardrobe.

Moya said...

I gave away so many of those items, but I am thinking of having a bit of a summer clearance and posting those pieces on my blog.

louise or valentine said...

my room mate gave me a great piece of advice, she doesn't buy anything over 50 dollars at a sample sale unless she really really cannot live with out it and even then, she says it's still probably not worth it. thats sort of my opinion of a sample sale, it should be, hypothetically, affordable. i think the only time i've ever paid more than 50 bucks for something was at the steven alan sample sale and i found this one jacket i had been coveting for all of winter and it was only 75 dollars or maybe 100 at the most.