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Sample Sales

April 26, 2010

Photo Thanks to Gilt Fuse

When you’re a poor college student, there is nothing better than living my fashion vicariously. My favourite way to do this is to ‘attend’ online sample sales, and peruse haute couture as if I have any intention of buying it. It’s good too, because you have no snobby salesladies breathing down your neck, so you don’t start to feel like you’re unwelcome. In fact, you start to feel quite at home among the Marc by Marc Jacobs, Burberry and Badgeley Mischka. It’s definitely dangerous, but considering the fact that most of it, even at extremely deep discounts, is still out of my price range as a student. But there’s always the small hope that while exploring, you’ll see a shoe or dress that you can’t live without for a reasonable price, and be able to snap it up!

At least, that’s my reasoning behind allowing myself to receive daily emails about the sales. So it might not necessarily be the most productive use of my time, but who knows! Maybe you’re wealthier than I currently am and would love to be buying these clothes for these prices. So I’m writing this article for the fashion-hungry among us, of varying incomes. I present to you my escapism.

1. Gilt Groupe.

Photo Thanks to Gilt Groupe

By far my favourite of all online shopping. It’s a sample sale website, where they feature new designers and products every day. Compared with HauteLook, another site I signed up for, I prefer Gilt because they actually have companies I’m interested in. Hautelook never seems to have anything that really appeals to me! I think that might be because they sell more home goods, so if anyone’s interested in that, Hautelook might be a good choice.

Gilt Groupe is made up of four collected websites: Gilt Groupe (main), Gilt Fuse (for a younger crowd), Gilt Man and Jetsetter. Once you have a membership, you have access to all four sections, and they’re lots of fun to look at. For example, right now there is a special ‘Cruise the Galapagos Islands’ cruise on sale in Jetsetter. Wow. Right? I wish!! It’s lots of fun to dream.

Gilt is invite-only, or you can sign up and get on the guest list. As a member, I have some invites that I can give out to whoever is interested. If you’re suspicious about my motives (members get a 25$ credit if someone they invite makes a purchase), I won’t be offended because it does seem a bit suspicious. If you sign up for the wait list, it only takes a couple days and then you’re in! And of course once you’re in you’re under no obligation to buy anything, and they do not request your credit card number like ideeli.

I would recommend Gilt Groupe if you’re into simply fashion, and don’t want any strange hierarchies for shopping. For example, on ideeli, they have two levels of membership, and only seem to send me emails for the “first-row” sales, saying that the sale will open for the “second-row” members in a day, but never emailing me to remind me. Not pleasant. Gilt sends me a daily email, simply listing the designers of the day, and I simply go and have a look and dream my dreams. :)

2. Shop it To Me.

Photo Thanks to the Outnet

Shop it To Me is a simple service that takes like three minutes total to figure out. You go to their website, pick out the designers you like from either 60 or 600 (to be specific), and then you receive as many emails as you’d like a week about sales from your specified designers. They collect the sales from all over the internet from websites like The Outnet, Bluefly, and ShopBop. These are all great websites in their own right and I recommend you check them in if you’re into less of a ‘personal shopping’ thing, more of a ‘do-it-yourself’.

I went with the twice weekly emails, Monday and Thursday (it was recommended!) and have only gotten one so far. It was simple, showing pictures of items from different websites from brands I’d selected.

Also Notable:

More Haute Couture

  • Hautelook: lots of beauty and home products, less big name brands
  • ShopBop: lots of designers at relatively good prices – you can sign up for an account and receive alerts if you want to
  • Net-a-Porter: one of the oldest online designer brand shopping websites
  • The Outnet: new sister site of Net-a-Porter

More Great Shopping

  • TopShop: the best store in the whole world :), US edition
  • Forever21: cheaper versions of the same trends
  • Zappos: one of the best online shoe stores – free shipping, 365 day return policy
  • Asos: lots of great clothes, flat rate international shipping (from UK – 6$)

Now, don’t get too rowdy. Keep calm, ladies and gents. Shopping online requires smarts and restraint. You should know your exact sizes, the return policy (in case you didn’t know your exact size), and your wardrobe. Online, it’s so easy to love absolutely everything, but less easy to not hit the big ‘BUY ME NOWWWW’ button. Keep in mind what you already have, what would actually pull your wardrobe together, what will last a long time and what’s a waste of money for you. You know your lifestyle, so you have to decide what fashions you really need!

Good luck and have fun!

xoxo, S.

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