Dressing in Fashion Doesn’t have to Break the Bank

 By Anessa Gross

Fashions go in and out of style all of the time, but that doesn’t stop consumers from wanted the latest fashion threads the see walking the runway. While there are many retail stores that carry fashion forward items, it’s understandable that sometimes you still can’t find exactly what you’re looking for. Finding inexpensive clothing and accessories that mimic what is seen on runways has always proven difficult, until now.

The days are gone where only those who are lucky enough to live in New York City get to experience the beauty of sample sales. Sample sales occur when designers need to promote their lines by selling their products and heavily discounted prices; anywhere from 20 to 90 percent off. While sample sales used to be exclusively for those sized 4-6 and size 7 shoes, new sample sale websites provide items available to the masses. Because they are only available for 24-48 hours, or until products run out, it’s important to check often to see if something you need is available.

Some sample sale websites require an email address to sign up, while others restrict their membership and require you wait on a waitlist until there is room for additional members. In my personal experience, the longest I’ve waited to be admitted membership was 3 weeks; although now I know there ARE ways in! You can always search the web for access and invitation codes if you are not willing to wait.

Due to their popularity, sample sale websites and sprung up all over the Internet. Below are some of my personal favorites. I’ve rated them based on waiting lists, new sale frequencies, referral bonuses, site navigation, prices, and variety of products/designers.

Ideeli
www.ideeli.com
Waiting List:                            No
New Sale Frequency:              Daily
Friend Referral Bonus:            $25.00 credit
Site Navigation:                       5 stars
Prices:                                     4 stars
Product/Designer Variety       5 stars
Overall Rating                         4.8 stars

HauteLook
www.hautelook.com
Waiting List:                            No
New Sale Frequency:              Daily
Friend Referral Bonus:            $10.00 credit
Site Navigation:                       5 stars
Prices:                                     5 stars
Product/Designer Variety       5 stars
Overall Rating                         4.7 stars

One Kings Lane
www.onekingslane.com
Waiting List:                            No
New Sale Frequency:              Daily
Friend Referral Bonus:            $25.00 credit
Site Navigation:                       5 stars
Prices:                                     3 stars
Product/Designer Variety       4 stars
Overall Rating                         4.5 stars

Rue La La
www.ruelala.com
Waiting List:                            Yes
New Sale Frequency:              Daily
Friend Referral Bonus:            $10.00 credit
Site Navigation:                       5 stars
Prices:                                     5 stars
Product/Designer Variety       5 stars
Overall Rating                         4.3 stars

Gilt Groupe
www.giltgroupe.com
Waiting List:                            Yes
New Sale Frequency:              Daily
Friend Referral Bonus:            $25.00 credit
Site Navigation:                       4 stars
Prices:                                     3 stars
Product/Designer Variety       5 stars
Overall Rating                         4.2 stars

Beyond the Rack
www.beyondtherack.com
Waiting List:                            Yes
New Sale Frequency:              Daily
Friend Referral Bonus:            $10.00 credit
Site Navigation:                       5 stars
Prices:                                     4 stars
Product/Designer Variety       4 stars
Overall Rating                         4.0 stars

Row Nine
www.rownine.com
Waiting List:                            No
New Sale Frequency:              Sporadic
Friend Referral Bonus:            $25.00 credit
Site Navigation:                       4 stars
Prices:                                     3 stars
Product/Designer Variety       3 stars
Overall Rating                         3.8 stars

While experiencing the exhilarating thrill of finding a great deal on a sample sale website, it’s important to keep your budget in perspective. A deal is only worthy if it’s on an item you truly needed, rather than simply want. Ask yourself if you would be looking for this item if it weren’t displayed in front of you with easy access. Also, don’t be afraid to compare prices across the web before you finalize your purchase to make sure you are getting the best deal; don’t forget to account for the shipping costs in the final sale price when comparing. The limited time span of sample sales is no reason to act impulsively.

About the Author

The preceding is a post from Anessa Gross, our resident sale diva and a Certified Personal Finance Counselor who works for Consolidated Credit in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the University of Central Florida and is a current graduate student at the Huizenga Business School at Nova Southeastern University.