Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
With only a few days left in the year, it's time to look back on 2011 with the annual (five years running!) Racked Recap. This week, we'll be reliving our biggest and brightest (and saddest and darkest) moments, from the best collabs to the best pop-up shops. Up next: The Best Sales of 2011.
- The pricelist at Band of Outsiders' April sale
- The shoes at this month's La Garçonne sale
- Roger Vivier's December sale
- $50-and-under frocks at Sunner in July
- Bags, bags, and more bags at Rebecca Minkoff in May
- Tributes at the YSL sale in October
- Jil Sander shoes at the October sale
- A mish mash of really, really inexpensive clothes at Club Monaco
- T-shirts at Comme des Garçons in May
- The bags at Alexander Wang in August
- The final days of Filene's Basement
Picking the best sample sales of this year was tough, especially since this year, there seemed to be a zillion. (Picking the worst sales, on the other hand, was easier, but we'll get to that tomorrow.) As 2012 fast approaches, we've combed through our archives and closets to reminisce on the sales that were truly amazing. We give you the ten best.
10. Band of Outsiders
Let's start this one off a little light-hearted, shall we? The Band of Outsiders sale in April was bound to make the list since staffers were giving out free PBR. Also, toward the end of the sale, all casual menswear was priced below $75. Some of the women's items, however, were still in the hundreds, but hey—free beer.
9. La Garçonne
It's always a good day when the Internet decides to come to life in the form of a sample sale. This month's La Garçonne sale was packed full of merchandise from Proenza Schouler, Phillip Lim, Thakoon, Alexander Wang, Rodarte for Opening Ceremony, and Rachel Comey. Everything was at least about $100 bucks, though, but considering the retail prices, it was a good deal.
8. Roger Vivier
Despite being known for avoiding discounts at all costs, Roger Vivier held a sample sale in December, and donated a portion of the proceeds to the charity New Yorkers for Children. In addition to being philanthropic, it was also glorious. Mizhattan reported that the room was like "a glamorous fort made entirely out of Vivier's vibrant red boxes," and added that she had never seen so many pairs of shoes from the brand in her life.
You know what was really great about the Sunner sample sale? Nothing was over $50. Not a thing. The sale took place in July, so that was prime-time to stock up on lightweight dresses, and there were plenty of those to be had. There was also a ton of merchandise from other seasons, and sample pieces were priced at only $20. We were fearful that perhaps this meant bad news for Sunner, but Sample Sally checked—designer Susan Denner Lee said she just had a lot of overstock to move.
6. Rebecca Minkoff
May's Rebecca Minkoff sale was bananas. Our reporters spotted "mountains" of bags, ridiculous bag hoarders, and prices starting at $75. And lest we forget the amazing employees who stood around with clipboards to assist with pricing inquiries.
YSL had a massive line this October, but we think it was worth the wait. Especially, since prices were slashed an additional 50%. By the end, flats were only 50 bucks, heels were $100, and Tributes $200. However, we got word from a commenter that most of the good stuff disappeared after Day One, so it's official ranking might depend on who you ask.
4. Jil Sander
The line for October's Jil Sander sale may have been two hours long, but the general consensus is that the price to pay for great markdowns. Most ready to wear items inside were 85% off, and bags wear marked down to 80%. Shirts were priced as low as $33.50, there were blazers a-plenty for $165, and there were heaps upon heaps of shoes.
3. Club Monaco
July's Club Monaco sale could possibly be the cheapest sample sale, ever. As in, the cheapest thing was $1 and the most expensive $35. To compensate for such charity, nothing was organized, but there are sacrifices to be made for spending less on a blazer than you might on lunch. Sweaters were $15, skirts were $10, and knit tops were $5. Even if you weren't the brand's target demographic of hip, young professional, you could basically buy a ton of stuff for barely a hundo.
2. Comme des Garçons
The Comme des Garçons sale in May completely and totally dominated our site, and for good reason. Most prices were marked down to 70% off, (the Black Collection was 50%), the shoe selection started at $120, and T-shirts ran for $30. One reason why the Comme des Garçons sale was particularly special is because the brand was selling off ten years of archival stock. There was also pizza, and a very curiously-dressed staff and crowd.
1. Alexander Wang
One word as to why the Alexander Wang sale this year was so bomb: Bags. We were initially told they wouldn't be restocked, but then they were. We'll forgive the staffers for supplying us with incorrect information that we later published since they made up for it in Donnas, Brendas, and Roccos. All's well that ends well.
Honorable Mention: Filene's Basement
This year's Filene's Basement liquidation sale was bittersweet. Great, because by the end of it (it's technically still going on), wedding dresses were marked down to $39. Not so great, because it marked the end of times for the discount chain. (All locations will officially close tomorrow.) We hear that most of the merchandise is pretty picked through—discounts hover between 60-70%—but c'mon, $39 wedding gowns? Who even cares what they look like at that point.
· All Racked 2011 Recaps [Racked NY]