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.
The peak of New York City's sample sale calendar occurs twice a year: May and June, followed by November and December. By our calculations, within those four months roughly 382 sales took place—and that's a conservative estimate. Some were huge, many weren't worth the trip, and several sparked epic debates in their respective comment threads.
After the jump, we've rounded up ten of the most talked about sample sales this year, listed in no particular order. Honorees include the epic Comme des Garçons sale, the over-the-top Lululemon yogabowl, and the dual J.Crew sample sales that took place last month.
Comme des Garçons
It's been a hell of a year for Comme des Garçons. Before this month's opening of the epic Dover Street Market in Murray Hill, the brand's beloved archival sale returned to Midtown after a year hiatus. Our reporter firmly stated in her headline that the sale will "blow your mind," and she was right—it was flooded with one-of-a-kind pieces, and was worth shopping up until the very last hour.
3.1 Phillip Lim
November's Phillip Lim sample sale was the second most-commented post on Racked all year. Out of all 127 comments, one of the most frequent gripes was that the designer's Target collaboration ruined the prestige of the Pashli bag—which spawned its own post that got an additional 31 comments. At the sale, those, as well as the 31 Hour bags, were $450; medium bags were $300, small bags were $200, and shoes were $100 a pair.
No weather is too shitty to keep Diptyque diehards from lining up for the brand's annual sale, which made a triumphant return in 2012 and 2013 after some time off. Standard candles were priced at $30, and 100ml fragrances were $55. Regular candles sold out by the end of the first day, and we actually posted so many updates on our Facebook page that we were kindly asked to stop by a reader.
Lululemon Yoga Bowl
In February, Lululemon took over Nassau Coliseum for one of this year's most anticipated sales—our post announcing it was one Racked's most read posts of the year. Once it opened, shoppers were greeted by Lululemon cheerleaders, a performer doing headstands, and rows upon rows of athletic wear.
Nanette Lepore's Archival Sale
Racked reporter Bonnie Datt summed up this year's archival sale like this: "We've been to a lot of Nanette Lepore sample sales, but never one as amazing as her latest—a sale composed of merchandise taken directly from her archives." The sale included racks of genuine samples and one-a-kind items dating back ten years, with prices that capped off at $85. Sizes 2s had the most to choose from, but commenters who were size 6s and 8s said that they found some good stuff as well. The sale was actually extended for a few extra days, with new merchandise added daily.
53 comments puts the Tibi sample sale at the tenth buzziest thread on Racked all year. Prices definitely weren't cheap, but they were the lowest you'll find the brand's tops, dresses, and shoes discounted for. Bummers included a really long coat check line, and a Gilt City promo for half-off that a lot of shoppers (including us) weren't aware of.
In November, 260 Sample Sale divvied up the J.Crew merchandise into two locations, with women's, children's, and Madewell items housed at 260 Fifth Avenue, and menswear at the smaller space at 225 Fifth Avenue. For the past few seasons, opinions have been very conflicting over whether or not this sale is actually worth it, as the 30% off final sale deals in-store are often better than the sample sale prices. However, a total of 70+ comments proves that shoppers are still curious about what's there.
Discounts at the Loeffler Randall sample sale aren't amazing—typically, shoes and bags are reduced around 50% off retail prices. What it lacks in cheap thrills, though, it makes up for in selection; this year's sale included more bags than ever, current-season inventory, and a wide selection of flats, sandals, heels, and more. Unsurprisingly, the opening day line was really intense.
Honorable mentions go to the two sales who tried to pretend they weren't happening: Louboutin, who brought back the decoy sign that isn't fooling anyone, and Manolo Blahnik, who told us flat out that the sale was private. The internet and line outside the Warwick Hotel proved otherwise.
And to keep the conversation going into 2014, it's worth pointing out that we're still waiting for DVF and Jimmy Choo, which hosted sales in the beginning of the year, but not in the fall.
· All Year in Racked 2013 Posts [Racked NY]
· All Sample Sale Coverage [Racked NY]