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It's impossible to take a comprehensive look back on this year without examining what makes New York shoppers so lucky: sample sales. Starting with the run on Diptyque candles in February and ending with the run on Alexander Wang Rocco bags earlier this month, here are the sales you read about most this year—presented in chronological order, first by perennial favorites and then by sleeper hits.
One of the year's first major sales, Diptyque, always draws a huge crowd, and 2014 was no different—despite snow flurries. on the first day. Candle fans went so hard at this sale that it didn't even open on the last day.
In May, Rebecca Minkoff once again heated up sample sale season with her binannual shindig at 260 Fifth Avenue, offering her cult favorite mini purses in a rainbow of colors for under $200 (The most recent iteration in November also had $50 samples).
Sigh—we miss this unglamorous packaging.
If fans of Loeffler Randall had known that their May sample sale would be their only one this year, they might've stocked up on even more shoes and purses that were only up to 60% off (the same could be said for Rag + Bone, which didn't make a year-end appearance following its June event in Chelsea Market). It remains to be seen what the brand will do regarding sample sales in 2015.
But it's pretty definite that J. Crew overstock and sample sale—so massive that it needs two venues to hold everything—will continue on its June/December schedule. Despite not having the best selection of quality or price, brand fans are still intrigued by what's there.
So much clothing, but so little worth buying
And rounding out the list of expected hits is the Barneys Warehouse Sale, even though its clout has greatly diminished compared to its glory days before the online sale. Readers were curious to find out what was in stock (lots of the in-house label) and how much it all cost (still a lot).
Skulls and crossbones on skulls and crossbones
Blame Soulcycle's cult-like devotion—or the fitness craze that's gripped the city in general—for the opening-day line of 150+ people at the cycling studio's annual warehouse sale in June. Shoppers' patience was rewarded with $22 Champion sports bras and $40 Nike Pro leggings, all bearing skulls and crossbones or a cheeky phrase from the brand (i.e.: Peace, Love, Soul).
Tamara Mellon legging boots
Tamara Mellon made a splash with the brand's first-ever sample sale just after Labor Day weekend—simple heels started at just $50 and legging boots went for $150. And with current-season merchandise that were still full-priced online going for more than 90% off, readers voted it the most noteworthy sale this year during the annual Racked Awards.
Manolo Blahniks, wrapped neatly in...plastic baggies.
In some cases, the element of surprise encourages customers to shopitrightnow. Cases in point: September's 3.1 Phillip Lim sample sale that was announced just three days prior, and Manolo Blahnik didn't even say anything about their October 29th sale until it was already happening.
There was a major run on bracelets like these. Photo: Forwest
The annual Hermès sample sale isn't always a guaranteed hit, but the return of $217 silk scarves, bangles from $237.50, and men's silk ties for $97.50 made October's sale a huge event, with customers waiting in the rain for hours on opening day due to the strict one-out, one-in door policy.
Hoods with the fur (with the fur!)
The polar vortex probably had something to do with the popularity of the Mackage and Andrew Marc sample sales this year. These back to back events had high-end leather jackets, puffers, and fur-trimmed styles for at least half off.
Taking a sideways glance at those Wang bags
And last but most definitely not least, the Alexander Wang sale was a great cap to wind down the year-end sample sale season. It was a perfect sample sale storm of sorts: a last-minute announcement for a designer who had been having a banner year (see: H&M collaboration) with a great selection of apparel and accessories at discounts that made the brand affordable to lots of people without cheapening its image. For those who are looking to plan sales in 2015, take notes.
· Year in Racked 2014 [Racked NY]
· Vote: What Was the Most Noteworthy Sample Sale of 2014? [Racked NY]