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How to Shop the Rent the Runway Sample Sale

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The Rent the Runway sample sale returns to 260 Fifth Avenue tomorrow morning, just in time for all of those spring weddings and graduation celebrations on your calendar. We're expecting a familiar selection of seriously discounted dresses from designers like Moschino, Badgley Mischka, Theia, and Nicole Miller, just like in past years.

The dress rental website has now offered at least a dozen New York City sample sale events, and we've gleaned some important info on aspects that seem to repeat themselves sale after sale that should make it a little easier to score your perfect dress. Ready?

Anticipate A Mob Scene

This is not a sample sale that you can casually stroll into on opening morning. If you're serious about getting a good deal, you'll want to be one of the first shoppers in the door (free VIP tickets to shop early on Tuesday morning are still available as of this writing). Mentally prepare yourself to brave a line in tomorrow's chilly weather, then warm up by fighting for standing room inside the typically crowded sale space and especially within the communal fitting room. This leads us to our next point...

Utilize That Fitting Room

The thrill of finding a designer dress for 90% off is seriously diminished when you get home and realize it has a fatal fit issue. Taking the extra time to deal with the fitting room line and strip down in front of strangers can help you decide a) if it looks suitable on you, obviously, but more importantly b) if this is an item you truly have to have, or if you just feel the pressure to shop after waiting to get in for so long — trust us, we've been there. The fitting room is also where you can...

Do Some Damage Control

As soon as you pull a dress off the rack, run through a mental checklist to spot the most common signs of wear-and-tear that items here are wont to have. Look at the bottom of the gown for tattered ends, study any intricate spots for missing beads or sequins, and test that the zippers work properly — and do a thorough second take for stains and thread pulls once you have it on in the fitting room — before deciding if the dress is worth it. If you're thinking of taking a dress to a dry cleaner to fix minor issues, factor those costs into your final price as well.

Treat the Sale Like a Scavenger Hunt

For every single worn-out dress here that may have sat in direct sunlight in a window display or was mishandled by a customer, there's another that's pristine and miraculously discounted — you'll just have to dig for it.

If You Can, Hold Off As Long As You Can

This tidbit is for the shoppers who are willing to sacrifice the opening day (read: best) selection for the chance to snag a dress at its highest possible discount. We've heard rumors that the sale host discounts everything even further for the final while the sale's final hour or two on Sunday, on top whatever additional markdowns have already been announced. The selection is typically replenished throughout the sale's duration, which help your chances to finding something good during this time.

Check out the Dealfeed below for more details on when the sale is taking place this week. If you have a tried and true tip for shopping this sale, leave it in the comments below.