My Magic Number

So if you ask anyone—especially a seasoned shopper—she (or he) will have a “magic number“—the one price that basically makes a purchase an absolute no-brainer.  People’s magic numbers (let’s call them MN for short) vary.  I’ve heard $200 from store owners, $50 from hardened sample sale veterans…well, I’m going to go a ten-spot lower and say that for $40 and under, you can get some pretty fan-freakin-tastic deals in this city. I’m not talking like Forever 21 or H&M deals, I’m talking like a $10 (yes, ten dollars) Alexander Wang sample sweater (more on that later).

It’s important to note, most of these deals are usually found in the sample bin (if even available), which gets raided pretty darn quickly.  So there is a caveat—you need to get there early and you have to be ready to wait. So hopefully you frequent sample sales as part of your greater career goal (check), you possess a fair amount of free time and an equal amount of disposable income or you frequently call in sick to work.  The no-longer-tax-exempt-under-$110 business throws a bit of a wrench in my plan, too. So, to clarify, I’m talking pre-tax $40 and under.

I’ve decided, that going forward when I review a sample sale for Racked NY, if there’s a notable MN item at a sale, I’ll be sure to let you guys know.  In the meantime, just to prove my point, please find details on my favorite MN purchases, after the jump.

1: Funktional lightweight denim moto-jacket from the Oak sample sale (Paid: $40; Regularly: similar weight jackets run $150-ish online).  I went to this sale with $2 in my wallet and no plan to purchase, but ah, this super versatile jacket just hit the MN.  So I had to call Wonger to see if she was on her way and pathetically asked her for a temporary cash loan.  I couldn’t wait though, so I hightailed it to the ATM instead. So I guess it cost me $43, including the ATM fee. Dammit!

2: Fenton/Fallon chain twisted chain and triangle point choker (Paid: $30; Regularly: Fenton/Fallon necklaces usually run $250+). I seriously never pay more than $30 for jewelry in NY because there are fabulous pieces from street vendors and at flea markets, but this is one of my few pieces of real contemporary costume jewelry. Plus they were playing the best 80’s music and had an authentic Patrick Nagel hanging in the showroom. (Google it.)

3: Halston Heritage cross-body tote (Paid: $40; Regularly: similar bags run $395-ish). This bag is a sample and all leather (in case anyone is wondering).  I bought it specifically for travel because it has a zipper and cross body strap, but I ended up using it all the time.  While all the editors at Fashion Week were toting their Chanel Jumbos around, I was carrying my stuff in a $40 bag. I think this might be one of the best deals ever.

4: Geren Ford silk tunic dress with button detail (Paid: $40; Regularly: her dresses usually run about $200-ish). This was another fortuitous sample piece, too, plus I was lucky enough to go on the preview day.  I seriously think that I was the first one in, so I had my choice of the rack before the craziness hit.

5: Alexander Wang oatmeal and orange striped-slashed sweater (Paid: $10 and I just had to say it again, $10; Regularly: $575 for the long sleeve version).  Granted this sample is missing a label, but holy crap it was TEN DOLLARS.  That’s cheaper than a glass of crappy Shiraz at the Boom Boom Room. My friends and I were just talking about this sale at dinner last night and how it basically turned women into uninhibited, crazed sample sale maniacs.  Women were just stripping down to their thongs out in the open to try on clothes (most sample sales don’t have fitting rooms). I remember that at one point, I looked over and it was like a sea of bare butt cheeks.  That’s what discounted Wang will do to a girl.

6: Matt Bernson rope sandals (Paid: $40; Regularly: $180) I went into this sale ready with $80 in cash in my wallet and emotionally and physically (elbows out!) prepared to buy two pairs of sandals. Mission accomplished.  Women inside that sale were understandably high-strung (as in near hysterical) and über-grabby…and I’m pretty sure I was one of them.

So stay tuned for future MN reports. I was hoping the past Tuesday’s sales would yield some gems, but nada. Maybe next Thursday’s YSL Friends & Family sale? Here’s to hoping.


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