I found myself packed into a sweaty tent with roughly 100 other women, all scouring the racks for a designer bargain. My pulse was racing, my eyes were narrow and evil looking, and I guarded my 4 inches of personal space fiercely. Why would I spend a free Saturday morning in a humid tent in 90 degree weather? For a Trina Turk sample sale, to be exact. I had heard of this mystical happening, but had never experienced it. I was driving home and spotted several well dressed women teetering down a shady, commercial street and thought “This must be it!!” It was. I had found it! It happens 1-2 times per year and I finally stumbled upon it!!
I loaded my arms with unsized merchandise and entered the communal dressing room to find potential treasure. What I really found was that I was lined butt cheek to butt cheek with other desperate women. It’s slightly unnerving to ask a woman who has her cell phone holstered to her underpants if she would mind moving over so you can peek in the mirror she is hogging. If you have not participated in a sale of this ilk, here are my tips:
- For goodness sakes, wear some decent underpants. Because I am unbelievably nosy, I stared at everyone’s underpants and was very underwhelmed. There was nary a sexy pair to be found. Many were in shades I could not confidently attach to a specific color. If I could have taken a picture without looking like a total creep, I would have so I could have shown my husband. It would have totally blown his idea that women just “hang out” in sexy underpants. (To any men reading, no one was close to starting a pillow fight in the tent either.)
- If you are brave, a thong works best, but know that you will find yourself with your hiney to the wall as much as possible. A thong eliminates any visible lines and will give you the most accurate assessment of the garment, which you will need due to speeding through the trying on process. If you do not wear a thong, definitely wear seamless underpants.
- Be kind to yourself. The woman next to me was tiny and was bemoaning her tummy. While it wasn’t a 6 pack, she was darling and I would never have noticed if she had not pointed it out.
- If there are sizes on the clothing, know that they will not be accurate. There are salesman samples and then there are fit samples. Salesman samples are not accurately fit. The size is not 100% true to the designer’s vision. The garment is initially created for sales people to show to potential buyers. Fit samples are going to be much more representative of the designer’s vision, but you will never know which is which.
- Sample sizes usually run between a size 0 to a size 8. A lot of sales will also have end of season garments that will be in all sizes, so even if you aren’t a sample size, you should always look.
I left with 2 beautiful blouses that I paid $30 each. Her blouses at full retail are in the $200 range. Score. Stay tuned for why every woman needs blouses in her closet!