Written by: Millissa Mathai, Editor in Chief of Haute Mimi International

samplesaleshoppingtipsWe all love designer clothing and accessories, but most of us wish that the steep designer prices were lower. So, what's a fashionista to do? Shop sample sales, of course! Sample sales allow retail businesses to discard extra merchandise from their showrooms. The clothing may have been worn on the catwalk or in photo shoots. Either way, it's a great way to get near-to-perfect clothing and accessories at a fraction of the price.

How To Find Sample Sales
In Print

Many local newspapers and magazines list sample sales. New York Magazine and Time Out NY are two titles that are known for their heavy coverage of sample sales. Fashion trade publications also list current and upcoming sample sales.

Email
Sign up for designers' newsletters on their websites and rest assured when they have a sample sale, they will send you an email dishing out all the details of the sale.

Online
Sample sales are difficult to come by, but with the power of the Internet, finding sample sales is a cinch. My favorite website for sample sale hunting is www.samplesaleforum.com, a cool new site that lets members list up-to-the-minute sample sales and connect with fashionistas nationwide. The site lists physical sample sales happening right now in New York City and Los Angeles and also online sample sales from top online sample sale sites including Gilt and Editor's Closet.

What To Look For At Sample Sales
It's easy to get excited at a sample sale and purchase everything you see. Keep these tips in mind:
  • Make sure it fits your body now.
  • Check that all seams, hems, buttons and zippers are intact.
  • Only buy an item if you are absolutely in love with it. If you only wear the item once then it's not really a deal.

How To Survive A Sample Sale
Sample sales bring out the bad in some. Remember the sample sale scene from Confessions of a Shopaholic? They can be packed with fashionistas all vying for the Gucci Jackie O bag that's 60% off. Some things to keep in mind when shopping sample sales:

  • Arrive early. At least a half hour before the sale starts.
  • Bring cash. This way you won't over spend and regret it, seeing as most sample sales are final.
  • Dress lightly. There are rarely dressing rooms at sample sales so be smart and wear minimal clothing and easy-to-take off shoes.

Sample sales are a great way to cultivate a closet full of designer clothing for a steal. Happy shopping and good luck fashionistas!

The Outnet, the online outlet store of Net-a-Porter (the Web’s fashion-savviest shopping site), has become my new favorite online shopping destination, for many reasons. I have found incredible designer pieces, from clothing to accessories (especially accessories!!) at theOutnet.com. In addition, my shopping experience is exactly as it should be — professional, fun, exciting and a little 'holiday like.' The layout of the site makes it a breeze to get what I want and order with ease, so I can get on with my day. And when my packages arrive (swiftly, I might add), they come in a reusable bag with all of its contents perfectly wrapped to perfection. Sheer bliss!

Designer representation includes Alexander McQueen, Anna Sui, Chloé, Jimmy Choo, Marc Jacobs, Vera Wang, Donna Karan, DvF, Phillip Lim, Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, Oscar de la Renta, Narciso Rodriguez and more.

Today's Weekend Shop-In is all about the last call for fall. It's a 72-hour shopping window devoted to trans-seasonal pieces with an extra 50% off. Shop the knitwear, jackets, pants, dresses and ankle boots to take your look from this season through to the next with pieces by Stella McCartney, Moschino Cheap and Chic, Chloé and more. The sale starts today, Friday March 5th, 12pm EST, and finishes Monday March 8th, 12pm EST. Go get 'em, girls!

theOutnet.com US Trend Spotlight - Utility Chic
lipglossunder5Who doesn't love lip gloss? I have collected many in my day ... over the past few years especially. I just can't get enough. And while I have my  favorites, I have to tell you, my Candy Shop Lip Tins from e.l.f. eyes lips face rock, and for only $2. The best colors are Melon Mayhem and Cherry Bomb. The only downfall is their stickiness. It's best to use a lip brush.

And check out the newcomer, YOYO Lip Gloss. For $2.99, you get a fun, retractable lip gloss that clips onto your keys, handbag, etc., for easy access. The cord extends to 2 1/2 feet. Apply and snap it back!
brsaleWhile Black Friday brings super deals (if you can handle crowds), Cyber Monday has already begun. Stores are offering extra incentives for you to start your shopping now. And, you can save both in stores and online.

For those of you online shoppers, Banana Republic is offering 30% off sweaters, outwear and more through November 29th. And if you spend over $50, shipping is free. Take advantage of one shopping cart with Banana Republic, GAP, Old Navy, Piperlime and Athleta. Shopping made simple. Speaking of which, Piperlime is offering 20% off Rachel Zoe's picks with promo code: RZPICKS and GAP is offering 50% off practically every department.

Here are some simple shopping rules to follow:

  • Buy only what you love (Just liking it is not good enough.)
  • Stick to your list (It's easy to deviate from your plans if you're not careful. A list will keep you focused.)
  • Make it personal (Gifts should come from the heart. Show your loved ones how much you care by giving them something unique to them.)

 

If you don't find everything on your list in one trip, don't settle. There's always tomorrow. Besides, it gives you additional research time. Happy shopping!

Free Shipping on Orders Over $50
Dogs have style, too. Let them express it with these colorful scarves from Annie's Sweatshop. No, Annie's Sweatshop isn't into mass production or human rights violations. The mission is simply to provide smart and sustainable handcrafted fashions. Owned and operated out of Athens, GA, the company is the cultivation of Annie's DIY (Do It Yourself) passion, environmental ethic and sewing skills. For just $7.00, you can give the gift of style to precious FiFi and Ralph. Recycle your old collar or leash, and you'll get $5 off your order. 100% eco-friendly, 100% adorable.