Gilt Groupe Sample Sale: Review

One of the most coveted sample sales in New York City is hosted by Gilt Groupe.  The sale, feels like a bizarre gallery opening… but instead of admiring art, you’re studying the condition of passe couture.  You can barely hear yourself think in the enormous white loft space as a DJ blasts electronica music, champagne and cookies are toted around on silver platters, and where makeovers are all the buzz in the South East corner of the room.

Listen, I’m not one to complain about free alcohol, but I take my sample sales very seriously.  When a prestigious online shopping site offers deals of up 90% off, it’s hard to resist.  I bought an opening night ticket for $25 and waited in a queue on the sidewalk for 45 minutes in good New York sample sale fashion.

Once inside, I ditched my friends and focused in on bags, shoes, and clothes galore.  But the deeper into the sale I got, the more I realized, wow, this place sucks.  I can’t believe I paid money to get in here.  While Gilt offered some wonderful brands, many of the products were torn or marked.  Also, the “sale” did not seem 90% off.  Yes, Missoni sweaters and dresses were hanging proudly on the racks, but, in terms of the deal, it was only OK.  I’ve done much better at Loehmann’s.

I walked away with 4 purchases.  I regret almost all of them.  I bought my fiance, Ryan, Lacoste and Hugo Boss polos, $39 and $29 respectively.  He was pleased, BUT I’ve bought both brands for him at similar prices at Lord & Taylor.

For myself, I walked away with a no-name shirt and an Alice and Olivia dress…. which I might be more suited for my mother (thankfully we’re the same size!)

Overall, the Gilt Groupe sample sale was extremely disappointing and overhyped.  I felt like I wasted time and money as I cabbed it back to my apartment.  Too bad all sales are final.  I definitely would have returned all purchases made for myself.

BUT: I’ve been told the sale in May is much better.  Will I go?  I doubt it, but maybe!  Don’t rule it out necessarily.

My advice? For brand names at discount prices, visit Loehmann’s and Lord & Taylor.  Clothing and accessories are already at a discount and the additional coupons really bring savings over the top.

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