On 5th avenue/29th street there’s a very basic but lovely store that is constantly offering Sample Sales, this time it was Gant Rugged that was on display. Per’s wearing a sweater, a vest and chinos from Ralph Lauren and gloves from Land’s End.
Generally speaking, clothing bargains can be divided into three categories. The first one is normal sales which are regularly put on by practically all clothes makers and retailers. The best ones are typically the summer and winter sales where clothes not sold during the season are sold off. The second category is outlets. Many of the larger brands, especially in the US, have their own outlet stores where the parts of the collection that did not sell very well are sold off.
In the last few years, however, many brands have started to develop special outlet collections, which takes away from the idea of it. Some examples are Ralph Lauren and Brooks Brothers. If you visit a Brooks Brothers outlet, about 80% of the garments are usually from line 346 which is developed entirely for outlets, and only a few pieces are from the regular Brooks Brothers lineup. The same is true for Ralph Lauren, their sales discounts at outlets are often symbolic. For example, Ralph Lauren dress shirts and polo shirts are $60 at almost any outlet compared to the original price of about $80. Outside of Ralph Lauren’s flagship store in Manhattan, we have never seen one of their dress or polo shirts sold at that original price. Even at department stores like Bloomingdale’s, the polo shirts are usually on “special offer”.
Anyway, some brands don’t want to put their wares on sale, and neither want to nor have the infrastructure in place to send them to outlets. That leaves a third option: Sample sales. Oftentimes, this means that a third party simply buys what’s left of the company’s stockpile, rents an anonymous place for a short period, and gets rid of it all in a short period – often just a few days.
In cases like these, the savings for the customer can be enormous. The pricing often takes the form of a staircase, with up to or over 90% price reduction on the last day. We have been in situations where dresses worth thousands of dollars have been sold for $20-40. As a shopping experience, it can be hysterically packed with people, especially when there are no changing rooms.
For those who want to keep track of current sample sales in New York, we recommend the website Racked.
The store was pretty calm despite it being the last day of the sale.
Fisherman’s shirt with collar from Gant Rugged, looked nice but the collar was a bit on the large side for my neck.
Bring back the 70’s, a nice looking jacket but Per didn’t like the elbow patches.
This baseball jacket in leather and fish bone patterned wool nearly came home with us, but unfortunately they didn’t have any left in Per’s size.
Gant Rugged has done pretty well with their suit jackets. No upholstering, pockets on the outside and rolled lapels. The arms on this one are far too long, but aside from that, the jacket fit Per pretty well.
Gant Rugged has a store on Bleeker Street. See Alex Grant’s blog for more pictures on their collection.