StyleMaxim Crowns Best Virtual Sample Sale!

The growing popularity of virtual sample sales means that we’re constantly alt-tabbing between three or more sites to find the good stuff. Is our energy even worth it?

In November, we set out to crown the #1 online sample sale. We ranked 3 sites: Gilt, Ideeli and HauteLook based on which had the best designers and highest average discount %.

First, we must confess, we discounted ideeli pretty quickly.  It was very accessory-focused and the brands weren’t all that spectacular.  So, we moved on to Gilt and HauteLook.  Both sites offer clothing and accessories for men and women.

The whole point of a virtual sample sale is that we don’t have to fight a mob of frenzied fashionistas (and fashionistos?) to get at that spectacular Badgley Mischka gown or that John Varvatos blazer.  Or do we?  After refreshing the sale page at 12pm on the dot and some harried clicking, we still couldn’t get the dresses we were eying from Gilt!  Feeling spurned, we decided to scour the internet for a particular party dress we had our eyes on and what did we find?  Gilt is actually marking up their items!  Another Badgley dress we saw on Gilt for $158 was $134 at Saks.  Same deal with a few others, but none of them were sold out.  So the lesson is, the good stuff goes fast and the leftovers aren’t worth it.

The winner was HauteLook, although the race was close and we’re still hoping to get lucky at Gilt one of these days.

HauteLook doesn’t have Gilt’s aesthetic appeal, but we actually managed to purchase a DvF dress from the Fall ’08 collection and a Modern Amusement men’s overcoat both for super cheap (60% off).  A little digging around found the dress on sale on a few other sites but in a very limited number of sizes, and HauteLook’s price was the lowest.  HauteLook is slightly different in that instead of purchasing the items, they actually hold the sale and then order the reserved items that sold from the designer (a better business model, in our opinion).

While Gilt consistently brings the designers, prices aren’t the best and quantities are extremely limited.  HauteLook has a good balance of labels, price and availability.

iShopFem is premiering its first sale on December 8th, so we’ll let you know how it measures up next week.

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