Things to Do

District Sample Sale: Tips to Maximize Your Shopping

Are you ready for the District Sample Sale, the famed bargain boutique free-for-all sale Wednesday (6-9pm, 3307 M Street, NW in Georgetown)? We hope so—but just in case, we thought we'd reprint these tips we offered up back during the spring District Sample Sale. Now, as then, a few local blogs remind us that being ready for the massive shopping event takes more than just mental preparation and a willingness to max out your credit card. It takes strategy.

If you think you’re in for an evening of leisurely browsing of designer clothes, you’re in for a bit of a shock. DC Culture and Fashion talks about last summer’s District Sample Sale, revealing the fact that hundreds of eager but ultimately unfortunate women were lined up outside the door. Read on for her thoughts, and more:

“Last summer I got an amazing deal on a high-waisted pencil skirt from Muleh and a cute babydoll tunic from Lettie Gooch. Both were about 60% off. I made the mistake of thinking the cute DVF wrap and skirt that I saw as I walked in would still be there an hour later.

“Lessons learned: Act fast, cash is faster than plastic, and take one loop around the place first to scope everything out. DO NOT wait out for tickets at the door . . . last year more than 400 women were lined up outside the door and they did NOT all get in.”

DC Celine tips us off to strategic suggestions from Labels for Love, the organization sponsoring the sale. You may not have realized it, but lots of cash, donning (ugh) leggings and a willingness to change in public might play an important part in scoring that cute Diane Von Furstenberg dress:

“Be A Quick Change Artist: While chic attire is suggested, please keep in mind that there will be no dressing rooms at the event, so dressing appropriately is key. Wear fitted clothing such as leggings or a camisole that you will still be comfortable wearing in front of others.

Be Ready to Buy: Most stores will be accepting credit cards but to make it quick, cash is always easier and make sure to have valid identification should you be paying with check!

“Have a Strategy: Since merchandise will be selling quickly, arrive at the Sample Sale on time and ready to shop. Know your size so you can easily scan through merchandise. While it’s important to get to your favorite vendor first, be sure to stop by those you may not be as familiar with. . . . That is where you may discover some of the best finds!”

I’m going to the sale, so I’ll be sure to report back on 1) any amazing finds I score, 2) the general scene and atmosphere, and 3) whether anybody loses any limbs in the mayhem. Plus, we'll have a photo slideshow of all the fashionable folks that are out and about.

Have any extra tips on how to survive the District Sample Sale? Leave ’em in the comments.