Chicago has been on the fashion map for a lot of things: Michelle Obama’s favored designer Maria Pinto and her boutique of choice, Ikram are located here. We have some very fashion-forward boutiques such as Blake, a boutique very strong on Belgian designers; and Hejfina, a shop that stocks Alexander Wang, Comme de Garcons, Vanessa Bruno and Maison Martin Margiela to name a few. There are mini-shopping districts throughout the city. Our luxury shopping mecca, the Gold Coast, is home to Yves Saint Laurent, Hermes, Jil Sander, and Barneys. So what’s the problem?
Where are the sample sales?
If you live in New York or if you read about fashion in New York, then you hear about tons of fabulous sample sales for just about any designer you can think of. People score items way less than the original retail price. Cashmere for $100 and runway platforms for $175. Where do you find those deals in Chicago.
We are in some tough economic times and the Chicago sales tax is pretty high, so while the great boutiques I mentioned above stock great designers and collections, it’s always nice to try and score some good designer buys for less. Where to go?
I saw the sign in the picture above while walking back to my office from my lunch break. The name of the shop is Thread Lounge and it is located in Lincoln Park. It is a permanent sample sale location, so you are getting a bargain 24/7. The clothing and accessories are marked for a fraction of the retail price and features up and coming designers that are most likely featured in a magazine like Lucky. While passively browsing, I found a very nice leather handbag for $150 and cashmere throws for about $75.
Beta Boutique is another sample sale location. Sales used to be held on a specific date and time, but they have opened a permanent store in Wicker Park that can be visited four days a week. Prices can start as low as $10 and the boutique carrys all brands such as Three Dots, James Perse, Cynthia Rowley, and Ella Moss.
High Gloss is not a permanent location, but they do have sample sale events four times a year. Supported by Clever Alice boutqiue, the sale stocks designers such as Chaiken, Prarie Underground, and Frenzii at up to 80% off.
So while Chicago isn’t the premier location for sample sales, we are coming around. While there are no super high-end designer sample sales that I’ve found so far, the market is beginning to thrive. Hopefully, it will continue to do so.