Thom Browne Sample Sale 2014
- December 23, 2014
- Written By Timothy Nguyen
In November I booked a December trip to NYC for the Thom Browne sample sale (had some insider info about the dates of the sale). About a week after booking my flight I find out that the sale was moved up to November 14-15. I was absolutely heartbroken because attending the sale was my main intent.
Fast forward to December; I am buying a tie from the Thom Browne flagship and someone calls in and my ears immediately perk up to a conversation about a sample sale. Thom Browne is holding a second sample sale this year.
Info about pricing and the whole experience after the break.
The sale was held at their Chelsea office on December Friday, Dec. 12th – 11am to 7pm & Saturday, Dec. 13 – 11am to 5pm or until they sell out. Here is a photo of the surrounding area.
If you want to get the good pieces at a sample sale you have to be willing to wake up early and line up. For example, my friend and I went to the Alexander Wang sample sale on the 2nd day and although prices were good everything worth our time was gone.
For the Thom Browne sale I was recommended to be there by 8:00 AM or else I wouldn’t be in the first group of people going in. The night before I set my alarm to 6:45 just to make sure I had enough time to shower, eat, breakfast and ride the train/bus to the sale.
Here is a breakdown of my morning:
- Woke up at 7:45
- Took the quickest shower of my life
- Ran to the subway station: took the L train from 1st to 8th (4 stops)
- Got off the subway and ran to the bus station missing by M12 bus by 10 seconds (next bus doesn’t come for 20 minutes)
- Bit the bullet and took a taxi from the bus stop to the sale.
- Arrived at sale at 8:40
- I was number 15 in line.
Upon arriving at the sale the first thing I noticed was the amount of people dressed in cool clothes. It’s very rare in Houston to see people in Givenchy, Raf Simons and Rick Owens. Thankfully the line was in the hallway unlike a lot of other sample sales because I personally don’t know if I could camp out in the cold.
While sitting in line I ran into a buddy of mine from Toronto who just happens to run the Thom Browne buy/sell/trade group on Facebook. WeiWei took a 12 hour bus and made it to the sale 10 minutes after me to be number 17 in line. I am super jealous that he got to meet Thom.
It’s an absolutely random way to meet someone for the first time but it was definitely cool to see that people with a common interest come together in a single place.
Another mistake I made was not bringing something to do for 3 hours. The reason I don’t have any photos inside of the sale the first day was because my phone died and I didn’t want to bring out a camera (normally cameras aren’t allowed inside sample sales). At around 10:50 everyone packed up their stuff and stood up anxiously waiting for the doors to open. The employees let the first 30-40 people in line and only let another person in if one leaves.
11:10 the doors fly open and people slowly trickle in and then power walk to the racks. As soon as I go through the doors I looked for the box’s holding size 0 shirts. The guy in front of me scooped up about 15 shirts out of the size 0 box without even looking at what they were. I only got 2 shirts because I was basically left with the scraps. The rule of the game seems to be grab as much as you can then pick out and throw back what you don’t want after you grab everything without any regard for how much anything cost. It was also pretty surprising to see that they didn’t enforce a “no try-on” policy like most sales.
Here is a breakdown of the menswear prices (Sorry I didn’t get the women’s pricing):
- Suits: $250
- Shirts: $50
- Slightly stained white shirts: $20
- Ties: $40
- Coats: $300 (some price as marked)
- Shoes: $150
- Boxers: $25
- Swim Trunks: $40
- Silk Scarves: $40
- Briefcases: $500
- Misc Accessories: Price as marked
- Knits: Priced as marked
The prices were slashed about 50% from the sale in November (shirts were $100) making this one of the most enticing sales yet. For reference a Thom Browne suit retail is anywhere from $2300 to $2550 for the basics and $3000+ for the seasonal runway items so $250 is absolutely insane.
Here is a picture of my haul followed by photos of random things at the sale (sorry for some of the image quality):
The gray suit I got for my friend is actually from Thom’s made-to-measure line which is fully canvased, hand-stitched, and made in America. It doesn’t have any of the traditional tri-color grosgrain detailing but the fabric and construction is so much better than my made in Japan Thom Browne suit.
People ask me if it was worth waking up early and waiting in line for this sample sale and my answer will always be, “I wish I got there earlier with more money to spend”.
Special thanks to WeiWei Chen for some additional images of the sale!
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