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Illustration: Tom Hislop

The best style hacks for New Yorkers

Hey, shopping is a skill too, you know. Follow our style hacks and you’ll be buying like a boss in no time.

By Jennifer Picht

We live in the fashion capital of the world, but like everything else in this city, shopping can be a bit overwhelming. But with all the secret New York deals and steals, isn’t it about time you finally started buying better? Whether you’re hunting down the best sample sales in NYC this week or the cheapest vintage stores and thrift shops in New York, we’ve come up with 25 foolproof hacks with a little help from bloggers, store owners and style geniuses. And lucky for you, we have a big mouth.


Head to a flea in a less-hip 'hood

Everyone loves the weekend ritual of hitting up a flea market. Unfortunately, go-tos like Brooklyn Flea are often picked over and pricey—and not for the crowd-averse. “I like exploring markets outside trendy areas, like GreenFlea on the Upper West Side,” says Babel Fair shop owner Erica Kiang. “I just found an amazing ’70s red trench coat for $10!” 100 W 77th St between Columbus and Amsterdam Aves ( Sun 10am–5:45pm.


Get first dibs at Antoinette

Owner Lexi Oliveri spends Mondays pulling merchandise from her warehouse space in New Jersey for this Williamsburg vintage haven, so Tuesday at noon is the best time to shop new arrivals. Prepare to rub elbows with the die-hards; vulture-like regulars are known to spot things as they’re being steamed, and purchase them before they’re even hung. 119 Grand St between Berry St and Wythe Ave (718-387-8664,

Photograph: Raydene Salinas

Nab a free makeover

Enter any of the six Laura Mercier counters at department-store locations throughout the city (Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy's), and you’ll find a team of pros that will primp and polish your face for nada. And no, they don’t require a minimum purchase for the consultation.

Photograph: Erin Fetherston

Raid a designer’s personal stash

Many thrifty fashionistas head over to designer Erin Fetherston’s annual showroom sale (usually held in July) for discounts on her eponymous gowns and cocktail dresses, such as the Sunburst chiffon frock ($295), but you’ll find the most covetable bargains waiting on the vintage rack, near the back. Fetherston lets you shop her personal collection, resourced from high-end designers around the world. Best part: Everything is super cheap—think DVF silk dresses for $30 (normally $200 to $500). 225 West Broadway between Franklin and White Sts (212-643-7537,

Line Sitter
Photograph: Courtesy Same Ole Line Dudes

Hire a line sitter

New Yorkers haven't got a minute to spare, but we also want what we want, when we want it. Conundrum! Except not really: The next time you want a prime spot in line for your favorite designer’s sample sale, contact Robert Samuel from Same Ole Line Dudes, which employs 38 line sitters. “Each year, we get requests for popular events, like the Christian Louboutin sale,” says Samuel. He’ll wake up at the crack of dawn and secure a spot for as long as you like ($25 for the first hour and $10 for each additional half hour) until you're ready to swoop in and shop.

Tokio 7

Drop in on Tokio 7 just before it closes

“I love Tokio 7 for high-end labels like Chanel and Prada,” says My Style Pill blogger Christine Cameron. The consignment shop stocks a wide variety of hand-me-down garb that’s reasonably marked, but if a certain piece is still on the rack after three months, it's slashed by 50 percent. Want to snag the freshest styles before anyone else? Customers can consign between 1 and 7pm, and the sales associates generally restock the racks before 8pm. 83 E 7th St between First and Second Aves (212-353-8443, Daily noon–8pm.

Diane von Furstenburg
Photograph: Courtesy 260 Sample Sales

Become a sample-sale savant at 260 Fifth

There’s an amazing sample sale happening every week—if not every day—in New York, but everyone knows that the good ones are kept on the down low. “260 Fifth Avenue usually hosts a different designer every week, and always offers the best deals,” says fashion blogger Lauren Gould. Join 260’s mailing list to receive invites to public (and private) sales from the likes of Rebecca Minkoff, Zadig & Voltaire and Rent the Runway.


Ask around at INA

Here’s proof that patience truly is a virtue. Items sold at this popular consignment chain are clipped by 20 percent once they’ve been on the floor for 30 days. If they last 60 days, the discount is increased to 50 percent off. So go ahead: Ask how long that piece you fancy has been on sale. It’s just like haggling but without the tears. Locations throughout the city; visit


Swing by Housing Works before Saturday brunch

Staff at this charity store stay late on Friday nights to get ready for the weekend rush, so arrive first thing Saturday morning (most locations open at 10am) to see what’s just been put out. Another tip: Stock can vary by neighborhood. The Chelsea shop is known for having the best furniture selection, while the Columbus Circle and Upper East Side outposts house the best artwork and antiques. Locations throughout the city; visit

Fabio Costa

Dig through U.K. duds in a secret Astoria spot

“I discovered a ma-and-pa store in Astoria that sells untouched styles from French Connection, BCBG and a few indie brands from England for less than retail price,” says Project Runway star Fabio Costa. The shop doesn’t have a name or sign, but the owners buy containers from London without knowing what's inside and sell most of it for less than a Benjamin. “My friend found a French Connection hooded leather jacket for only $80,” adds Costa. Nice nab, dude. Those are normally $200 to $400. 25-03 Newtown Ave at Crescent St, Astoria, Queens (718-204-7065). Mon–Fri 11am–7pm, Sat 11am–6pm.

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