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Dig Through the Online Bargain Bins With Five Sites

Sale items from Ideeli’s site.Photo: Courtesy of

Bargain hunting is more than a cheap thrill for us — it’s a way of life. How else could we afford to stock up on designer goods without going broke? And with the onslaught of recent invite-only sample sites cropping up, our addiction to low prices is being fed nonstop. (Hey, if you need a vice, this ain’t a bad one to have.) And, since we like to share, we’re giving you the special codes that will grant you access to sales. If you’re a member already, consider this a refresher course. Because when it comes to shopping, only fools pay full price. (We’re only sorta kidding when we say that.)

Launched: November 2007
What to expect: Luxury for less, but done right.
What it is: What started a little less than a year ago by founders Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson has grown into a team of more than 65 people. Their fifteen buyers hone in on all different markets, covering men’s, women’s, children’s, and home décor to bring you sample sales of designer items up to 70 percent off. This week brings Nina Ricci, Escada, and Rag & Bone men’s clothes. And coming up, they’re doing a sale with Philip Crangi. Prices are still high, but at least you’re not paying retail. And the stock is eye-catching, not designer rejects or the dregs of last season.
How to sign up: Click here for your invite.
The perk: They partnered with the CFDA in January 2008, which means their sample sales come straight from the designer’s no-sale racks. No middle men. No questionable merchandise.

Launched: December 2007
What to expect: The Filene’s of the Internet.
What it is: Selection on this site, founded by Adam Bernhard, is hit-or-miss. But, like the brick-and-mortar Filene’s, you can score good bargains if you’re lucky and you go at the right time. On Wednesday, they’re launching a Mike & Chris sale, which guarantees at least a few good items. Plus, in the past, they’ve featured Smashbox and Stila.
How to sign up: Click here for your invite. Your sign-up code is NYMAG.
The perk: Sign up today, and get a $10 credit toward your first purchase. And we say save it for early fall — that’s when they’re launching men’s.

Launched: December 2007
What to expect: Itemized shopping.
What it is: There’s always something different with this site, so don’t go there looking for a specific designer. Whereas with Gilt you set your alarm, Ideeli is more where to go if you’re looking for a general item, be it a Celine patent clutch for $450 (originally $990), Fendi scarf for $120 (originally $250), or an Adam metal cap-sleeved dress for $98 (originally $275). And with 25 events per month ranging from women’s accessories, handbags, jewelry, home, beauty, gifts, and entertainment, there’s reason to keep this bookmarked in your browser. That, and they’ll e-mail you nonstop.
How to sign up: Click here for your invite.
The perk: Sign up through and you’ll get an automatic $25 credit in your account. Cha-ching.

Launched: May 2008
What to expect: The newbie who’s just getting her feet wet.
What it is: They call each sale a “boutique,” each of which lasts two days and features up to 75 percent off retail prices of current-season merchandise. We’re still getting used to this one and are a little skeptical about the provenance of some of the items, but it’s interesting nonetheless. Basically, wait it out. They’ll have a bunch of weird sales, but then you’ll find a major score.
How to sign up: Click here for your invite.
The perk: They’re growing. Plus, in the future they’re adding beauty.

Launched: November 2007
What to expect: Something to dabble in.
What it is: Their stock is all over the place. In the past they’ve featured Lalique, Sonia Rykiel, Betsey Johnson, and Diesel at prices reduced up 75 percent off retail. This week they feature Lucy Sykes for your little tykes.
How to sign up: Click here for your invite. Your referral code is
The perk: This week, they’re having a 75 percent off sale of worn-once dresses (either on runway or red carpet) by Alberta Ferretti. Type in “AFerrettiNYMag” at checkout and get an extra $30 off your purchase.

Dig Through the Online Bargain Bins With Five Sites