The Budget Babe | Affordable Fashion & Style Blog

Seriously Impressed with Gilt Groupe

To register, use this ACTIVE WORKING link:

I recently made my first purchase from Gilt Groupe, an online sample sale website that launched back in November, and I have to say that I am seriously impressed with the quality of their merchandise and high level of service. First off, a little background: The site, which is invitation-only, holds 24-hour sales a few times per week with designer merchandise often selling out within the first hour. Gilt has featured big, big names like Just Cavalli, Vivienne Tam, Allegra Hicks, Gustto and Jill Stuart, to name a few. The selection is always impressive, as are the prices - considering the original price - but that doesn't mean we're crazy enough to buy this stuff. A Rachel Roy dress that's marked from $600 down to $300 is still three hundred dollars, people. We usually spend about $30 for a dress. Oh yes. Not more.

However, we've promoted the site to you, our dear readers, and therefore we had to bite the bullet and give Gilt a test drive ourselves. It's sort of my unwritten policy to have personal experience with every online store or retailer that we feature, and certainly with any beauty products we feature (which we buy ourselves, no freebies to speak of!)

So when Gilt announced they were having a Chip & Pepper denim sale, I marked my calendar and waited, poised to make a reasonably-priced purchase as soon as the sale began. Here's what I learned: You better be online and ready with credit card in hand the moment a sale starts. Decide on the dollar amount you're willing to spend before the "doors" open. Do not go over. My cap was $100 for a pair of jeans (waaay more than I usually spend, but these are normally $200 jeans). I already knew my size and the style I was after because my sister scored a pair of Chip & Pepper Nic skinnies for me back in the fall for just $25 on eBay, and I adore these jeans. They fit like a second skin, and I wear them like every day.

So I had rationalized the price in my mind before the Gilt sample sale even began. When it did, I located the jeans I wanted (a bootcut, medium wash style since I already have dark wash skinnies). Found my size, tried to add it to my cart - denied. I got a message saying that my desired size and style were no longer available, and that I could either try again in a few minutes, or opt to be alerted via email when the jeans became available. I decided to wait. Refreshed my browser a minute later, and this time, success! I added the jeans to my cart, and checked out rather effortlessly. When I came back in 15 minutes, the jeans I bought were completely sold out. Yeah, that fast.

Imagine my surprise when my order arrived at my front door the very next day, even though I selected regular ground shipping. Now that's what I call service! I was even pleased with the packaging: Black lined box, black tissue paper, black note with a message from Gilt written in gold ink, the receipt, and my jeans. A sophisticated presentation helps when you're buying designer duds, even if it's at a sample sale. And the jeans! They fit like a glove. What a relief, since buying jeans online is nearly an impossibility.

So there you have it. Such was my first experience with Gilt, conducted purely for research purposes (ya know, so I could write this review!). If my jeans didn't fit, and I needed to return them, I'd have the option of doing so for credit (no refunds on these sample sale items.) I don't know what Gilt's secret is, because the jeans I bought happen to be available at Shopbop for twice the price I paid, but hey, whatever they're doing is working.

If there is a designer you really love, keep an eye on Gilt and give it a shot. I don't recommend simply making pricey impulse purchases just because they have designer stuff marked down. Remember, it's not what you save, in the end, it's what you spend. But if you're looking for something special - perhaps a special occasion dress, classic blazer or quality leather purse that you'll have for years - you won't have to fight crowds or wait in line to shop at Gilt. And you'll be made to feel like a full-price paying fashionista.


Any chance I could get a Gilt invite? I'd love to be a member. Thanks!

#1 Lee (Homepage) on 2008-07-02 04:54 (Reply)
I live for online sample sales. Can I get an invite please?
#2 IJ on 2008-07-02 07:16 (Reply)
Hello, I'd love an invite!!!
#3 Rachael A on 2008-07-02 08:46 (Reply)
I'm so jealous! I'm a Gilt member, but nothing has caught my eye since joining. I think I need to check out the site every day though. I usually do it every couple of weeks. Haha.
#4 Joann on 2008-07-02 09:02 (Reply)
Could you invite me please? Thanks !!!!! :-)
#5 Amy on 2008-07-02 09:15 (Reply)
Hi! Can you please send me an invite to Gilt Group? I love sites like that!
#6 Stazh on 2008-07-02 09:15 (Reply)
I'd love an invite! Thanks!!!
#7 Marie on 2008-07-02 09:28 (Reply)
Can I snag an invite?
#8 nep on 2008-07-02 09:31 (Reply)
I'm a Gilt Member, too. I haven't purchased anything yet, but there's lots of tempting stuff!
#9 taylor on 2008-07-02 09:46 (Reply)
O! I'd love an invite! I love sample sales...please?
#10 Kellie on 2008-07-02 10:13 (Reply)
Email me at if you want an invite! I have invitations to Rue La La (YSL and Miu Miu sales, among others!), Haute Look (recently had Diane von Furstenberg), ideeli (for designer accessories) too!
#11 Anna on 2008-07-02 10:24 (Reply)
I've had a very similar experience with Haute Look. I was intent on buying my younger sister a pendant by Pagliei. I logged in two minutes after the sale began and they were already sold out of her initial (M)! I'll keep trying with Haute Look, but I find that they're almost always sold out of my size (XS) within a few minutes of their sales starting, and having them for 24 hours doesn't help when their stock runs out so quickly. I'll just have to keep soldiering on! I'm glad your Gilt purchase worked out for you!
#12 Katie on 2008-07-02 10:29 (Reply)
I know, Gilt rocks! I haven't bought anything yet, but every day I get an email about their latest sale, and the designers are always fabulous, and the prices are amazing!
#13 Shoe Smitten (Homepage) on 2008-07-02 10:31 (Reply)
Hey! I'd love for an invite too =)
I love online shopping...
haha thanks =)
#14 Cristy G on 2008-07-02 10:31 (Reply)
I'd love an invite as well!
#15 Justine on 2008-07-02 10:48 (Reply)
Hi all,

I have sent Gilt invites to everyone who has requested one so far.

Spend wisely! :-)
#15.1 The Budget Babe on 2008-07-02 10:52 (Reply)
Am I too late for an invite? I would love to compare it to Ideeli.
#15.1.1 Melissa on 2008-09-10 17:53 (Reply)

I'd really love a Gilt invite too please.

Thanks :-)
#16 Anu on 2008-07-02 10:58 (Reply)
your invite has been sent. i just noticed they're having a last call sale right now with stuff up to 90% off...pretty sweet!
#16.1 The Budget Babe on 2008-07-02 11:29 (Reply)
Hi, I too would like to have a Gilt invite please. Thank you.
#17 Annie on 2008-07-02 12:42 (Reply)
Hi BB! I'd love an invite as well, I'm a sucker for online sample sales!
#18 Gina on 2008-07-02 12:59 (Reply)
Oooh... I haven't heard of this one. Send me an invite too please!

I've been stalking Smartbargains' Rue-la-la, which is the same concept.
#19 Psyche (Homepage) on 2008-07-02 13:14 (Reply)
everyone should be all set, thanks!
#19.1 The Budget Babe on 2008-07-02 14:11 (Reply)
I'm also a Rue-La-La stalker, I had it on my outlook for the YSL sale, got the Y-Mail clutch, which I told myself I would get if they had it if it was docked at least $100 off purchase was and luckily was able to get it...but within five minutes more than half of the stock was out, and when I looked an hour later the whole boutique was sold out.

Would love a Gilt invite! :-)
#19.2 Tiffany on 2008-07-02 14:27 (Reply)
Invite please?! Thanks! :-)
#20 Lauren on 2008-07-02 14:29 (Reply)
any way possible you could send me an invite? i would LOVE to have access to this site. thanks!
#21 stacey on 2008-07-02 15:03 (Reply)
Could I get an invite too please?
#22 Erica on 2008-07-02 15:39 (Reply)
Ooooh, that sounds amazing.
Would it be possible to snag an invite as well?
Nice job on those jeans, I've heard great things about Chip & Pepper, never gotten to try them out myself though >.
#23 George on 2008-07-02 16:25 (Reply)
Love your site! Can I have an invite, please?

#24 Emelia on 2008-07-02 16:58 (Reply)
I'd like an invite please!
#25 Dineille on 2008-07-02 17:23 (Reply)
Ooh! Designer loot? Great prices? Invite, please!
#26 Alanna on 2008-07-02 23:06 (Reply)
Done. I think I sent invites to everyone who asked. If I missed you, please scroll
back up - Gilt has generously extended an invite to all BB readers, so just click
that link and you're good to go! Enjoy.
#26.1 The Budget Babe on 2008-07-03 11:10 (Reply)
I've been stalking Gilt for a while now but just made my first purchase yesterday...your picture as me salivating, I can't wait to get my steal!
#27 Always In Style (Homepage) on 2008-07-03 14:24 (Reply)
I would love an invite.
#28 Julie on 2008-07-03 16:29 (Reply)
the big hip. Peace! :-)
#29 Panda (Homepage) on 2008-07-04 22:30 (Reply)
I know this will one day get me in BIG trouble... but I would love love love an invite please if you wouldn't mind.

Many thanks! Erin
#30 Erin G on 2008-07-05 21:20 (Reply)
ha! spend wisely, your invite has been sent ;-)
#30.1 The Budget Babe on 2008-07-07 09:35 (Reply)
Hi, is it too late to get an invite?
#31 lov on 2008-07-11 22:48 (Reply)
Hi! Is there anyway I could also get an invite? Thanks so much!!
#31.1 pinktubill on 2008-07-16 02:58 (Reply)
Could I please get a Gilt invitation?

I have heard of this site, but don't know how to join.

Thank you!!!
#32 Johanna on 2008-08-08 08:18 (Reply)
Invites have been sent! email me if you still need one: info[at]
#32.1 The Budget Babe on 2008-10-06 21:50 (Reply)
Leave a comment
E-Mail addresses will not be displayed and will only be used for E-Mail notifications.
Enclosing asterisks marks text as bold (*word*), underscore are made via _word_.
Standard emoticons like :-) and ;-) are converted to images.
E-Mail addresses will not be displayed and will only be used for E-Mail notifications.