Have I ever mentioned that I used to have a major dress addiction? My poison of choice is Emily and Fin dresses. This British clothing brand produces sustainable high quality clothing with a vintage twist. They mostly use eco-friendly materials and I figured that I’d mention my love of E&F dresses as my favorite part of the year is coming: the annual Emily and Fin Sample Sale in London.
I don’t usually discuss clothing, however as a graduate student, I collected quite a few Emily and Fin dresses that still perfectly fit me years later. They’ve traveled from country to country and it’s shocked me that one cotton dress can wear so well. What I really love about the E&F brand that is they’re accessible for women of all different body shapes and sizes unlike many dress companies and depending on the cut, I often find something that suits my curvy frame.
Each year, Emily and Fin has a massive sample sale in London where they sell their stunning dresses for up to 80% off retail value. Last year, I flew into London especially for the Emily and Fin sample sale–and I have a couple of tips for y’all considering a visit in July. Even if you’re not an E&F fanatic, it’s still worth dropping by their sample sale, which is usually listed on their Facebook page under events.
(Dates for Emily and Fin Sample Sale for 2019: 10th July 2019 to July 16th, 2019 at the Old Truman Brewery)
As a veteran of the E&F sample sale, I have a couple tips for you all to score the best dresses.
Come with a plan with your ISOs
For all of you not in the know, an ISO is something that you’re “in search of.” For many fashionistas who spend a lot of time on online or in Facebook groups, you might be obsessing over one cut or one pattern. I ended up making an entire PDF booklet of my ISO dresses that I gave to my husband (who came with me), so that he could help me locate the dresses that I wanted to find. (He had no idea about the cuts or the patterns.) I found a few of my ISOs, but it’s best to allow yourself to be surprised.
Try to attend the sample sale in the first 1-2 days
The best stuff is sold in the first 1-2 days although you’re still likely to find gems later on during the sample sale. I ended up visiting on the third day of the sample sale last year and even after quite a few things went, even more came out. Keep in mind that the older cuts go more quickly, but if you’re seeking the newer cuts, you might enjoy the later days of the sale more. Some people come back daily as the selection changes so much.
Know your size in UK sizes and which cuts work for you.
At least in the previous venue, there weren’t that many fitting rooms and there were so many things I wanted to try on. It’s best to know which cuts work best on your figure and what size you are. I tend to fall in between two sizes depending on the cut of the bust, so I was able to quickly pick up my favorite cuts without having to worry about trying them on after finding a dress in one of my favorite patterns. It’s good to know that the cuts vary a lot, so if one doesn’t suit you, another might.
Wear something that is easy to take on and off.
This is a pro-tip, but the fitting rooms were quite crowded. I’d recommend wearing something easy to take in and off as you might go in and out of the fitting rooms quite a few times. I ended up wearing one of my E&F dresses to the sale, which seemed appropriate. I wish that I had worn a t-shirt and a skirt to make it easier to try on the sweaters and skirts on.
Don’t be heartbroken if your ISO isn’t in your size or if it doesn’t fit
There’s a ton of Emily and Fin dress lovers and many of us have the same ISOs. I tried on a dress that I desperately wanted to fit. It didn’t. I was disappointed, but found a dress in an older cut that I absolutely love and wear to every business event that I attend now.
I was really heartbroken when one of the cuts that I was obsessing about, the Frankie, didn’t fit like I wanted. It gapped in the front and I ended up buying it despite the non-so-perfect fit. (I regret that a bit.) The cut vary a lot, so the E&F sale is a great opportunity to try out different dress styles that you might not usually get. I ended up buying a wiggle dress, which is a style that I never buy, however it fit so perfect that I now wear it regularly.
Bring your credit card and set a budget maximum
Most dresses at the E&F sample sale cost 25 pounds per dress although you might be able to snag a beauty for 10 pounds (like I did!). I also saw a number of skirts as well as tops and sweaters in the 10-25 pound range. I generally haven’t bought Emily and Fin’s sweaters, but I ended up falling in love with a green sweater that I struggled to put back after hitting my shopping budget.
With the conversion to euros or dollars, the Emily and Fin sample sale is still a steal although you still need to factor in the cost of visiting London. I’m based in the Netherlands, so I was able to visit for about 150 euros for the weekend, including one night at a hostel, my flight, and food.
Last year, they accepted credit cards, including Visa. I had no problems paying although I had an issue leaving without more items… A new E&F dress can cost up to 100 euros, so I know that it can be tempting to buy every dress that you fancy, however it’s not worth going into credit card debt over dresses. I recommend setting a firm cap as I didn’t want to overspend as I already spent quite a bit getting to the sale.
Even if it doesn’t work perfectly for you, there are tons of E&F lovers online who will be happy to take that dress off your hands.
I got one dress (the Frankie with Tennis racquets) that I was on the fence about. I liked it, but I’ve been trying to tone down my style in the past year. It was not the easiest decision, however I ended up choosing to sell it for what I paid for it in the Emily and Fin Swap & Sell Facebook group after realizing that I wouldn’t wear it enough to justify it. It feels good connecting someone else with their ISO dress. (I’ve featured a few of the beautiful ladies from this group in this post!)
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2 days till the weekend!! Of course the weather is going to be cooler though and then warm up again on Monday. How does mother nature when it's the weekend?! . . Dress by @Emilyandfin Cardigan by @mak_sweater Brooch by @erstwilderofficial Primer, foundation and blush by @maccosmetics Wifey liquid lip and Liberace Highlight by @jeffreestarcosmetics Eyebrows by @anastasiabeverlyhills dip brow in Ebony Shape Tape concealer and tarteist mascara by @tartecosmetics Eyeshadow from the brown section of the 35P palette by @morphebrushes Liquid liner in Trooper by @katvondbeauty De-Slick setting spray by @urbandecaycosmetics #ootd #ootdsocialclub #whatiwore #whatiworetoday #pinup #pinupstyle #pinupgirl #retrostyle #retrogirl #broochlover #broochaddict #alldressalways #modcloth #maccosmestics #jeffreestarcosmetics #erstwilder #emilyandfinmyway #emilyandfin #emilyandfinweek
You don’t need to stay somewhere expensive in London to attend the Emily and Fin sample sale
I stayed at St. Christopher’s Liverpool Street for only 47 pounds for the night. I assumed that London would be terribly expensive, but I was surprised to find that it can be affordable if you know where to eat and you avoid the big expensive attractions. We ended up having incredible bagels as well as Pakistani food.
On one of the days, my husband and I walked around all of London on foot taking in sights and walking along the Thames. On the second day, I spent 3-4 hours at the E&F sample sale with my friend Eulanda before exploring the cool neighborhood of Shoreditch. It was a relaxing little weekend in London and I’m so glad that I attended as it was a great first trip to London.