Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pocketful of Bows (+ Gilt City DC Warehouse Sale)

I went to the Gilt City DC warehouse sale over the weekend. It's a bi-annual event held in multiple cities across the country. My sister-in-law had an extra ticket for Sat. at 11am and asked if I wanted to go. Of course! Sleep can be caught up another day. Also, I've never been to these sample/warehouse-type sales before, so if anything, it'd be a fun experience.

We arrived about 45 mins early and there were already ~20 people ahead of us. While waiting in line, we saw most people from the 9am time slot leave with a white shopping bag containing their goodies. I was just thinking, I hope there's some good stuff left! Time to put on my big girl pants, roll my sleeves, and ready to be aggressive if need be. At 11am, we were promptly let inside. Coats and large bags were checked at the door.

Before going in, a security guard gave us a heads up that shoes have been pretty much picked over. Even with that knowledge in mind, my game plan was: shoes, bags, then clothes in that order. Sure enough, there was one sad table with less than 15 pairs of shoes left. I was disappointed, but the feeling didn't compare to when I realized there were no bags at this sale. Nor were there accessories or jewelry. Cue mental tears. Oh well, off to the clothes section I go.

Clothes racks were marked sizes XS-XL, but of course there were put backs placed in the wrong section. As expected, the selection was better for larger sizes. Regardless of size, I thought there were way too many pieces not worth the price tag (due to item condition). Gilt advertised this sale as up to 90% off retail, but I felt the dollar prices in general were only a tad lower than their online prices. Factor in damages (I saw ripped embroidery, missing buttons, stains -- makeup and unknown), and I think most people would gladly pay a bit more for pristine items while shopping from the comfort of their own home.

The one item I did bring home was a jacket by RED Valentino, as featured in today's outfit below. It retailed for $595 and I paid $110. One could say I got a "steal" at 80% off, but monetary-wise, it is still a hundred dollars. Out of the few items that I grabbed and tried on, this jacket was the one that I didn't expect much of. Lo and behold, I actually liked the cropped style on me. I'm wearing a US 6/EU 44 and probably could've gone down one size (had I been able to find one). But since my shoulders are broader relative to my torso, I don't think the bagginess is too noticeable and works as a cute topper -- or perhaps that's just my sale-addled brain talking.

Some final parting thoughts on the sale...

- Gilt charges a price for admission. From what I gathered, the first time slot on Fri. night was reserved for VIPs (7-9pm). Tickets weren't sold so I don't even know how one gets on the VIP list. I would imagine many of the good items were picked over during this time slot. The next time slot (9-11pm) and first that's open to the public costs $20 to enter. All other time slots were held the next day from 9am-5pm in two-hour intervals. All tickets on Sat. cost $10 with the exception of the last time slot, which went for $5. For the Sat. time slots, Gilt marked down the prices another 30%. I'm assuming the prices on Fri. did not include this additional markdown. So it's worth weighing the pros/cons to see if an extra $10 up front on Fri. night is worth it for potentially better selection vs. smaller selection on Sat. but with an additional 30% markdown.

- Manage expectations. I think upon hearing "sample and warehouse sale!" most people are expecting amazing deals. Not always true. The items being sold are still designer, so even when marked down a good percentage, the price being sold at is probably only considered "reasonable" to the average person.

- It must've been nice to be a guy at this sale. Their shoe selection was 5x larger compared to the women's, though their clothes section was probably 1/3 the size of the women's. But given the much smaller population of males at the sale, odds were definitely in their favor. There was also a small section for baby/kids clothes.

- After hearing stories from friends who have been to Barneys warehouse sales and the like, I was ready for a no holds barred-type of atmosphere. Instead, everyone was so civilized! I heard multiple "Oh I'm sorry" when two girls reached for the same item. When a girl realized she was cutting in front of me, she apologized and moved behind me. I shot her a befuddled look because I'm not sure I would've done the same. Afterwards, I talked to SIL about this and she said it's probably a DC thing because in NY, there are no apologies to be heard. Or perhaps this is just a non-NY thing? Regardless, it was quite interesting.

- Would I go to another Gilt warehouse sale? Sure, if I somehow become an overnight VIP. Otherwise, I don't know. $10 isn't horrible in the grand scheme of things because Gilt provides alcoholic refreshments/water, snacks, and a DJ, so it's something fun to do with friends for a couple of hours.
cowlneck sweater, cropped jacket
cowlneck sweater, cropped jacket
sunglasses: Walmart aviator (similar)
lips: Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in wink for pink (sold here)
jacket: RED Valentino bow detail (similar; similar)
sweater: Gap cowlneck (sold here - 25% off)
rings: H&M (similar)
jeans: LOFT knit denim leggings (may still be in stores)
shoes: YSL Charlotte pumps in Millennium print (sold here; similar; similar)

14 comments:

  1. Awww I am sad to hear the sample sale wasn't as well-stocked as you had hoped but I do like your lone find! It's RED Valentino>>>bows>>>so I automatically lover it!

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    1. I did think of you when I found the jacket amongst the racks. Too bad there wasn't a smaller size or I would've picked it up for ya! I also saw this beautiful pink lace pencil skirt by Valentino. It was actually a small size too and looked like it would fit. I quickly put it back on the racks after seeing the $500 price tag. Now I regret not even trying it on because a girl behind me snatched it up the min I put it back =/

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  2. That's a super-cute jacket and I think a great buy for you! I know what you mean about going to sample sales - I've only ever been to a few in NYC but I always half wonder if I end up buying something because I feel like I need to make my time worthwhile there!

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    1. Yes! My time and the admissions ticket (even though I didn't pay for one). I think psychologically I was pushed towards the direction of "must find something to buy!" more so than usual. Sigh. Will have to work on that.

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  3. Cute jacket.u are lucky.my friend went last year and came back with a cute pair of dual tone quilted corso como pumps for 39 dollars. But based on her experience, i don't think ppl with small shoe sizes (,5, 5.5 for me)would get any great deal.

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    1. I think I know the exact pair you're talking about. Cap toe quilted pumps reminiscent of Chanel? It's a beauty and your friend was lucky to have snatched it up at that price! I really should've taken more time to look at the shoe table to see what kind of sizes were left, but I was in a hurry to browse through the clothing racks. I bet you're right though and smaller shoes were probably a rarity.

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  4. That is SUCH a cute jacket! It looks great paired with all black.

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  5. Cute jacket and what a good price! I went to the Gilt warehouse sale in Seattle, and was in the first VIP batch on Friday night (I believe that the VIP was just $15 instead of $10, so no, it wasn't some sort of secret society that you had to get into) because some Gilt rep emailed and invited me (I would definitely NOT pay $10 to go on my own). It was overwhelming because it was in the middle of the summer and it was HOT HOT HOT in the warehouse and so crowded, though there was no pushing or shoving, and everyone was civil. I didn't think the prices were that low either, like, there were some Seychelles sandals that I wanted that were marked to $29.99 but other than that, there really was nothing I really wanted. I got some cute baby jeggings from Joes Jeans for $10, but the womens section wasn't that great. I saw a few pairs of J.Brand jeans that were completely ripped that were still going for at least $50, which is pretty ridiculous.

    I think if I had paid money to go and didn't have a budget to stick to, I would have been more likely to purchase something just because. I hate making purchasing decisions on the whim, so I hated that all sales were final and I couldn't return anything if I changed my mind. I guess it was a fun first time experience just to see what it was all about, but I don't think I'll ever do it again.

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    1. Whaat?! You VIP lucky duck. I wonder if they changed the admissions process? I looked through the Gilt City website after it was pretty much sold out and saw they sold tickets for every time slot except the one for the Fri. 7-9 VIP slot. So that's why I assumed it wasn't opened to the public.

      I would've gladly traded the hot temps you endured over the poor lighting indoors when I went. Ours was held at an art gallery and for some reason they placed items in spots with horrible lighting. There were some racks where all I had to go on was by touch because I couldn't see the details at all.

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  6. I read your whole post (super helpful, btw! not sure if I would ever pay for admission given the prices of their sales) before scrolling down to see the photos and wasn't sure what to expect...but wow! I LOVE the jacket on you! It's neutral, classic with a little twist. I'm also just a huge sucker for beige swing jackets and bows though...

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    1. Ahh Jean, you'd probably be aghast if you saw how the jacket fit me in person. I think I'm gonna have to take it to the tailors to slim the sides a bit. For some reason it photographed better than I expected.

      I did think of you when I came across a few RED Valentino items... but sadly none were the bow coats that you tried on/talked about when we were in SF.

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  7. Great find Cee! I've been to the Barney's Warehouse sale in LA a few times and the last few I went to were largely disappointing. Like you said...prices weren't reflective of the poor state of the clothes, no handbags, and shoes were slim pickin's. Although BWS was free admission...not sure how I'd feel about paying an entrance fee since I mostly browse without much success.

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    1. Wow. Barney's warehouse sales are legendary! I'm so surprised at the lack of inventory. You're lucky to have choices when it comes to sample/warehouse sales in LA that I don't think it's worth paying for Gilt. The less unfortunate people in smaller cities like myself can't afford to be as picky.

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