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Above the Fray: Steven Alan Has Acres of Merchandise

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We've just returned from the press preview of the Steven Alan sample sale, and it feels a bit like we ran a marathon. If you go tomorrow, budget a lot of time. The sale is two floors: A ground floor with Steven Alan merchandise, and an extended basement with clothes, shoes and bags from other designers. (The company recently expanded their downstairs showroom, and they're using every inch of it for merch.) Shoppers aren't allowed to bring anything from upstairs to the basement—you're supposed to pay for it and leave it at the bag check. What this means is that you should scope out the downstairs before you even think about the Steven Alan stuff, since there's so much more variety down there.

Highlights from downstairs: Gryson bags run $200 to $300. Supersoft Demylee cashmere sweaters are $129 to $300, while less soft but appealingly ruffled Spring and Clifton sweaters are $110. The room with the sweaters also has a ton of dresses: Patterned ones from Secrets of Charm for $110, black damask ones by Christopher Dean for $125. There's a whole rack of Lawless basics with $40 dresses and $30 tops, silk Sunshine and Shadow tops for $80, and a ton of little coats floating around. As for the accessories, they're less exciting than the clothes, but certainly worth a look: Gryson bags are $200 to $300, Matt Bernson flats are $50, those strange covered-wedge 80/20 boots are $100, and clog boots run $100 to $160 depending on how furry they are.

Upstairs is less chaotic, but no less enticing. You'll see a lot of plaid and stripes, some of it distinctly unseasonal. Dresses run around $150, women's tops $89. The coat selection is strong: $159 trenches, $350 leather bombers, cute duffels for $299 and adorable cropped houndstooth coats for $159. The room is lined in knitwear, with women's sweaters going for $159 ($89 for vests) and men's from about $135 to $309. Sadly, the men's shirts weren't quite the deal we'd been hoping, but at $169, they're not awful. Many of the men's shirts have their original tags still on, but don't be fooled like (cough) some of us were: they're $60 or $69, $40 for samples. There's also a smallish kids' section, if you happen to have precociously fashionable children.
· Steven Alan [Dealfeed]