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The Elizabeth & James sale, offering 50% to 70% off of mainline Elizabeth & James and Elizabeth & James Textile for both women and men, kicked off with a brewing storm earlier today. The sale shares a space with friends La Rok and Patterson J. Kincaid, but the die-hard E&J fans were already hard at work in the back digging through the racks.
For womenswear, the items are a mix of samples and randomly sized overstock. Prices run from $40 for soft, short-sleeve tissue tees to $250 for a small selection of outerwear.
We were initially drawn to the mini-skirts (lovely printed ruffles, elegant brocade, sexy basic black and adorable polka dots) and shorts (cuffed dressy denim, slouchy sweat-shorts, and corduroy) priced at a relatively reasonable $50 each. The dresses ran the gamut from girly-grungy pleated front baby-dolls to über-short mesh tulle strapless frocks for $150.
The jacket section featured some $150 finds, including a ruched, pointy shoulder number (in khaki, navy and black), khaki boyfriend blazers with rolled up sleeves, and plaid fitted linen blazers. The outerwear was on the pricier side at $250, but we did find some polka dot car coats, trenches, and one wool herringbone style.
Sweaters are $80, but sadly we only really found one: a bathrobe-esque cable-knit bobble number that must have weighed 20 pounds and made us look like Mary-Kate from her homeless-chic days. We lamented the lack of sweaters with two very determined male shoppers who nevertheless cleaned house in the menswear section.
Speaking of menswear—there are about three racks of E&J and E&J Textile menswear featuring lots of samples (many did not have the labels sewn in). But we found lots of one-off suit jackets (khaki, vertical stripes, denim, wool and silk-blend) for $100 each and a bunch of colorful patterned button down shirts for $70 each. All the Textile jeans are $50 and menswear and womenswear are mixed into some racks.
Near the entrance of the sale, there are also two $20 bins full of t-shirts, tanks, and some damaged sample shirts (as in Sharpie writing all over the front). Careful, though, because these turned into the bins of disappointment for us. At first, we were so excited to find a decent condition striped v-neck batwing top buried under some damaged shirts. Our joy was quickly quashed at checkout when the cashier told us that the shirt didn't belong in the bin and we needed to pay $50 instead.
This brings us to a bit of a sample sale pet peeve. Usually when retailers, from Bloomingdale's to Rite Aid, mark the wrong price on an item, they still honor the erroneous price. But at sample sales, this gesture of good faith is sometimes ignored. We understand that the discounts are huge to begin with, but it wasn't our fault the shirt was in the wrong bin (and it was right at the start of the sale, so most likely a shopper didn't put the shirt there) and there's a big difference between a $50 rayon-blend top and a $20 one. So no, we didn't end up buying it.
There isn't a fitting area, but there are a few mirrors scattered throughout the showroom. Cash and credit are both accepted, and fear not—staffers promise to restock every day of the sale.
· Dealfeed: Elizabeth & James [Racked]