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Menswear at the Upside-Down Steven Alan Sample Sale

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So, yeah: We got there at 3:30pm and there was still a wait. After about a half an hour we'd finally made it in and checked our bag for what has become the menswear sale of menswear sales: The Steven Alan sample sale. And, well, it was kind of a bum out.

The street level space, usually ground zero of Steven Alan's symphony of khaki and woven, is now devoted to the other brands—that usual list of names that share showroom space (or at least sample sale space), plus a wall of smudgy-colored bargain basement Alternative Apparel and overly-fussy ties and suspenders by Bentley Cravats.

We'd like to tell you all about the stock from Hyden Yoo, Rogan, 8:15, Relwen and Left Field, but the one aisle of menswear was so overly full of anxious shoppers and misplaced or overflowing womenswear that we didn't have much of a chance. Hyden Yoo's offerings are usually the best of these not-Steven Alan racks, and today was no different. We liked several chunky, shawl-collared sweaters and mid-weight waxed canvas outerwear. Prices were great, starting at $60; sizes are mostly small. Another good bet are thick flannels from Relwen, also around $60.

Downstairs is now Steven Alan country and prices are pretty standard with sizes that run the gamut. Lots and lots of shirts in the standard range of broadcloth blue, plaids, checks and prints with a few Liberty florals thrown in for good measure (the tufted bird print is great, the acid-colored micro-florals we're not sold on). Do they seem a bit more garish than usual? Maybe. And, yes, that teal and brown micro-tartan is the same one Richard Chai and Marc Jacobs used. Racks are definitely stuffed but there seem to be fewer of them. Short-sleeved numbers are still $58; longer sleeves will still cost you an extra $10.

Sweaters are $149, sweater vests are $99—there's a pretty broad selection ranging from papery cardigans to very heavy Fair Isle knits. Coats and outerwear top out at $199 while blazers top out at around $95—a roughly $50 price reduction since doors opened this morning. Unfortunately, the blazer selection is anemic and many of the coats look like reruns. We'd still take the black, red and white tartan pea coat, though.

Tees, polos and sweatshirts range from $25 to $45. Pants and shorts have each been reduced since the sale opened, with pants now at $45 and shorts for $25. There aren't a ton of pants and what's there is pretty standard. There are a lot of shorts, however—including cerulean shorties and a litany of ginghams—so check those out if the holidays are taking you somewhere tropical.

The shoe selection is pretty sad with a few rejected Generic Surplus styles, Keds that really should be left to the girls and a bin of equally-girlie printed faux-Toms. Otherwise, there's a cute array of bags, totes and winter accessories; an arsenal of out-of-season Hawaiiana from Reyn Spooner; some heavy tan twill from an American heritage cash-in line by Dickies; and boxes of assorted ties. The ties are four for $50—thing is, we couldn't find four we liked.

The takeaway: There's certainly a lot to buy, but it's not the Steven Alan sale's finest hour and your best bet might be waiting for thinner crowds and smaller prices come Sunday.
· An Up-Close Look at Womenswear at the Steven Alan Sample Sale [Racked]
· Men in Plaid and Women in Clogs Turn Out for Steven Alan [Racked]
· A Quick and Dirty Preview of the Steven Alan Sample Sale [Racked]
· Dealfeed: Steven Alan [Racked]

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