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Girls Rule, Guys Drool at the Elizabeth & James Sample Sale

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The Elizabeth & James sample sale opened early this morning to a small crowd of extremely well-dressed and prompt lady shoppers eager to have first pick of deals. The sale offers discounts on current season spring/summer 2010 pieces and past season samples all $200 and under. When we arrived at 9:50am, the frantic rummaging had already begun and pieces were starting to make their way off the hangers and onto the floor.

The sale is organized by type, starting with casual tees and tanks on the right ($35 to $50), then, going counter-clockwise, pants ($70 to $75), dresses ($80 to $100), dressier separates ($60 to $75) and then shorts and skirts ($70). There are also two closets filled with coats ($200), jackets and blazers ($150) and vests ($80). Also check the bins for past season slouchy and chunky sweaters ($80 to $100) and sweater vests ($50).

A few words of advice: Since some items are one-of-a-kind samples, definitely look through the racks meticulously. We kept seeing girls around the room holding really cute pieces that we didn't come across earlier, like a slouchy shearling vest and a gray silk long-sleeve jumpsuit with button-embellished shoulders. Also important to note, about 95% of the womenswear pieces are size small or 4, with a medium, 6 or 8 scattered here and there. Be sure to carefully inspect each piece as we did notice some rips and holes in a number of items. The pricing can also be a bit vague (like, is a corset a sleeveless blouse/tank? The staffer we asked wasn't sure).

We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the menswear selection is pretty paltry. There is just one sad little rack of sample tees, shirts and jackets (some still had masking tape on the collar). Unless you're accompanying a lady friend to the sale, it might not be worth the visit. Sorry, guys, but the head staffer did say that they will have another sample before the holiday season, so better luck then.

The sale also shares a space with LaRok and Patterson J. Kincaid (all three brands are offspring of the same parent company, Koral Industries), so if you're in the market for some sparkle to mix in with your understated Elizabeth & James, stop in the back (the price lists are also in the photo gallery). Or you could use this back sale as a makeshift fitting area like a number of ladies were doing, creating a crowded half-dressed, explosion of sequins and underwear all in one space. Speaking of fitting areas, there aren't any and on top of that, no mirrors anywhere, so bring a trustworthy friend. They will not be replenishing the stock, so stop in soon for the best deals.
· Dealfeed: Elizabeth & James [Racked]

Elizabeth & James Sample Sale

250 W. 39th Street, New York, NY