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The Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Thrift Shop Fall Opening sale was an absolute trip this morning. The annual event offers heavily discounted vintage and gently-worn designer goods—kind of like a Decadestwo for the Golden Girls-set—and benefits the Society of MSKCC's Patient Care, Research and Education Programs (plus it's tax deductible). We bounced around like a pinball in the crowded sale. One woman trying on an Ann Taylor jacket elbowed us viciously, and we watched one tell off another ("You could say excuse me.") Eavesdropping in this place is a story in itself: "It's a shame when women die, but they leave such beautiful clothes." Uh, OK; with that, let's discuss what we found inside the sale.
As this is the Upper East Side, home to really rich people and Gossip Girl, we had high hopes for the Designer Room. The separate room is manned by two extremely intimidating and impeccably dressed headmistress-like bouncers who are straight out of a Merchant Ivory movie. They first directed us to wait in line for crowd control and we sheepishly complied. When they let us in, we found tons of Oscar de la Renta (it is the UES), like an adorable, cropped and puff-sleeved pink wool jacket for $125 and a heavy short-sleeved and nipped-waist LBD for $225. The dresses on the whole were a bit on the mature side, but we found some great pieces in the coats and jackets rack, like an adorable black lightweight Giorgio Armani swing coat for $195 (even the headmistresses nodded in approval) and a navy Guy Laroche peacoat for $175.
Other finds included a fluttery beige bell-sleeved Paul Smith silk shirt for $100, buttery suede Joseph skinny pants for $125, and a yellow and orange patterned Pucci pencil skirt for $150. The pricing was slightly mindboggling at times, like a black leather Genny jacket and a similar Kenneth Cole Reaction one (shouldn't that be out on the main floor?) both priced at $250.
By the way, the entire time we were there gathering intel, the Miss Havisham Twins were talking about us as if we weren't three feet in front of them and in possession of ears. (MH1: "What is she doing?" MH2: "She must be texting" then, "We used to take the train into the city for a nice dinner and blah blah would wear a nice shirt and slacks. But now,"—sigh—"those days are over..." as she gestures towards us. Guess cut-offs with Frye boots don't cut it up in this 'hood.)
Out on the main floor, the womenswear racks were mostly meh except for a pair of J Brand dark wash skinnies (hidden within the mom jeans) for $30, a brown Topshop Peter Pan collar swing coat for $25 (or it could have been $75, couldn't read the writing), and a super cute faux leopard-fur shrug which oddly had a men's label on it for $125. The shoes were a mixed bag, but we found a pair of pointy Sigerson Morrison purple snakeskin kitten heel booties for $59. Up front in the bags section behind the counter, there weren't many designer options (we saw a some imitation Bottega Venetas and a faux Hermès Birkin), but there was a Christian Dior mini-duffle for $350.
Menswear was a bit more fun, as was evidenced by a man excitedly calling his friends ("You have to come up to this sale now! Get in a cab!"). Thank you to all the UES bankers (or their wives) for dropping off so many suits—the racks were full of Brooks Brothers ($85 for a two-piece pinstripe suit), tons of JoS. A. Bank ($65 for a two-piece black suit), and Burberry (loved this natty three-piece houndstooth set for $175). The coat selection was fab, including a deconstructed with hoop-piercing embellished Moschino denim jacket for $135, a Brooks Brothers khaki duster for $95 and a gorgeous heather green-grey long military jacket with beautifully detailed buttons for $120. Button-downs start at $15 and were full of banker blue shirts (Brooks Brothers, Burberry again, etc.) and a smattering of on-trend plaids.
The housewares are also fun to look at for budget finds, like a large picture frame with carved leaf details for $55, Bodum dead-stock coffee makers ($15 for small, $20 for large), and home soda makers for $20. We didn't come across the Gucci, Chanel and Jimmy Choo as advertised, but the sale runs through Saturday and they will be replenishing as needed, so maybe they're all hidden in the back or were pillaged earlier. Just remember, dress properly lest you risk the wrath of the Designer Room minders.
· SMSKCC's Big Sale [Racked NY]
· SMSKCC Thrift Shop [Official Site]