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At the Elie Tahari Sale, It's All About the Leather, Baby

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Although the Elie Tahari sample sale is always a hot ticket (read: a grabby, frenzied mob scene) for young professionals and women-of-a-certain age, there are usually pleasant surprises for the rest of us whose wardrobe predilections aren't always skewing toward the biz-cazh look. We ventured by the preview yesterday to check out womenswear and menswear starting around $49 for separates (technically $19 for knitwear, but like last time it's nowhere to be seen) and topping out at $499 for fur and shearling for the ladies. And like last time, we only had eyes for the leather.

Fear not ladies, there is a silver lining to this frigid spring weather returning: More opportunity to wear the soft, buttery and pretty-edgy-for-Tahari leather jackets on offer for $279. We spied zip-front moto-styles, a slouchy and metallic python suede number, perforated camel lean-cut silhouettes, some Bon-Jovi–esque fringe, and our favorite: a silky, drapey caramel belted trench with a tulip cowl-neck. We carried it around like it was a precious little baby for 20 minutes before reluctantly parting with it. It was rightfully and immediately snatched up, but we did see a second one floating around. There is also a selection of leather skirts (perforated, suede, python-embellished, plus a pair of red hot pants) for $79 and leather pants (few and far between) are $99.

The shoes and bags are also a nice respite from the craziness that's going down in the apparel aisles. Shoe sizes start at 36 and pricing runs $79 for ballerina styles and flats and $99 for "assorted shoes" and sample pumps. It was hard to tell the difference between the latter two, so we'll just assume that anything with a wedge or heel is $99. The shoe selection was pretty diverse (read: young) and we gravitated toward the raffia wedges with python detail in the navy and teal hues, plus some woven leather wooden wedges. Surprisingly, most of these styles resided on the size seven rack.

The bags are located along the wall and pricing runs: $79 for small, $179 for medium and $249 for large. We liked the medium-size braided strap hobo and the Bottega Veneta-looking larger styles, especially the soft, creamy ones. There is also a random selection of bags of all sizes behind a counter and we spied lots of evening styles.

As for the womenswear, preview shoppers were frantically snatching up dresses priced at $99 for day and $129 for evening. While the looks range from flashy little sequined cocktail frocks to more "mom" styles, there were some gems to be found. We liked a black body-con leather paneled long sleeve dress, a Thakoon-like silk abstract floral shift, and a one-shoulder navy and black deconstructed-rosette embellished frock. There were also enough garnet-hued evening gowns to outfit two sets of bridesmaids. The sizing for womenswear runs the gamut, depending on the style. The samples mixed in are roughly a size six.

There is an abbreviated men's section at the sale, but we had the feeling that the gents didn't quite have the reserve to handle the usual estrogen-fueled madness at a Tahari sale. In case guys do decide to brave the fray, or need a distraction while their better halves are waiting in a monster dressing room line, they will find an array of button down shirting for $49, pants for $49 (we found a pair of awesome paisley shorts, plus some grey loungey-luxe sweat pant-trousers) and coats and jackets running from $99 to $279 for leather. The leather coat section (admired a navy multi-zip moto-jacket) was being sadly ignored. In regards to sizing, menswear samples run medium and some items, like the jeans offered a range of sizes.

There is a coat and bag check at the front and they're pretty strict, so pack light. There are separate dressing areas for ladies and men. Be prepared for a line at the ladies, but there were tumbleweeds running through the men's dressing area. Mentally prime yourself for a line at check out, too. Staffers did confirm that they will be replenishing, but would not confirm to any markdowns later on in the sale. Full price lists are in the photo gallery and there you have it, folks!
· Dealfeed: Elie Tahari [Racked NY]
· Elie Tahari [Official Site]