Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
Earlier today, we trekked over to the wild, wild west of Chelsea for a spot check on the twice-yearly Fred Perry sample sale, which started Monday morning. Much to our pleasant surprise, there are still a lot of great items to be had—including samples from the fall/winter '11 season and pieces from collaborations with Stussy, Raf Simons and Amy Winehouse.
Prices and sizes are pretty standard for the sale. Items are going for at least 50% off retail and the bulk of merchandise comes exclusively in sample sizes. For men that means mediums and 32s throughout (though the Raf samples are, unsurprisingly, smalls and 30s). Shoes are 9s, women's shoes 6.5s. That said, the showroom's other brands are offering stock in addition to samples. Translation: There are a range of sizes on both the J.S.Dundee and Canterbury of New Zealand racks—Londoner on a country hunt and super classic lightweight sportswear respectively.
For men: Polos are your first stop. Long-sleeved piques in solids and rugby stripes start at $41. A variety of chunkier sweater-polos opened up at $68. We're on the fence with these—they could make a lot of guys look pretty lumpy, but if ya got it, flaunt it. Meanwhile, the classic polos—mostly pique—are available in a rainbow of solids, stripes, pindots, gingham prints, buffalo checks and nautical prints. Additionally, we even spotted a few World Cup editions in the mix along with a variety of contrast and striped collars. The best part: The basics start at about $34.
Sweaters are on the opposite rack but just looking at them from a distance got us sweating. Instead, there's a small selection of great wovens. Long- and short-sleeved, there are basic broadclothes along with plaids and checks. Several feature grosgrain plackets, color-blocked insets and patterned trims. They range in price from $54 to $100. Next door look for tennis whites starting at $34 and a good selection of summer shorts (and short shorts) starting at around $40. Standard tees are $20; the Stussy versions, including ringers and pique iterations, are mixed in and priced at $30. Past those we recommend a good, long look at pants. A great selection of slim chinos, corduroys, and tailored-but-still-casual trousers await in olive, khaki, navy and burgundy. They start around $60 and top off with special edition corduroys priced at about $100.
Elsewhere, a good chunk of Raf Simons remains, mostly in shades of black, hot orange, acid yellow and white. Mesh-wrapped shorts are $122 and the coordinating tee is $65, trousers are $80, long-sleeved piques are $65, and patchwork polos are $110. As for bags, they start at $37 (look for some fantastic Harris Tweed duffles) with a lone Stussy bowler priced at $105. You'll spot some rerun trackies, hoodies and polos that haven't found homes at previous sales (will no one wear a purple polka dot track jacket?), but they're marked way down—many are $48. Another steal: Sneakers and casual shoes are $40 a pair. Finally, not that you're cold, light Baracuta-style jackets in plaids and solids start at $85 while heavier woolen tartans are $78. A few versatile-looking windbreakers are $74.
For the ladies: Basic trackies and polos in a rainbow of color and print both start right around $40, but our money is on a smart array of pique polo dresses with contrast collars. They start at $55. Dressier items include a fantastic printed tunic that gives us a bit of a Golden Girls vibe (but in a good way). It's $133. A worsted wool many-pleated mini is $87, and a plethora of summery shirt dresses open up at $78. Less dressy: A soft jersey skirt in navy is $48.
Several pairs of over-dyed skinny denim—lemon yellow, red, periwinkle, mouse gray—were a steal at $60; and woven blouses, including a great blue-on-white nautical print, are priced around $74. Tennis gear opens up at a mere $18; handbags start around $90; and a glut of tennis shoes and sneakery flats are priced at $30 or four pairs for $100.
Last but not necessarily least, there's a lot of Amy Winehouse's predictably trashy collaboration pieces. A yellow bolero with a backside poorly embellished in some sort of tattoo graphic is $74. The Winehouse Baracuta is $140. And a clump of cropped bowling-style shirts with printed trims and contrast pleats start at $54.