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Designer Goods and Pleasant Attitudes at the SMSKCC Thrift Sale

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After the last two amusing, but slightly traumatic experiences at the bi-annual Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering Thrift Shop sales, we admit we were a bit fearful to try again. But to our relief, today's Fall Opening was an all-around pleasant experience. Known as the Bergdorfs of Thrift Shops, the showcase sale always draws large and pretty aggressive crowds clamoring over gently-worn designer labels like Christian Dior, Giorgio Armani, Diane Von Furstenberg, Burberry and Oscar de la Renta.

Thankfully, we missed the initial and usually crazed (putting it lightly) crowds. As we made our way past an Hermès sale-size line at the register, we took a breath and headed straight back to the famed Designer Room.

If you'll recall in sales past, we've had passive aggressive, as well as, full-on run-ins with the matrons guarding the room. We didn't have to worry this time though, because a major staffing shake-up has occurred. Gone are the gossiping, fitting-room-invading school marms. Instead, we were greeted by a very refined, polite and well-dressed as always volunteer who gently asked us to wait a moment before ushering us in with a smile.

Inside, we felt relaxed to browse the racks to find a couple brand new St. John textured cream frocks ($495), an Yigal Azrouël sweat-shirt material strapless, bustier dress ($225), a Lanvin black structured silk collared coat ($285), a Celine navy wool day dress ($150), a Donna Karan dead-stock slinky cocktail dress ($250), and a Giorgio Armani camel-hued wool and silk lined jacket ($325). It also seemed like the buyers had a special eye for true vintage this time around. We loved the gold-lace and crushed silk Mary McFadden dress ($175), a beautiful 70s Leonard Paris pleated floral maxi-dress ($295), an 80s-era Christian Dior navy poncho with leather paisley embellishment ($175) and an a-line Diane Von Furstenberg graphic-print maxi-dress ($125).

On the main floor for ladies, there was lots of randomness, but we saw one girl with a cute Marc by Marc Jacobs plaid cropped cardigan and came across a black and white graphic knit Nanette Lepore dress ($50). The shoes aren't a huge draw, but we did see labels like Jimmy Choo, Ferragamo and Prada. The styles were just a bit conservative or outdated and they were a bit worse for wear. As for the bags, don't get too excited by the ones behind the counter. They look like Tod's totes and Hermès Birkins, but alas, they are not. Oh, and we noticed that our Designer Room school marm nemesis has been re-assigned to the bag and accessories counter. We tried not to register on her radar, but did witness her cracking a couple smiles while helping out other customers.

Now for the men, who usually do quite well at this sale. We have a feeling that the more daring of the Upper East Side donors purged their closets during the last two seasons. This time around, the finds—while nice and refined—just weren't as much fun. The shirts were much more expensive, too. But we did notice that one gentleman unloaded a bunch of Turnbull & Asser boldly-printed button downs ($45 each and a size 16 1/2 x 42 cm, if you're wondering) and another released his Brioni collection (suits for $385 and shirting for $125—and the cuffs were elegantly starched). Refreshingly, a lone jewel-tone striped Gucci silk button down ($70) peeked out of the line-up of banker blues and stripes. Of course there were the requisite Burberry trenches, too, for $200 each.

This sale, which benefits SMSKCC's Patient Care, Research and Education Programs, runs through Saturday. So, pleasant shopping and a worthy cause, what more can you ask for? Plus, more items in all categories will be steadily released each day.
· Dealfeed: Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Thrift Shop [Racked NY]
· The Snooty School Marms are Back at the SMSKCC Thrift Shop Sale [Racked NY]
· SMSKCC [Official Site]
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Jimmy Choo Fifth Avenue

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