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Navigating the Clothing Offerings at the J.Crew Sample Sale

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At any major sample sale with tons of stock, it's easy for things to dissolve into a big chaotic mess. The J.Crew sample sale is no stranger to that phenomenon. So we're happy to report that 260 Fifth Avenue appears to be testing out a new layout this time around. There are fewer racks, and the clothing aisles are wider to make it easier for you to shop.

Of course, fewer racks doesn't mean less merchandise. We hear they have hired more sales floor employees to help with constant restocking, which means that the best stuff will percolate on the racks for longer. They also appear to have set up a long row of full length mirrors along the back of the sales floor in lieu of changing rooms. We think this is an improvement over the past J.Crew sale and can't wait to see how it all plays out.

Before we get to the women's and men's clothing selection, we need to talk pricing. These prices aren't bargain-basement by any standard, especially for a mall store. We've scored items for less on the J.Crew clearance racks; you probably have as well. Personally, we like to save our shopping money for where we get more bang for the buck (particularly when there are mark downs). But, depending on what you're looking for, it seems like the pickings here are more abundant than clearance racks and the items are more current.

First, the ladies. The selection includes J.Crew, J.Crew Factory, J.Crew Collection, and Madewell items. While the the J.Crew and J.Crew Factory items are mixed together (watch out for pricing traps!), the Madewell and J.Crew Collection items have their own nooks. Pricing appears to be consistent across the J.Crew and Madewell brands, but J.Crew Collection items are priced as marked.

When you start at the front of the sales floor, you will be faced with a selection of J.Crew and J.Crew Factory items. These are organized by type of clothing and size. We expected to find rejected items, a la J.Crew clearance racks, but were pleasantly surprised to see some totally on-point offerings. Our favorites were a happy yellow silk blouse with shoulder stripes for $30, a Harvest tweed pencil skirt for $40, a linen blend polka dot sweater for $30, a strapless neon dress for $60, and a rainbow of trench coats for $90 apiece. We also spotted sweaters for $35, casual outerwear for $60, casual dresses for $30, and blazers for $110.

Toward the back, before you hit accessories and kidswear, you'll be faced with horizontally aligned racks of Madewell items. These are priced consistently with the J.Crew items. We spotted a sheer navy dress with metallic detailing for $60, a flippy polka dot skirt for $40, casual weekend tops for $30, and slouchy sweaters for $35.

Nearby are the few lonely racks of J.Crew Collection. These tend to go for (in our opinion) astronomical three-digit prices, but at the sale, they're generally priced on par with regular J.Crew retail prices, which is much more reasonable. We loved the yellow sequined tank for $85, the crazy embroidered coral pants for $129, and a gorgeous green and white tweed skirt for $129. Many of the items were heavily embellished and are waiting for the right person, with the right aesthetic, to take them home.

Now for the fellas. Your offerings are toward the front left of the showroom, near the coat check, before the shoe section. The offerings are much more limited, and not nearly as colorful or quirky, but still pretty solid. At the front you'll face the suiting selection. We spotted blazers for $110 and suiting bottoms for $70. This gets you a full J.Crew suit for under $200 bucks—not too shabby (though you can probably do as well at an outlet mall).

We also spotted rack upon rack of white, plaid, striped, and gingham button-front shirts for $30 apiece. The biggest bargains are the chinos, khakis, and corduroy pants available for $25.There was also a limited selection of casual spring outwear ringing in for about $65.

The sale is open daily from 10am to 8pm through Saturday, June 23rd and from 12pm to 4pm on Sunday June 24th at 260 Fifth Avenue between 28th and 29th Streets. Lots of full length mirrors are available toward the back of the sales floor. All bags and coats must be checked upon entrance;cash and credit are accepted.—Kiran
·The J.Crew Sample Sale Has Loads of Accessories [Racked NY]
·Dealfeed: J.Crew [Racked NY]
·Four Tricks for Getting the Best Deals at Sample Sales [Racked NY]

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