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Plenty of Sparkles and Samples at the Alice + Olivia Sale

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Update: Prices have been slashed as of Thursday morning—the report below reflects original pricing.

Despite the weather, there was a surprisingly large turnout for the start of the Alice + Olivia sample sale this morning at 260 Fifth Avenue. And it seemed like everyone had the same game plan: make a beeline straight for the samples in the back.

Prices here start at $15 for leg warmers (though we didn't see any) and go up to $119 for gowns, making the big-ticket items the real bargains here. They appeared to be in good shape, too: we spotted a tiered black gown that didn't look to have any snags in its lace, and even the delicate gowns in the sample section looked to be in tact.

Other popular samples includes leathers and coats for $99 and dresses for $59. This whole section was getting decimated quickly, so we recommend stopping by sooner rather than later for these items. Note that these are actual samples, so they aren't sized, and since there is a ten-item limit in the dressing room, prioritize accordingly.

While there is a sample price list, there is a sign posted next to it indicating that Alice + Olivia by Stacey Bendet samples are priced as marked (and some of them do have price tags). We don't totally know what that means, so be prepared for some potential confusion at the registers with sample items.

Next to the sample section, you'll find a few bins with sweaters, organized by size. Helpfully, some of the sweater styles are hanging above the bins to help give you a sense of what your options are without having to do too much rummaging. There's one lone bin of men's sweaters available, which we don't think a single person so much as glanced at.

Adjacent to the sweaters, you'll find the table with accessories and bags (but no shoes to be found). Second to the samples, the best buys of the sale are in this section, with belts going for $10 (cheaper than the least expensive sample!) and handbags for $109. To put this in perspective, ready-to-wear at the same price point as the Olivia calf hair bag (retail: $595) was selling today for $269. That's a difference of $160.

Speaking of ready-to-wear, it takes up the majority of the floor space of the sale, and is organized by size, with the smaller sizes on the left and the larger sizes on the right (by the cash registers). As one fellow shopper noted, there's an abundance of sequins here, so those of you looking to (literally) sparkle at your upcoming holiday parties, you officially have no excuse.

Sequins, sparkles, and general shininess adorned many of the garments, from jewel-encrusted bustiers to puffer coats (both $279), not to mention the cocktail dresses. These are available fully beaded, partially beaded, trimmed with beading—basically all of the possible amounts of beading—though the more detail, the more expensive the item. A merely metallic coppery dress was available for $159, while a nude shift with an allover silver sequin pattern was $269. Based on the selection we saw, the most desirable dresses are $269 to $279.

But it's not all cocktail dresses—outerwear was popular with this morning's shoppers. A number of people getting black puffers ($269) and red wool coats with huge fur collars ($289). Leather is available, but seemed to be of less interest. We saw a completely crazy perforated style covered in rhinestones for $299 (originally $1,496), along with a number of more standard quilted ($289) and nude ($279) options. There were also some lovely jackets and boleros to complete your festive holiday ensemble, like a metallic floral number for $199 and an all-over patterned blazer for $279.

While the selection this morning was ample, the price point was still a bit high, at least for the lower-priced items. Once you hit an original retail price of $500, the sale price starts at $269 and only goes up by $10 for each price tier. This makes the discount much more substantial, percentage-wise, above $1,300 than below $500. It also means you're only paying $20 more for an item that retailed at $1,299 than an item that retailed at $500. Definitely makes you feel like the not-even-quite 50% off on $550 items isn't really worth it.

In any event, previous sales have done additional markdowns as the sale progressed, so we expect the same to be the case here. The sale will run through Sunday at 4pm—see the Dealfeed below for complete timing information.

· Dealfeed: Alice and Olivia [Racked NY]
· 112 New York City Sample Sales to Shop in December [Racked NY]
· Samples Sales [Racked NY]