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Though last night's Gilt City Warehouse Sale preview was blessedly quiet, all hell broke loose when the doors opened. If you have tickets to shop this event, be prepared for crowds everywhere — in the racks, in the fitting rooms, in the various nooks and crannies where you can somewhat peacefully review your haul, at the bar... This is not an event for the faint of heart. Nevertheless, for those with steely dispositions and a good amount of patience, you can be rewarded with some good (and sometimes great) deals.
When you walk into the sale, you'll likely be greeted with a tray full of wine. Take one. You'll want it to take the edge off. Directly in front of you will be the sale's biggest section: women's clothing, organized by size and genre, with tops/jackets, dresses, and bottoms all separated. To the right, you'll find menswear, which is similarly divided by category and size. To the left, you'll find your freebies, sponsors, and DJ, which means Skinny Girl cocktails, jewelry, and a booming sound system, among others.
Proceed downstairs for accessories, shoes, children's wear, and miscellany like candles and bedding. This seemed to be where most of the shoppers began, making a beeline toward footwear. Though we tend to think shoes and handbags are the best place to start at most sample sales, here we found the selection pretty disappointing. In fact, we overheard the lamentation of a long-term Gilt City shopper about the lack of selection this year compared to previous iterations of the sale.
Generally, we agree. We were disappointed to find that most of the footwear was from lower-end brands like Kelsi Dagger or Sam Edelman, with very few upmarket options for those wearing a 38.5 and up. In this area, we spotted one pair of Helmut Lang ankle boots that, while lovely, felt pricey at $209, but otherwise nothing of particular interest. Smaller sizes will have more luck with high-end brands like Giuseppe Zanotti (vertiginous, blingy platforms for $85), Christian Louboutin (metallic ankle boots for $539), and Prada (office-appropriate nude pumps for $229), but only if they're willing to shell out several hundred dollars per pair.
A similar pattern was observed in handbags, which occupied a scant two tables. We saw a few really beautiful bags, including a super-functional Balenciaga top handle ($949) and a classic beige Miu Miu ($802), but prices left a lot to be desired — these discounts were nowhere near the advertised 80% off. However, if you're happy with options from Cole Haan (like a classic black tote for $139) or Rebecca Minkoff (pretty and floral for $115), you're likely to find something nice, albeit not super exciting.
The area most quickly decimated, as far as we could tell, was sunglasses, where almost all of the Karen Walkers (including leopard print cat eyes for $75) were snapped up within the first 30 minutes. We're not sure how long anything here will remain, but if you're interested in shades, we recommend making this your first stop.
Meanwhile, the clothing racks remained stuffed throughout, with staffers quickly and efficiently rehanging stock from the dressing rooms (ladies, beware — the lighting is terrible). We think women had the greatest selection of nice options in dresses (like a lovely black cocktail dress from Valentino Red for $269) and jackets. In particular, we saw some really nice leather options (including an oversized leather blazer for $209) and even transitional coats (like a brown Opening Ceremony coat for $255), though these were few and far between. Your best bet will be cocktail dresses and tops. There didn't even seem to be all that much denim.
Men, on the other hand, will do much better if they're shopping for outerwear and jeans (including pairs for as low as $19). We saw the full gamut of cold weather options, from jackets (a camo Saint Laurent for $899) to heavy blazers to wool coats (a fur-trimmed brown option for $359) to puffers ($405). It even seemed like a number of women were gravitating here for oversized sweaters (like thick grey sweaters for $29) and good winter staples, given the relative dearth of options in their own area.
Ultimately, we think this is a sale worth going to, but more for nice items from non-prestige brands as opposed to the real big ticket purchases. This is also where you'll find the best deals — while you could get a cute fur-trimmed Sam Edelman coat for $39, the aforementioned men's Saint Laurent is only $100 off at $899. Nevertheless, we did hear that there could be restocking, so maybe we'll see more high end options in the days to come. If you haven't grabbed tickets yet, head here to get on the wait list.