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If visions of a preppy and neon-spiked wardrobe — and not sugarplums — are dancing through your head this season, give thanks for the J. Crew sample sale. We stopped by the preview for the women's and Crewcuts merchandise at 260 Fifth Avenue yesterday afternoon, where we found that this really leans more towards a true sample sale in that, with the exception of a few styles (especially in pants), there is only one of each piece. While we spotted lots of items that stay true to J. Crew's core aesthetic, we also saw lots of things that can only be described as "out there."
Scarves and handbags are to the right after coat check. There's a good selection of scarves ($20), and bags are in bins on a table and are mostly brown or black leather. We saw a small suede bucket bag for $90, a brown leather tote marked down to $130 from $168, and a silver leather satchel for $130. Belts ($20) are skinny and neon, and there's bins for tights and socks (both $10), and assorted hats appear to range from $10 to $20. There are two bins of women's and kids' swimwear, which looks like it's priced from $10 to $25 per piece. Two bins of kid's shoes are at the end of the table, which include girl's glitter moccasins ($15) and boy's Chelsea boots.
Crewcuts apparel is in the back left-hand corner. There's a good selection of coats and sweaters for both boys and girls. Boy's whale-printed shorts ($15) stood out, as did a girl's pink embellished tulle skirt ($30).
Women's tops and sweaters are to the right towards the center of the room. Note that lots, if not most, items are missing size tags. We noted lots of embellished styles, most notably a plaid button down with sequined sleeves ($40). A chicken-print blouse ($25) was also a highlight, as was a neon green tank top ($15).
Skirts are to the left of the tops, like a blue and white printed style for $25 and a black pleated skirt for $40. Shorts are by the skirts, and we noted signature chinos in very loud colors for $25. A pair of textured triangle patterned shorts ($25) was a favorite. There are tons of sweaters, including everything from a white cable-knit turtleneck ($35) to a loud mixed-print purple and gray pullover ($35). We also liked a two-tone sleeveless sweater with an embellished neckline ($35).
Jackets are to the right of the tops. There is a good amount of tweed, most notably a metallic style for $120. We also saw one black velvet Regent blazer for $120. There's a nice assortment of heavier coats, too, with pea coats in every color of the rainbow and parkas with furry trim at the hood. For pants, there are a few slim-fit black styles with leather racing stripes ($25), and there's a section of black work pants towards the back of the room ($25). We spotted a few pairs of jeans as well, with a pair of Selvedge Matchsticks in a size 26 going for $40.
Dresses are to the right of the coats, but the selection looks frumpy and outdated. We saw a purple printed shift dress with fringe at the hems ($60) and a pink sheath with pom poms ($60). Cashmere sweaters are to the right of the dresses, with lots of colorways of long-sleeved, short-sleeved, and sleeveless shells well-stocked.
J. Crew Collection is towards the front of the room, and they're the most expensive items at the sale. We liked a blue tie-dye coat ($130) and a shift dress with embellishments at the collar and shoulders.
Jewelry is by the register, and the selection doesn't lack in statement-making, gaudy pieces. Embellished necklaces are $60, other necklaces are $30, bracelets and earrings are $25, and rings are $20. There is one rack of sleepwear towards the back, and shoes are on racks along the back wall. Sizes 5—12 are well-stocked, with the the best variety in 8.5 and 9.
There are no fitting rooms, and since sizes aren't well-marked, be prepared to take your chances in the space or after you buy. The sale runs through Sunday; check out the Dealfeed below for more details.