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The Nanette Lepore Sample Sale Has Your Next 'Summer Wedding Guest' Dress

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The cold weather might be back, but today's Nanette Lepore sample sale retained that spring optimism that's been keeping us going until we can officially retire our winter coats. Cocktail dresses and bright colors ruled the day, and most of the early shoppers seemed to be gravitating toward dresses more suited for a garden party over holiday party LBDs and pants.

The sale is divided into roughly two sections: current production pieces on the left and samples on the right. The sample room is much smaller, and began looking very picked over very quickly. By the time we left, it looked like about half of the sample selection was made up of fall-appropriate pants ($30), while the remainder was a mix of mostly tops ($40), sweaters ($40), and a smattering of skirts ($30) and shorts ($25). There was also an errant and very lovely black coat with a beaded zipper ($95), but we're pretty sure it was snapped up before we left.

As these are true samples, the sizing is inconsistent, so try on anything in this area that looks like it might fit before purchasing. While we didn't see much in the way of damages here, there are some unfinished pieces. For instance, a woolly coat with a floppy fur collar ($95) appealed, but was made without pockets or any inner lining. This'll be a good option if you like that deconstructed look (or, alternately, are willing to add in the cost of some alterations).

The left side of the room is much larger, and features current production clothing as well as a limited selection of shoes, bags, and swimwear. Maybe it's today's cold snap, but there was virtually no traffic around the bathing suits. From what we could tell, the selection here was primarily separates ($35), though there were a few one-pieces ($60) and a handful of cover-ups ($55).

Next to the swim is a table with a small array of shoes. Here, we saw mostly heels and wedges ($75), though there were also two pairs of tall boots ($100) and a really on-trend pair of black and silver platform slides in an 8.5 (likely $75). In front of the shoes was a small and unimpressive selection of bags, like studded white clutches ($65) and pink, maroon, and tan shoulder bags ($100). The prices here are pretty good, but we wouldn't recommend giving this area more than a cursory look.

In the area between the racks are folded sweaters in a number of related styles. We liked a sort of slouchy, loosely-woven cardigan ($125), available both in a black/white/grey mix and cream, but pullovers are also available in short ($75) and long ($95) sleeves. On the racks, the biggest takeaway is the dresses ($145, or $175 with beading). If you have a summer wedding to attend in your future and like Lepore's flouncy, sort-of-cutesy aesthetic, you should find a lot up your alley here. We saw cocktail dresses in white lace, floral strapless, beaded purple, and even more basic black. There are also some cool separates with cut-outs in both black and white ($95 for tops, $75 for skirts), just in case your wedding aesthetic is more architectural than garden party. You'll also find some jackets ($195), but these looked a bit more office than party—likely more useful for your summer party circuit is the rack of $3 slips.

Overall, this is a decent sale for fans of the brand: prices on production pieces are decent but not great, while sample prices are good for what's left. If you're on the fence about the aesthetic, it's unlikely you'll be convinced by this sale.—Joanna Smolenski

Wednesday, March 18th through Friday, March 20th. Daily 9am—7pm. 225 W 35th St between Seventh and Eighth Aves, 17th floor.