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Today's Costume National sale presented a rare opportunity for fans of the brand to shop their wares at a dedicated sample sale—usually, we only see them pop up in big, multi-designer contexts. You would think that would have generated more enthusiasm for today's opening, but when we arrived in the afternoon, there couldn't have been more than five shoppers in the entire sale. This, coupled with the overall scarcity of merchandise, gave the sale more of a boutique shopping experience than that of a blow out extravaganza. That being said, at least the discounts were straightforward: everything in the sale was 75% off the marked price.
The best options (and widest selection) are in the footwear area. Here, prices range from about $148.75 for pointed-toe black flats to $249.75 for versatile knee-high boots. There are also very on-trend flatforms in nude, as well as silver-toed and studded styles for about $215. Make sure to ask the staff about sizing—many of the options are the last pair available, or only come in larger sizes (41's should be very, very happy). We only saw a handful of 36's and 37's.
Scarcity in sizes and inventory is a common theme of the sale. We were told that everything that is available is already out, which means that a lot of the clothing is one-of-a-kind. Again, larger sizes are more prevalent than smaller sizes, with the most common options being in the 40 to 44 range.
The clothing section still feels pretty expensive to us—75% off is nothing to sneeze at, but when the retail price of a leather combo down coat is $3,460, you'll still end up spending almost $1,000 ($865 to be exact). This is especially disappointing because the most desirable options seem to have original retail prices around $2,000 and up: we loved a pale blue overcoat that retailed for $3,218 (here for $804.50) and a cool, black and nude asymetrical blazer that was $2,690 (on sale for $672.50). However, there are also some more affordable options if you happen to be an enthusiast of all things black and kind of billowy: we spotted a great oversized dress with bedazzled shoulders on sale for $231.25.
Finally, handbags are available on a shelf by the cash registers, while the counter has more purses and a limited selection of belts. The latter are quite pricey—a studded black option retailed for $1,245 and so is marked down to $311.25—but some of the bags seem worthy of investment. We really liked a huge grey carryall ($422.50 down from 1,690) and structured top-handles, which are available in dark green, white, and brown ($597.50 from $2,390). You'll even find some nice bags in basic black, including a simple option with silver hardware for $499.75 (down from $1,990).
The ultimate verdict? Good merchandise, but unless you feel comfortable dropping high triple digits at a sample sale, we would skip it. We were told that additional markdowns are still up in the air, so fingers crossed that these aren't the sale's final prices. That said, if something really strikes your fancy, you should stop by sooner rather than later, since there may only be one available, and we were informed that there will definitely not be any restocking.
Tuesday, April 14th through Thursday, April 16th. Daily 11am—7pm. 260 Sample Sale, 151 Wooster St between W Houston and Prince sts (212-725-5400).