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Madewell's first standalone sample sale is happening today in Soho. We checked out last night's preview and found racks filled to the brim with discount clothing. The scene was calm which could be an indication that most shoppers will be flocking to J.Crew instead. If you're still on the fence about which one to attend, we hope our report will help you out. Pricing is very similar to past J. Crew sample sales—they start at $5 for hair accessories and $10 for small accessories, jewelry and socks, and top off at $150 for wool outerwear.
In the middle of the room you'll find racks and bins full of scarves (silk, cotton, wool) for $20. Behind the scarves, there are about 14 more plastic bins, seven of which contain leather handbags and backpacks. Here, small leather bags are $90 and medium/large leather bags are $130. We saw plenty of miscellaneous handbags, leather totes, light brown leather bags and even cool leather backpacks. Another bin contains fabric bags, which range from $20 (for small styles) to $45 (for medium/large ones).
In the same section, there is one miscellaneous bin that contains a variety of umbrellas with fun designs, iPhone cases, small home decor items, external battery packs, bottle openers and more, all priced at $10. Another bin beside it has a small selection of leather wallets, coin purses, card holders, makeup bags priced at $10 or $20.
The other bins contain skinny leather belts for $20, hosiery and socks for $10 (some of the socks retail for $12.99 so the savings aren't that great here), fedoras and straw hats for $20 (some with sale prices marked as $29.99) and lastly, swimwear where separates (including reversible heart print/stripe bikini tops and bottoms) are $25 and one-piece suits are $40 (we only spotted one striped one-piece bathing suit left).
Now onto the clothes! There is a lot of overstock but there are definitely some samples in the mix. When you enter the sale venue (after checking in bag), you will find over a dozen racks of tops organized by style and price to your left. The first few racks contain mostly cotton shirts, sweatshirts and tops priced at $25 and the next few hold embellished tops, silk tops, and silk button-down shirts for $40. We found many nice silk tops perfect for the office and hot summer outings.
Speaking of summer attire, there are plenty of hot weather clothes. Cotton and denim shorts are $25, while silk shorts are $40. Skirts (both mini and midi) are priced similarly. There is also an array of cotton/jersey dresses for $30 and most silk dresses are $60. On the opposite side of the room, you'll find lots of tank tops and tees for just $15.
Shoes are in the back, and organized by size (5—12). Sizes 7 and 8 have the most variety. Flip flops are $10, sneakers are $25, flats and sandals are $65, heels and ankle boots are $100 and mid-calf tall boots are $130. We spotted mostly flats, heels and booties.
By the cashier you will find an assortment of sunglasses and optical eyewear all for $20. Jewelry is in a glass display case next to the eyewear—necklaces are $20 to $60, rings and earrings are $15 to $25, and Madewell bangles and bracelets (housed in a glass jar near the rest of the jewelry) are $15. Hair accessories are $5.
And finally, for those already planning ahead for winter, casual and puffer jackets are $60, long puffer and trench coats are $90, and suiting jackets and blazers are $120. We also spotted one fur hooded parka for $150, as well as cashmere sweaters for $90, cashmere tees/tanks/vests for $65, and cotton/wool sweaters for $35.
That covers the stock! But here are a few more things you should know:
1. Check online to see if you can find a better deal in the Madewell.com sale section. Sometimes the additional online discounts on sale items are better than what you'll find here. Like, a lot better.
2. There is no dressing room but we found a little corner in the back (near the outerwear) where you can throw on some clothes. Warning: No mirrors! We had a shopping buddy help us take pictures.
3. We saw sizes ranging from extra-extra-small to extra-extra-large but a lot of the clothes we looked at were medium and larger.
4. Most of the labels are scribbled on with a black sharpie. This may or may not bother you.
5. We found a couple of damaged, ripped pieces (but most were in great condition) so make sure to check your items before purchasing.
6. Eyewear and jewelry will be restocked. Some styles of clothes will be, too.
Cash and credit cards are accepted. The sale runs through Sunday. See below for more details. —Hsini