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Department store sales have been better than ever this year, and we owe a big thanks to the weather for that. But now that winter finally started, that coat or pair of boots that you've been holding off on will probably come in handy right about now. So before these sales are gone forever (or until next season, really), you might want to hit up Barneys, Bergdorf's, and Saks this week, especially if you're looking for a designer coat. We hit up all three stores over the long weekend to see what's left at each — after all, not all department store sales are created equal.
Let's begin at Barneys — photos are in the gallery above. If designer handbags are what you're looking for, you're out of luck. There are a few options on the seventh floor, like Alexander Wang and Marc by Marc Jacobs, but nothing to write home about. The shoe sale, on the other hand, is still amazing. The discounts are now up to 60% off and the selection is still massive, from Chanel hiking boots ($530) and Saint Laurent snake-embossed pumps ($449) to metallic Louboutin peep-toes ($449 and Gianvito Rossi double-buckle ankle boots ($520). The seventh floor shoe selection isn't too shabby either, with Isabel Marant embroidered booties ($589) and Common Projects slip-ons ($169).
There's still a decent amount of sale clothing available, now up to 75% off original prices. Although a lot the premier designer pieces have been cleaned out (if you're looking for Dries van Noten and Balenciaga, this is not worth your time), there's a ton of Stella McCartney, Thakoon, and Alexander Wang. We even spotted a few of those super-famous crystal-embroidered Alexander Wang fishermen's sweaters on the sale rack for $530. Other notable pieces include an MM6 shearling vest for $640 and a pale pink Acne shearling jacket for $1,280.
The bottom line? If you enjoy shopping sales like a civilized individual, head here. The selection might not be as large as it is at Bergdorf's (see below), but there are still lots of sweaters, coats, and shoes to pick through.
To Bergdorf's we went, and we never wanted to leave. The department store was running a "Grand Finale" sale during the holiday weekend, which means that all sale merchandise was marked down an additional 25% off. The store said it was only going through Monday, but we're pretty hopeful that it'll be extended through the sale's end.
Unlike Barneys, handbags are in abundance here. We spotted styles by Givenchy, Proenza Schouler, Alexander McQueen, and even Saint Laurent. Discounts on bags go up to 50% off, and that additional markdown certainly helped. Styles that caught our eye included a shearling Proenza Schouler clutch for $540, a leopard Givenchy shoulder bag for $810 (originally $2,150), and a black suede fringe Saint Laurent bag for $1,485 (originally $3,950).
We thought that Barneys would be the winner of the best shoe sale, but the second floor at Bergdorf's proved that theory wrong. Not only are the discounts better here at the moment — again, up to 50% off — but there's just so much more, with two entire rooms dedicated to sale racks. We found styles like Lanvin ballet flats for $205 (from $545), Laurence Decade shearling booties for $610 (originally $1,625), and Pierre Hardy ankle boots for $485 (originally $1,295). We even noticed a pair of those Valentino butterfly ankle boots still left in a size 9 for $590 (originally $1,575).
The demise of the Bergdorf's sale, though is definitely the clothing. Though the discounts range from 40% off to 75% off, the racks are a total mess. It was hard to go through the selection without anxiety — but if you're good at sifting through over-stuffed racks, it's probably worth a look, especially if you need jeans or a jacket.
We noticed a lot by Stella McCartney and Elie Tahari, with scattered styles by Kenzo and DVF. Some really great pieces include a Theory fur vest for $720 (originally $1,595), a beautiful Elie Tahari wool- and fur-trimmed coat for $405, and a cute fuchsia sweatshirt for $90. Best of luck if you plan to brave this mishmash.
We ended our day at Saks, and while we thought we were saving the best for last, we were unpleasantly surprised. First of all, there was no consolidation sale, which makes shopping the discounted items so much easier. Instead, shoppers have to travel to each and every floor to find sale racks, and honestly, we didn't even find that many. And unlike at Barneys and Bergdorf's, items with the biggest discounts are final sale, so you can't even make returns if you change your mind.
Anyhow, here's what was in stock: There was a small selection of final-sale bags for 60% off, so unless you're certain that you want that Lanvin minaudiére for $915 (it was kind of gorgeous, though), or a navy Marc Jacobs shoulder bag for $1,160, you might want to bypass this department.
Next, we went to see what was what on the contemporary floor, and got that same headache as we did as Bergdorf's. The selection was even worse, and most of it is final sale. But if you don't mind not being able to return, perhaps a BCBG faux shearling ($225) or a pair of Paige skinny jeans ($84) might strike your fancy.
Finally, we visited the shoe salon to find even more disappointment. The shoe sales at Barneys and Bergdorf's are way bigger, and anything purchased at 60% off or 70% off can't be returned. We found a pair of pale pink lace Dolce & Gabbana heels that were to die for that cost $520 (originally $1,295), plus a pair of Chanel suede shearling boots for $610, which is unreal when a pair of Chanel boots typically costs upwards of $1,500.
Other designers you can expect to see on the shoe racks include Manolo Blahnik and Balenciaga, but the majority of shoes are marked down 60% off retail, so unless you're absolutely certain that you need a pair of Jimmy Choo pumps, we strongly advise you to go to Bergdorf's for your shoes.