Oct 18, 2011

*SAMPLE SALE* Elegant Deals at Elie Tahari

By Fawnia Soo Hoo, Contributing Editor

The Elie Tahari sample sale, which offers up to 70% off of womenswear, shoes, bags and accessories, plus a teeny amount of menswear, is always a bit of a controlled mob scene and today’s start was no different. There was even a 45-minute long wait on the sidewalk outside the sale around 10am this morning, and no, you can’t just walk up to the building and pretend you work there to circumvent the line. There are security staffers at the door to regulate the situation. By the time I made it to the second floor sale and checked my bags and coats, everything was in full swing. While the sale wasn’t super-packed overall, the narrow aisles in womenswear were pretty congested, so, like times before, I decided to hit the usually well-priced and near-deserted shoes and bags section first.

Like the sale in April, the shoes are priced at $79 for ballerina flats and $99 for assorted shoes (which I assume to mean the booties) and sample pumps. There were clog mules, kitten heel slingbacks (in caramel, wine and black patent), wide ankle strap stiletto heels, pointed cut-out leather flats, platform sandals, cut-out leather platform booties and peep-toe heels. I also noted a box of sample boots (and there were sandals in there, too, so it was a bit confusing) for $129 each. You choose your size and style (ranged from 36 to 40) and go to a staffer behind the counter who will find the mate and hold the pair for you until you checkout.

The bags have also not been a victim of inflation since last year, but then I also saw styles that were on offer last year. No biggie since the styles are pretty classic. Small bags are $79, medium are $179 and large are $249. I was eying a layered leather black hobo (which I’m pretty sure was there in April) and also a slouchy black ruched clutch bag with a wide wrist strap. All the leathers are super plush and soft - especially for those price points.

Speaking of leather, the leather apparel items are always a fantastic deal. While last time, I was drooling over a cream leather trench that, sadly, did not reappear, there was a wide selection of leather jacket styles priced at $279 (to put things in perspective, Tahari leather jackets usually retail around $1,000 each). I saw lots of ruched and gathered embellishments, beading detail, perforation, zippers, and buttoned styles. The colors were mostly sleek black, but there were some creams, khakis and even a coral-ish suede blazer. I searched the skirts racks for $79 leather skirts (ditto $99 leather pants) and came up empty, but did find a suede cream short sleeve dress priced at a reasonable $129. If you’re feeling flush, definitely take a look at the fur and shearling pieces priced at $499. I was kind of dying over this long fur lined leather vest. Sorry, PETA.

The outerwear, priced between $199 and $279, were also plentiful. I admired a grey wool swirly collar-detailed and epaulet-ed overcoat and also saw lots of velvets, wool, and embellished styles.

I finally took a deep breath and made my way into the ready-to-wear and it was a tad overwhelming. Plus, it was hard for more than two people to navigate the short aisles. The full price details are below, but to topline: Sweaters are $49 to $89, blouses, skirts, and pants are $59, day dresses are $99 and evening dresses are $129. The styles pretty much ran the gamut, but I saw abstract prints, flirty sequins, office-friendly wool, luxurious silks and casual light denims peeking out from the racks. On the skirt rack, I really liked a laser-cut A-line black one and a gold brocade patterned style.

Sorry boys, but you’re kind of neglected at this sale. While the majority of the sale is for the ladies, you got relegated to a back corner near the ladies’ fitting area. Amongst the five or so racks, you’ll find tees for $19, button-downs for $49, sweaters for $69, and outerwear running from $99 to $279. I felt like the selection was even smaller than last time.

For women, the sizing seemed to be mostly samples - which are roughly a six - but I did spot some random sizes mixed in with stock pieces, so it’s best to just look. There is a fitting area in the back, but be prepared to wait for a line. A staffer confirmed that they’re replenishing throughout the sale if anything looks low at any point (where are the leather skirts?!), but they won’t know until the last second if they’re reducing prices.

Price list:
Knits $19-$29
Scarves $39
Sweaters $49
Blouses $59
Skirts $59
Pants $59
Leather Skirts $79
Luxe Sweaters $89
Jackets $99
Day Dresses $99
Leather Pants $99
Leather Dresses $129
Evening Dresses $129
Coats $199-$279
Leather Jackets $279
Fur/Shearling $499
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