Nov 28, 2011


After some therapeutic R&R over the Thanksgiving weekend, I was definitely in need of a nice sample sale to bring me back from the brink of ennui. And wouldn't you know it, the J.Crew sample sale was just what the doctor ordered. This winter's J.Crew sample sale opens tomorrow morning at 10am, but I was fortunate enough to gain an early preview to see what the sale would offer. So, care to join me for this viewing?

If you don't already know, I'm a HUGE fan of J.Crew. The label is youthful, well made, and has a way of blending the traditional with a touch of unexpected design. It's been a wardrobe staple and the thought of getting discounts on this favorite brand of mine got me all excited. The showroom at 260 5th Avenue was packed with bargain shoppers last June when they first hosted the J.Crew sample sale. This time around, it felt a bit strange to be in the same space with no one but me perusing the aisles of J.Crew and Madewell merchandise. Sans pushing & shoving, my first stop was at the jewelry section. J.Crew's sweet & sugary jewelry confections were lovely eye candy, perfect accessories to brighten up your holiday wardrobe. Inside the glass displays, I spotted $60 embellished necklaces, $35 regular necklaces, $25 bracelets & earrings, $20 rings, and $15 bangles.

Moving to the apparel section, it was pretty much what you would expect from this American casual wear brand. From basics to a few pieces you'd recognize from J.Crew's impeccable catalogue, clothes for women & men were organized by type of apparel. Most items were in great condition and I was particularly impressed with their J.Crew Collection pieces. Sequins, laces, silks, tweeds, and luxurious furs were very appealing. But, and this is a huge BUT, prices weren't so spectacular. I can't help but compare this sale with the one held last June. Case in point, evening tops from the J.Crew Collection were around $75~$95. Considering I was at a sample sale, I thought this didn't meet the super-saving expectations of most shoppers planning to attend tomorrow.

Now, let's talk about shoes. The shoe section was a disappointment. Although there were tons of cute ballet flats, oxfords, and booties, the selection of heels was noticeably anemic. Flats were $65, heels/ankle boots were $100, and mid calf/tall boots were $120. Again, going back to my previous point, being at a sample sale I didn't think these prices were reasonable. An example: I spotted a pair of rubber ballet flats that were $10 at the last sample sale. This time, the same exact pair was priced $25(!). Needless to say, I was a bit sad that a once spectacular sale was slowly losing it's winning ways. After a moment to compose myself, I moved to the handbag section to see if the sale could redeem itself. I spotted a nice variety of leather bags and canvas totes. The Railway minibag from Madewell was priced $80. It is currently selling at full price--$118--online. Also, the Brompton hobo in fabric was only $40 (12th photo below) when the leather version is currently available for $298 online.

Finally, let me briefly describe the men's section. It was comprised of blazers, outerwear, trousers, cardigans, sweaters, and button-down shirts. There was also a rack dedicated entirely to samples. One lovely cashmere overcoat was only $110. Even though there was a big 'SAMPLE' written on the inner lining, it was made from high quality cashmere, which I thought was worth the buy. You could always change the inner lining but a cashmere overcoat for $110 is hard to come by. The Crewcuts merchandise was as adorable as ever. I fell deeply in love with a table of children's ballet flats in sequins & animal prints (21st photo below).

So to review, although items in the apparel & shoe sections didn't quite meet my expectation, there were more than enough merchandise in the jewelry, accessory, & handbag departments to make me feel that the trip was worth it. In addition, if you are meticulous enough, you may find a few lovely one-off samples made with the high-quality materials. This, in itself, is a score and reason enough to wait an hour before opening tomorrow morning. On a final note, there is no fitting room and merchandise will be replenished daily.

Price list:
Jackets $130
Silk/woven shirts $25
Suiting blazers $130
Wool outerwear $150
Wool dress pants $70
Denim pants $45
Tee/tanks/tops $15
Cotton/wool sweater $35
Wool/silk/cashmere dress $90
Party dress $60
Cotton/jersey dress $30
Cashmere sweater $90
Weekend $20
Belts/ties/winter accessories $15
Small fabric bags $20
Medium/large fabric bags $40
Small leather bags $80
Medium/large leather bags $120
Flats $65
Heels/ankle boots $100
Mid calf/tall boots $120
Seasonal shoes $25
Embellished necklaces $60
Regular necklaces $35
Bracelets/earrings $25
Rings $20
Bangles $15
Hair accessories $5


  1. The clothing is over prized as described on the report, it was so crowded in the warehouse that you bump into someone every movement you make, no fitting room only few mirrors in the back, I do not think I can shop in this environment. Not very rewarding experience for me.

  2. Everything was expensive this time.

    I also know what Mizhattan is talking about when she described the rain flats. I got the grey one for 10 and saw them again (not in my size) today but was 25.

    Mizhattan, why do you think the prices went up from last time?

  3. Did anyone see any work dresses there? Prices? Thanks!

  4. More evening stuff than work dresses. I guess you could wear some of the wool dresses and a cardigan or something for work.


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