Dec 1, 2011

*SAMPLE SALE* 3.1 Lim(itless)

By Fawnia Soo Hoo, Contributing Editor

Now, I haven't had the pleasure of hitting a sample sale yet this season and I've kind of been jonesing for one all November--especially after all of Mizhattan's updates. But today was finally the day to dive back in and the 3.1 Phillip Lim sample sale was a fabulous way to start off my own season. I was determined to do this the right way, so I arrived an hour before the official start time of noon (even though I learned from last year that the VIP and media were already getting their sale shopping on upstairs). But the retail gods were smiling down upon me because there was a handful of people in line ahead of me and then the polite bouncer started letting people in right away. Although, when I left after noon, there were about fifty people in line, but the sale was well worth it folks. Let me tell you why.

Now, first off, pricing is pretty similar to the March sale for Japan and if you’ll remember it wasn’t necessarily cheap per se--from $50 for tees to $800 womenswear shearling coats (full price list below), but it’s a significant discount from retail, there’s a ton of stock, and there are just so many beautiful pieces. But before I go into the apparel detail, I have to talk about the accessories, which I suggest you hit first.

When you enter the sale and check your coat and bag (you know the drill, pack light), the accessories are on the room to the right (where the menswear was last year and still is) and the womenwear and kids are to the left. I highly suggest turning right and bee-lining to the shoes. Why? Because--like last year--they’re only $100 a pair, all the shoe stock is out on the floor and it’s going very fast. The selection is a mix of runway samples, past season stock heels--like the Crisscross platform heel in black and khaki (originally $675) and the Calder T-Strap platform pump in both black and white and the yummy peach and black (originally $850)--and a smattering of earthy toned Fall ’11 styles--like the Lara bootie in wine (originally $450 and it was snapped up in an instant.)

A couple suggestions: If you see a pair that you like, grab it right away. I put down a pair of black and white Calders because I thought I found the peach ones in my size and when I turned around the black and whites had disappeared. Which leads me to the second suggestion: Check the contents of the shoe box immediately because most of the shoes in the stacked boxes are blue chukkas, but there tend to be droolworthy heels on display at the top of the pile. Don’t be fooled.

Okay, next up: Bags. Now, compared to the last sale, the pricing has increased. Small bags and clutches are $150, medium bags are $250 and large bags are $350. Last time, the medium ones were $175 and large were $250, but shoppers will be happy to note that there is more selection of current styles this time around. (And the bags are much more accessible since they’re on shelves instead of covered by piles girls’ clothes in the main room.) I saw a staffer loading the shelves with tons of black medium zippered Pashli satchels (originally $950), plus double pocket handbags, camera bags (loved this purple velvet one) and pretty clutches.

Okay, onto the clothes, which the girls were going absolutely nuts over. The pieces were a mix of overstock and samples from pre-fall and past-past seasons. While I didn’t spot much from fall (no leather culottes, but maybe the VIPs snagged them all?), most of what I rummaged through was still really eye-catching. To topline the pricing: Tees and tanks are $50, tops run from $100 to $150, sweaters are $150 to $200, jeans and shorts are $50, pants $75, skirts $100, and leather or sequin skirts or pants $200, day dresses $150, cocktail frocks $250 and evening gowns $300.

There is a lot of merchandise on offer, but what really caught my eye were the racks of evening gowns (beautiful sequins, beading, rough-edged silk, and delicately flowing crushed velvet), a black leather and giraffe print faux fur jacket, a delicately layered rough-edge silk and blush-hued chubby, and light silver and gold cardies with wool-felt paillette details. Oh and I was kind of dying over a pair of gold sequined wrap front skorts, which I’m thinking are priced as a $200 sequined skirt, as opposed to $50 shorts (damn - should have asked. Sorry!).

As for the men’s section, I’d say that it was actually a tad more crowded than March, but still nothing compared to the women’s section. It’s also much more sparse, but well organized. Pricing runs: $50 for tees and tanks, $100 for shirts and tops, $50 to $75 for bottoms, $150 to $200 for knits, and $150 to $400 for outerwear. Women were totally perusing the men’s racks for chunky cardies (loving a heavy grey and cream Fair Isle one) and the blocked wool jackets for $250 were going pretty quickly.

As for logistics, like last year, there is no fitting room or blocked off fitting area. There is one large full length mirror near the entrance of the women’s apparel section and girls were going bananas over there - understandably. Definitely dress appropriately because there are guys walking around (but you already know this, of course.) Cash and credit are both accepted. As for replenishing, the shoes are all out, but they will be restocking some bags (hallelujah!) and clothes as the sale goes. The staffers were making a concerted effort to keep the sale both manageable and navigable, hence the line on the sidewalk outside. But as I checked out (oh yes, I totally bought platforms), I overheard an satisfied shopper commend the staffers by exclaiming, “This is such a pleasant experience compared to most sample sales.” Yup.

Price list:
Shearling coats $800
Fur coat w/ jewels $600
Fur coat w/out jewels $500
Leather jacket $450
Fur vest  w/ jewels $350
Fur vest w/out jewels $300
Coats $300
Trench coats $200
Jackets-wool, cotton, denim, silk $175
Tops $50
Bottoms $50
Bras $30
Panties $30
Swimwear set $50
Swimwear top $25
Swimwear bottom $25
Coverup $50
Long sleeve $150
Embroidered/woven tops $150
Short sleeve/sleeveless/tanks $100
Long sleeve, short sleeve, tanks T-shirts $50
Cashmere sweaters/cardigans $200
All other sweaters/cardigans $150
Leather or sequin skirts/pants $200
Wool, casual, silk, or pleated skirts $100
Pants $75
Jeans and shorts $50
Evening gown $300
Cocktail dress $250
Sweater dress (cashmere) $200
Sweater dress, wool, T-shirt dress, day dress $150

Leather/suede/patent outerwear $400
Trench coats $300
Wool jackets $250
Cotton jackets $200
Denim jackets $150
Pants of jeans $75
Shorts $50
Long and short sleeve tops $100
Cashmere sweaters/cardigans $200
Merino wool, cotton/linen, casual sweaters/cardigans $150
Long or short sleeve T-shirts $50

Trench coats $125
Cotton jackets $50
Pants, jeans, or shorts $25
Skirts $35
Sweater, T-shirt, day dresses $50
Long or short sleeve tops $35
Long or short sleeve T-shirts $25


  1. OMG FAWNIA!!! You came to Mizhattan?? I've missed your sale reports. Racked hasn't been the same without you.

  2. Awesome report! Definitely going tomorrow!

  3. Does anyone know if there will do further markdowns tomorrow?

  4. I thought I saw some taking photos. Thanks for the fantastic report Mizhattan and Fawnia.

  5. any body get anything nice? sounds like it was a great sample sale.

  6. I thought the mens stuff was terrible. The prices were too high, especially for a sample sale.

  7. Does anyone happen to know how much the smaller pashli satchels are? Are they considered as small or medium bags?

  8. I die for that black leather and giraffe print faux fur jacket! Ugh where can I find it?!

  9. Excellent coverage!

  10. Re: further discounts. I don't know about this year/other sections, but last year, kids' dresses that were going for $50 were $25 in the last hour.

  11. I went today and most of the stuff was gone especially the bags and the shoes.. well i guess same for clothes as well... but i got the parshli large bag for 250 !! I just asked the guy for discount because one of the zipper wasnt working properly


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