The Strategy: Everyone who really shops at Barneys knows that the best time to hit the sale is before it goes to warehouse, since the store goes 70% off a month before. That's when you pick out the choice goods, the ones that you've been clocking all season, that are finally on markdown. It's best to pick those up quick, since they'll be gone before warehouse, where the goods will start out at the same discount as 70% off sale, but with approximately 1/2 the merchandise. Not to mention the advantage of shopping in a civilized department store environment, rather than having to elbow your way through a massive pile of picked over crap amongst hoards of frantic, grabby, and half-naked women. For some reason, not many people realize this. Of course, the discount drops as the week goes on, but doesn't become truly bargain hunter worthy until the final days when they slash the prices an additional 50-75%. Of course, by the end of the sale, it's mostly designer scraps and damaged duds, so it's best to go in with an open mind, looking out for items that have potential to be styled.
The Stuff: This sale wielded much less than last season. After two hours of trying on clothes, I took a risk, and walked out with a pink Comme des Garcons garment (it's a skirt, it's a dress, it's a pair of harem pants!), which was way too big for me, but was reduced from $1240 to $154, and seems to have a lot of styling potential. Here is the pink fluff blob:
Expect to see more of this, in a more inspired form during Fashion Week. I passed on a black Boudicca pencil skirt with a lace ruffle, which was simple and beautiful, but not special enough, and a bunch of the lacy white Alaia, which was pretty, but still way too expensive. Others seemed more successful. Sofia scored with a Marc Jacobs side slit dress, similar to the one I wore to my wedding reception, adorned with neon mice. Christina had the best luck in the Men's department, where she found a Number (N)ine shirt and a Dries Van Noten sheer burgundy button-down. Ashley was the only one who left with shoes this time around, bagging a pair of Martin Margiela heels, as well as a Kate Moss for Topshop beaded dress.