Joie Sample Sale (and shopping in Vernon in general)

I didn't have to go to work today, so I decided to scope out the Joie sample sale, located at 2323 52nd Street in Vernon. The sale will continue tomorrow from 10am to 4pm. I'm not exactly the biggest fan of the Joie label--most of the clothes are cute, but sizing of pants is very inconsistent and sale prices are usually not that great. Still, I thought that I shouldn't knock it until I've seen it.

Traffic on I-10 wasn't too bad, but street traffic on Alameda was horrible. If you plan to go, it's better to take the E. Alameda roadway on the left side when Alameda splits up (kinda like Santa Monica Blvd. and Little Santa Monica Blvd. before the construction, if you're familiar with the Westide area). I stayed on the main road and ended up overshooting 52nd (the nearest light was on 55th). When I found the warehouse, I couldn't find legitimate parking. Considering that Vernon is really an industrial area, the streets were not made to accommodate lots of people. Nearly the entire street was a "no parking" zone, since trucks need to get through. I drove around some side streets, but it's a really sketchy area. I ended up squeezing into a space near the warehouse, with half of my car in the red zone. Constant worrying about a ticket might be the reason why I didn't enjoy my shopping trip that much. Your odds of finding parking is better on 51st street (53rd doesn't seem like a good place to be).

Unlike the BCBG sales, there were no "no try-ons" signs, but since the sale takes place in the parking lot, you can't really try on the bottoms without the risk of being booked for indecent exposure. The prices were OK for what the goods were, but for the most part, they were too expensive for me. Damages were $10, tanks were $10, tops were $20, bottoms $25, dress $30 (I think), sweaters $35, and leather goods were $100; in my opinion, $10 is a lot for damaged goods. I rifled through the racks and didn't find anything that appealed to me. Since I was worried about my car, I was about to leave when I saw a lot of unopened boxes on the other side of the parking lot. As it turns out, that's the "bargain bin"--1 for $10 or 2 for $15. Most of them were pants still in their shrink wraps.

Since I was all about taking risks today, I decided to buy the bargain pants without trying them on. After all, I've tried on Joie pants on other occasions, so I have an idea about what works for me. To better gauge the fit of the pants, I used another crackerjack method devised by my mom:

1) Measure the front--press the pants against yourself to see whether the edges are about halfway around your waist, hips, and thighs, since those are the more difficult area. If things seem OK, don't celebrate too soon. If things don't quite fit, don't despair yet. Remember at which point the edges hit your body, then check the back,

2) Measure the back--hold the pants by the widest point at the hips, and stretch it across your butt. The edges should hit at the point you measured from the front. If it goes beyond that point, the pants are bigger than you, and you need to think about whether you're OK with it being loose as long as it stays on. If it doesn't even get to the point you measured from the front, forget it. Even if the fabric is stretchy, you're probably not going to squeeze in.

I bought a jacket and 3 pairs of pants, for a total of $30.

The Score:

Even though I already have a similar jacket, I think the dark color makes it look classier. The small was a bit tight, so I went with a medium. I'm usually an xs. Yup, that tells you a lot about their sizing.

The Loss:

Since I'm not a game theory expert, I lose sometimes. This is one of those times. I bought a pair of size 26 Joie pants from Loehmann's and they were a tad big (still fits OK), but I tried on a size 25 of another cut and it was way too small. The size 28 sample they had hanging on the rack seemed really small for a 28, so I figured sizes 26 and 27 should be fine. I ended up getting this pair of pants (in 26), another pair in camel brown (27), and a pair of cropped cargo pants (26). Talk about a tale of 3 pairs of pants: the cargos were just a tad big at the waist, the brown pair barely fits, and this olive green pair was too small--it's really more of a 24.

Ah well, I'm don't feel too bad because it's like losing a $5 wager. If I bought 3 items, it would have been $25. I'm going to let my skinny friends have a stab at this, and if it doesn't work out, I'll eBay it.

This trip also taught me something about sample sales held in Vernon, which are fairly common since a lot of apparel manufacturers are housed there. In fact, the Blue Cult warehouse was right next door. Even though there was a sign about a sale, I didn't bother going in because I felt drained by the heat...I just wanted to go home. Here's what I learned:

1) Know the sizing before you go--it'll help you find what you need sooner, and you won't lose money on clothes that you can't wear.

2) Wear comfortable shoes--as I mentioned before, Vernon was not designed to accomodate tons of people who don't work there. Last time I parked many, many blocks away from the BCBG warehouse and had to take a 15-minute walk.

3) Go early--forget the merchandise, the hot commodities are those precious few parking spaces. Grab them before they're gone.

4) Carpool if possible--same reason as above.

5) Figure out if you're turning left or right--if you came from the 10, have to travel along Alameda, and have to turn left, it's best to take the smaller roadway to avoid the slow traffic.

6) Bring water--it's a scorcher out there. Even if the weather is cooler, long waits outdoors will sap you.

7) Bring a big tote bag--your arms might get tired from hauling around your loot. Worse yet, the bag might rip and you'll have a hard time dealing with the aftermath (i.e. walking for blocks and blocks). Let your shoulders help you out.


la pulga diva said...

lol, love the game theory analysis, can tell you're a soon-to-be lawyer. let me know if you want to buy my mpre lecture cd's, i foolishly forgot to mail them back after i took the exam...

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