Today, I had some errands to run and some birthday gifts to shop for, so I decided to try and do it all in one city--Santa Monica. My first stop was the Barker Hangar for the Barney's Warehouse Sale. I figured that I could find something nice for the ladies that I had to shop for without spending a boatload of cash. Also, I was hoping that there might be a good selection of handbags.
The hangar was huge, there was a lot of things, but I have to say that I am rather disappointed. The biggest turnoff is the "no try-on" policy, which fortunately wasn't as strictly enforced as some direct-from-designer sample sales (like the BCBG warehouse sale). I didn't know this beforehand, so I went looking like this:
[BCBG butterfly wing-patterened top (from outlet), my own Up and Away necklace, American Eagle Outfitters shorts (which I've had for ages), Gryson for Target bag, "Life's a Beach" Havianas]Good thing I was wearing shorts that are fairly fitted and not so bulky, but had I known that there were no try-ons, I would have worn skirts or Lycra workout shorts/pants. The no try-on policy probably deterred a lot of people from buying "premium" denim, many stacks of which remained on the tables. The prices ran mostly around $50-100, which is better than retail but not quite as good at the $30 jeans I've found at Loehmann's and Nordstrom Rack (two places where I could actually try things on with impunity before I buy). Also, the clothes were not organized in any particular order on some racks, so a lot of digging was required. The handbag selection was terrible, and there was very little by the way of accessories to speak of. Other than lots of black purses from the Barney's in-house label, the remaining handbags were all rather expensive damages. Which brings me to the "as-is" racks--all of them are very expensive damaged goods.
The most try-on friendly items were the shoes, and there were lots of them. I don't think I've seen so many pairs of Manolos together at the same time. However, the prices were quite high for a bunch of designer shoes that got thrown together and thrashed around by the patrons. There were some pretty good "deals" amidst the chaos--I don't think it would be possible to find a pair of Loubutins for $125, but you can with a pair of espadrilles/oxfords (albeit made with woven straw). However, the prices are just too high for a jumbled and sometimes trampled. I'll just stick with DSW for my shoe fix.
There are lots of pros and cons for a sale like this. The good thing is that luxury goods actually become a lot more accessible to the masses--although they are still quite expensive, they are not as prohibitively expensive as before. Also, tops, dresses, outerwear, and shoes can be tried on discretely, which cuts down on the uncertainty buying something you can't wear. The big downside, of course, is the inability to fully test-drive the bottoms. The pants are really the "buy at your own risk" variety. Unless you wear something you can wear the pants over, or if you brought your own modesty curtain in the form of a long skirt, or you know how to measure and get a good estimately, or if you know a particular designer's sizing, just steer clear of the bottoms.
I didn't find what I was looking for, but I happened upon two pairs of Stella McCartney pants that perfectly match my charcoal gray suit jacket--the one that did not have any matching bottoms before. They were 75% off. The slightly cropped pants fit me like a tee, and the wool fabric is just perfect. The long slacks, however, has a stiff waistband that does not perfectly conform to my waist, and they have a very, very long inseam with serged ends. But since the pants drape very well, the fabric is of a very high quality, and I can solve the inseam problem with my own sewing machine, my complaints are minor. I'm quite happy that all my suit blazers now have matching bottoms.
As disappointed as I was with this sale, I might go again for the winter clearance. But if I feel "meh" again, that would be the last time I go shopping there.
The L.A. warehouse sale runs until August 17.