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    Hermès Sale VIP Review

    The Hermès sale doesn’t officially start until tomorrow but press and VIPs were given a head start today. Our spies report that the sale was the most quite it’s ever been. By noon there were not more than five press guests floating around the sale and VIP ticket holders given entrance at two hours early.

    Our veteran sale spies summarize that this was the most lack luster sale yet. There were absolutely no leather goods. Not a single leather bag, no wallets, no key chains, not even a bookmark. Wait, there was a … leather game mat. Great, right?

    The best find of the day was a fabric Picotin (feed-style bag) with leather trim for $937. The only catch was that there were only five! The larger size was $1237 but there weren’t many of those either. Shoppers were fawning over an Hermès travel bag with the Evelyn logo. Our resident expert says, “I never even saw the bag in a store. It looked like something you might find on BlueFly.com.”

    As Hermès shoppers might expect, there were Garden Party style canvas bags but only the mini mini size. They were priced at $800 and $900. Hermès addicts reminisce about the sale’s good old days where these preppy style bags can be picked up for about $400.

    Moving on to gloves– there were only about 15 pair, which ranged in price from $200 to $400. As usual, scarves and ties were plentiful and were $250 and $110, respectively. Shoppers may be able to find a small stash of belts but they were not very discounted and not desirable styles. In addition, there was a small assortment of leather and enamel bracelets, which were 50% off.

    In the shoe department, the selection was pretty pitiful, according to our spies. Boots were all still over $1000 and there weren’t many great looking shoes. Ready-to-wear was also still not discounted enough for our Hermès bargain shoppers. Over in housewares, shoppers can find lots of crystal but glasses were still close to $300 each. There was also select pieces of china and a small assortment of beach towels.

    Everyone was in agreement that this was the most disappointing Hermès sample sale yet. Before heading out to the public sale, we suggest looking out the window and checking the weather forecast. With discounts and selections this slim, we would suggest heading to Madison and spending full price for the item and style you love.

    Hermes Sample Sale
    Wednesday, March 23 to Sunday, March 27
    Wed 9am to 6pm, Thurs 9am to 8pm, Fri to Sat 9am to 6pm, Sun 1pm to 5pm.
    Soffer Haskin, 317 W. 33rd St between Eighth and Ninth Avenues

    Heidi Weisel Sample Sale

    Heidi Weisel, who has elegantly dressed a gaggle of celebrities ranging from Oprah to Jenny McCarthy, is hosting a sample sale where everything will be 80% to 90% off retail prices.

    The catch is that there are only 300 pieces from the collection, which can be found at high end stores like Barney’s and Neiman Marcus. In addition, sizes are truly sample size and range from just 2s to 6s.

    Customers who aren’t eliminated by these restrictions can really capitalize on great prices. We are told that a cashmere gown with fox cuffs will be $400 from $3000, an embroidered cashmere wrap will be $125 from $675 and a crepe dress with chiffon ruffles will be $350 from almost $3000.

    See ladies, these are the cases when a trainer really pays off. Look at the savings you can get from falling into the size two to six category. We’re hitting the treadmill… now!

    Heidi Weisel Sample Sale
    Tuesday, March 22 to Saturday, March 26
    11am to 6pm
    420 W. 14th St (Btwn Ninth Ave and Washington St)
    212-675-5205

    Dannijo Sample Sale

    This week one of our favorite fashion jewelry designers, Dannijo is hosting a sample sale at their showroom. Prices are expected to start at $10 but we can’t imagine what that would be. We imagine that most jewelry will range from 50% to 70% off retail.

    If you’re not inclined to cab over to the Meatpacking District, we suggest you hit the Dannijo website where there is a small selection of sample sale items on the company’s online store. We found great a Swarovski crystal and chain cuff for $178 from $438, dazzling rhinestone cluster earrings for $138 from $320 and an elaborate necklace for $298 from $795.

    Just keep in mind that this online promotion is final sale. So even if the deals are good, there are no backsides.

    Dannijo Sample Sale
    Tuesday, March 22 from 10am to 7:30pm
    423 W. 14th St @ Washington St.

    David Yurman Sample Sale

    The Hermes sale is later this week but women looking for real gems are going to want to check out the David Yurman sample sale. At past sample sales the discount has ranged from 30% to 70% off. We expect the markdown to be about the same this season.

    This sample sale is often a big deal with David Yuman fans because most department store discounts exclude the jewelry designers’ merchandise. You can expect to find 30% off silver, 40% off gold and a few cases cases of items for 60% and 70% off. The sample sale does contain some sunglasses and children’s jewelry at a 50% discount, but not very much.

    For the same discount you can shop the David Yurman outlet at Woodburry Commons and avoid the hour line to check out. If you are adverse to leaving the city and waiting on lines, we suggest waiting until for the initial rush to pass. Items are usually restocked throughout the sale.

    David Yurman Sample Sale
    Thursday, March 24 to Sunday, March 28
    Thurs 3pm to 8pm, Fri & Sat 10am to 7pm, Sun 11am to 5pm
    The Altman Building, 135 West 18th Street

    Filene’s Missoni and D&G Steals

    Spring merchandise has been in department stores for several weeks now but this month is when the discounters start receiving the best selections of the season. Our first stop was Filene’s Basement on the Upper West Side. The store is usually an excellent source for discount Missoni and D&G and this season was no different.

    On the Missoni racks we found lots of gowns ranging from $299 to $599. Peseant cut Missoni print tops ranged from $100 to $200 with original prices ranging from $400 to $600 and heavier weight knit dresses were $199 with an original price of $500.

    Over in the D&G neck of the woods, we spotted a gown that we saw at Century 21 last season. Priced at $1700 at Century 21 then reduced to $600 during their end-of-season clearance sale, that same gown is a steal at Filene’s at just $399. (The full retail price of the D&G gown was quoted as $4200 on the tag at Century 21 but $5200 on the tag at Filene’s??!!)

    Moving past gowns, the Filene’s D&G collection appears to be mainly from the Spring 2009 RTW collection that was heavily weighted with nautical themed designs. A light weight tweed jacket is $200 from a suggested retail price of $575 and a sequined top is $199 from $1035.

    Even though these prices are amazing, they do get better. Filene’s is known for their great markdowns with an extra 50% to 75% off. If there’s an item you really like now, however, the prices are truly good enough not to worry.

    One more suggestion: Although we found a lot of great items on the Upper West Side, true bargain shoppers should head to Union Square where the selection and brand assortment is several times larger.

    Gap Family Give Get

    For four days you can use the below coupon to save 30% at Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy and their corresponding outlet stores. The promotion can be used in stores from March 17 to March 20. What’s even nicer? 5% of what you spend will be donated to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

    We’ve been a long time fan of Gap’s 1969 jeans but feel the company may be confusing customers with their marketing of the boyfriend jean and then the skinny cropped jean. Maybe shoppers are looking for more choices. Over at Banana Republic, we wish the brand would beef up the jewelry selection and start to follow the stylish example of J. Crew. It can’t be that hard, or can it?

    Lauren Merkin Sample Sale

    Not every occasion calls for a super expensive, over-the-top, statement accessory. From time to time it’s nice to make a purchase that makes you feel good, look good and doesn’t empty your wallet. The Lauren Merkin sample sale is a perfect example of a feel-good low-key purchase.

    Lauren Merkin handbags, clutches and accessories will all be priced up to 70% off. A very pretty snake textured peach shoulder bag will be $150 from $325, a rainbow colored hobo will be $150 from $425 and small leather goods will start at just $15. How can you turn up your nose at that?

    Lauren Merkin Sample Sale
    Tuesday, March 15 to Saturday, March 20
    Tues to Friday 11am to 7pm, Sat 11am to 4pm
    231 West 29th Street (Btwn 7th & 8th Avenues)
    212-239-2459
    Cash and Credit Cards Only

    TJ Maxx Runway Collection

    For the longest time we thought of TJ Maxx as a resource for discount Apple accessories and children’s story books. It wasn’t until a recent trip to Miami that we fell upon a treasure trove of designer discount merchandise. We found Fendi and Valentino bags, Prada shoes and Missoni knit sweaters.

    We knew we needed to the bottom of the mysterious uber-designer TJ Maxx finds. After a few phone calls we were connected with Sonya Cosentini, a style expert for the discount chain. Turns out the story is much like stores’ commercials: There’s a designer with overstock merchandise or returns and TJ Maxx is there to snatch up the off-the-runway looks at a fraction of their retail price.

    What we witnessed in Miami, however, was different than the Juicy Couture and Eli Tahari we find at most of TJ Maxx stores. There was an entire luxury department delineated by purple and black signage within a department called Runway. According to Sonya, there are only 50 TJ Maxx stores with Runway departments in the country.

    With in Manhattan, the Columbus Village TJ Maxx (at Columbus and 101st Street) is the only location that has a specific designer Runway department. Sonya adds that all TJ Maxx stores do have an assortment of designer labels and don’t have the department broken out because of space constraints. “You have to be on the lookout for merchandise with black and purple tags that are dispersed throughout the entire store,” she says.

    In the name of “research” we made a few calls to TJ Maxx stores with runway collections. We couldn’t believe what we were able to find: a Bottega Veneta overnight bag for $1200, a Helmut Lange tank for $40, Prada and Manolo shoes for $200, Fendi totes for $800 and a Valentino bag for $700.

    Going forward, we are going to spend a lot less time playing with the Apple accessories at TJ Maxx and a lot more time searching out purple tags. Have you found any interesting merchandise while shopping at TJ Maxx. Tell everyone about your finds in the comment section below. We can’t wait to drool!