This past Saturday, we decided to endeavor the people, personalities, and prices of the annual Barneys Warehouse Sale. We had never been before but, of course, we were very curious to see what it was like. Anxious to steal away deals, we definitely did some shopping–but didn’t really get any “deals.”
The sale started at 9AM at the Convention Center Downtown and attracted people to stand in line as early as 5AM. We knew we didn’t have a chance in hell of pulling our asses out of bed to get deals nor do we have the moxie to handle ravenous fashion types so early in the morning thus we rolled up to the convention center at 9:30AM. We vaguely had an idea of where to go but, thankfully, signs directing us to “BOAT SHOW | BARNEYS” led the way. Of course, that had to be it: what a brilliant double billing!
We walked in, went up some stairs, and were in the mythical sale, which very much looked like a bunch of spilled ants swarming around very expensive whipped cream. There was a womenswear, designer womenswear, homewares, shoes, menswear, some “as is” sections, and various tables of stuff to fill the room. It was a mess. Perhaps it was nice and tidy before they opened the doors but, well, it was not at 9:30AM. It was literally like walking through a picnic that has been overrun by ants, where all the ants are hungry, are of an international background, skewed to an older age group, and kindly bitter to everyone else around them.
Of course, all factory or warehouse sales are insane. We went to the Modernica Factory Sale last Fall and were shocked at the mess there. However, the difference between the two is that you know what you are getting at the Modernica sale because they list everything online in advance of the sale. Barneys? Free for all! Whatever they have, you can get! And at not-that-low-prices, too.
And, even though people were perfectly polite (although eyeing what you found/eyeing what they didn’t find/bragging about what they found), people were doing anything to get a deal. The best–and most sighted–technique was to avoid the curtained dressing room and just strip before the rack like this guy and many, many others. There was no shame in there.
Also, everything was sooooooo expensive still. Sooooooo expensive. I mean, yes, I understand that Barneys is expensive and that these were discounted and that we were getting things at a steal–but they were still super expensive. You’d go to grab a pretty nice Burberry sweater. How much? $500. A little Paul Smith hat? $125. A Rag And Bone blazer? $300. A pair of Pendleton Opening Ceremony socks? $30. Yes, thirty dollars. It was absurd. Seriously: we walked in hoping for It’s A Wrap and got a messy Barney’s Co-Op. Huge bummer.
Moreover, it seemed to be running on slave labor and did not need to be in the Convention Center. All the employees were people that uptight fashion managers would scoff at and no one knew what was going on (when asked if they would be restocking things everyday, an employee went, “I have no idea. I just a temp at this register.”). The convention center space also required lots and lots of help, all of which were hired temporarily and had no idea what was going on (some even said that!). It wasn’t a matter of bad service: it was just that it was a huge after thought by the brand, the feeling of shopping at a Barneys being removed and the idea of being at a luxury swap meet full of passive rabids. The Convention Center room we were in was big and accommodating, yes, but boomed with silly indie music and had one or two signs that attempted at being Barneys answer to funny (but instead were almost mocking us for thinking we’d get deals).
Thus, some pointers:
• If you want purses, arrive early. Like, 5AM.
• Save your pennies. Nothing is cheap.
• If you want cheap, go straight for the As Is section. Don’t dawdle around in the racks–just go for the As Is. Everything there is actually at prices you were expecting for a Warehouse Sale and weren’t that fucked up.
• Don’t go alone and have an idea of what you want. If you are with friends, you can divide and conquer and be on the lookout for things.
• Know your sizes. You MUST know your sizes. The fitting rooms are a zoo. Do your best not to deal with them!
• Moreover, be aware how brands size. Don’t go in and grab a bunch of Band Of Outsiders clothes because you very well may go home and find that they are all too small. Go to a Barneys and try things on just to have an idea of how they fit.
• Don’t bother with the homewares, shoes, or bags unless you are early or want to fight people.
The Barneys Warehouse Sale is going on through the 20th. You can get more information about it here. However, we have no idea if they will be replenishing goods, having bigger sales, or anything else of that nature. We have a feeling they may be having bigger discounts and new inventory because why else would they be open until next Monday? They have to have something to entice new shoppers, right? Right????
Our biggest piece of advice, though? Just go to It’s A Wrap. They have practically the same stuff from past seasons, requires a happier sense of searching, is open all year round, and is definitely cheaper. Those are our thoughts on the matter.