Gilt Warehouse Sale Review: Washington, D.C.

February 12, 2012 § 1 Comment

Gilt and I have an on-again, off-again relationship.

Lately our status has largely been “off” given some looming financial changes on my horizon (more on that much later). However, when I saw the words “Warehouse Sale” come through my inbox, I immediately clicked on through and purchased two tickets to the Washington, D.C. event, which took place on Saturday, February 11. Five bucks a pop seemed totally worth it for hubby and I to flit through racks and racks of discounted designer goodies.

The day was divided into three sessions: 12 p.m., 2 p.m., and 4 p.m. I was a little slow on the uptake so we were in the 4 p.m. group. We got into line around 3:45 p.m., and were maybe 15 people back — eventually the line stretched up the block and around the corner. Once inside, we were among the more prepared shoppers. The voucher warns that you’ll be forced to check your coat and bags and carry just a small wallet; some deal shoppers seemed to not be aware of the fine print and had obvious anxiety about parting with their mirror monogram Michael Kors bags. I intentionally wore leggings and a slim t-shirt under a track jacket (pockets!) thinking that I could avoid dressing room lines and try on anything right there on the floor. (I’m in the market for flowy dresses for spring and our annual pilgrammage to Miami; budget, $100.)

Inside the art gallery-turned-warehouse was exactly what you might expect — a DJ was spinning Gwen Stefani and Pitbull, waiters offered a signature cocktail, Smart Water was available by the bottle, and the clothes were organized by size — racks of extra-small, small, medium and large for both women and men, with a table full of handbags, a table full of really random odds and ends (a Marc Jacobs bandeau bikini top, size small, $30, alongside a Paul Smith tie, $29, horrific rabbit fur accessories) and homegoods (giant tambourines? a broken lamp? a salad spinner?), and a long, long table filled with shoes in boxes piled two or three high.

Since we were near the front of the line, we had a few minutes of relative quiet to browse — I started by doing a quick survey of the whole space to get my bearings, then focused on handbags. I saw a gorgeous oversize black Valentino bag, all leather and sequins, but didn’t bother picking it up — even at Gilt warehouse prices, Valentino wasn’t going to be in my budget. Nothing else caught my eye — lots of brands I didn’t recognize, likely the lower-tier brands that seem to fill out Gilt on “slow” days.

Gilt Warehouse Sale Review Washington, D.C.

People with more patience than I do sort through the table of random sheets, belts, panties, etc.

Next I moved onto the clothing racks. This got a bit awkward as typically another woman would be on the other side of the rack, looking at the exact same thing I was. A few things caught my eye — a fluttery Marc Jacobs cocktail dress, a pair of Acne white jeans, a short-sleeved purple Splendid sweatshirt (oh so Bill Belichick). The best, most beautiful thing I got my paws on was a Temperley London floral dress — a gorgeous bustier number perfect for the Shore Club, but a size 2 (and still $249). By this point the clothing racks were starting to get jammed up with cocktail sippers, so I moved on to shoes, where I didn’t find a single size 7 (lots of 6.5 and lots of 8.5), a single thing that appealed to me, or a single brand I recognized. Shoe sadness.

Let’s check in with Scott on the men’s section of the store:

The men’s side was nice respite from the mayhem of the women’s side. It was staged in the same amount of space but with about a third of the number of shoppers. There were 4 racks labeled S, M, L, and XL, and thankfully things were categorized correctly. But the clothing itself was barely memorable — full of black DKNY blazers, Paul Smith solid-color polos, nothing jumped out to me. And there were no coats/jackets, sweaters, bright colors, or resport wear, so any purchase felt like an addition to your smart casual wardrobe.

After 30 minutes, we ended up glancing at each other from our respective sides of the sale, shrugging, and going to the coat check — we bought nothing.

Was it worth it?

I certainly wouldn’t go to another — the shopping experience felt like a Nordstrom Rack transported to an art gallery with cocktails. What was advertised as “curated” felt more like “a bunch of crap thrown on a table!” (It’s possible that the selection and organization was better at the 12 p.m. or 2 p.m. session, too — we certainly saw a lot of people leaving with bags while waiting in line.) I have no patience for digging, but if you’re the type who’s in it for the thrill of the hunt, certainly make it a point to go.

And the day was far from a total loss … on the way out there was a table with a new flavor of Pop Chips (chipotle lime — delicious!) and two new flavors of Kind bars (I forget, they immediate got stashed in my gym bag). The free snacks and the free drinks more than covered the $10 we paid to get in, and not buying anything means I can treat myself to something new from Lululemon soon.

Win, win.

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§ One Response to Gilt Warehouse Sale Review: Washington, D.C.

  • Tracey says:

    This is so interesting. I’ve always been tempted to go to one of these but feared it would be exactly as you described. I’m not the type of shopper to hunt and the idea of doing that while surrounded by lots of tipsy strangers sounds horrific.

    I’m VERY eager to try the chipotle lime pop chips however!

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