Every day at noon, a new online Gilt Groupe sale begins. Women and men everywhere make sure their bosses aren't looking as they surreptitiously fill their shopping carts with bargain Karen Walkers, Zac Posen dresses and Tom Ford slacks.
For those who prefer to see and touch their clothes before laying out big bucks for them, Gilt City, Gilt Groupe's local lifestyle site, has amassed thousands of pieces from the Web site's warehouses to host a brick-and-mortar Gilt City Warehouse Sale. Set for Friday and Saturday at Long View Gallery (1234 Ninth St. NW), the ticketed sale will feature about 8,000 deeply discounted items from the likes of Posen, Helmut Lang, Vera Wang and Rachel Roy, plus cocktails, snacks and a DJ as you race for the best stuff. (The event is almost sold out, so get tickets quickly if you want to go.)
Before this weekend's sale, we sought a few shopping tips from Marissa Schneider, Gilt City D.C.'s senior curator. Because Gilt City requires you to check big purses and bags, leave everything at home but a wallet you can tuck into your pocket. If you're particularly modest, know that there is only one communal dressing room. And leave the cash at home, because cashiers will accept credit only.
And if you're unsure about what you should snag, check out our gallery of trends to look out for. Many of the pervasive styles from the last round of fashion show from New York to Paris are surprisingly wearable (obviously, we're not talking about the Stephen Sprouse logoed Edie Campbell at Louis Vuitton). And many of the 2014 spring/summer runway shows were filled with adaptable options that, best of all, can picked up now.
What should people know about how to approach the sale? What is it like?
Marissa Schneider: Basically we take thousands of pieces – we have apparel, we have designer
shoes, we have some home decor items, a small children’s section, men’s – and we fill up Longview Gallery with racks and racks and racks of apparel. We organize primarily by size, and from there, we try to group items together the best we can, like shoes in one section, the apparel for women in its own section, and apparel for men in its own section, and, in the middle of the room is accessories, with handbags and things of that nature, including clutches, wallets and men’s ties.
How are these items lined up? Are the items from 2013? Are they seasonal?
MS: This is all Gilt merchandise coming from our warehouses. We have a lot of items that are fairly current, so people can find pieces that are in line with this season's trends -- everything from little red dresses to pieces with that rocker, leather edge to them.
If you were shopping, what would you be looking for?
MS: I love to touch on every single category, but bags for me are always a big focus. We always get a good mix of things that come in, and I love, love, love accessories. I actually enjoy the rush and the search of finding those little treasures in our accessories section.
Is it like the Running of the Brides? That's what I imagine. What do you recommend for people as a strategy for shopping the sale?
MS: One of the biggest tips I have for people is get there early. People do line up. And dress in layers. For me, you lose time if you wait in line for a fitting room. If there are pieces you really need to try, you should. But if you wear a fitted tank top, you can try blouses on over that, and you can try dresses on over that. We have mirrors in between racks of clothes, and mirrors dedicated to the shoe section, and of course, mirrors in the dressing room, and mirrors for the guys as well.
Is it possible to take as much as they can, then weed out and put stuff back? Are there rules and limitations?
MS: There aren't limitations, but I always tell people to have a priority list. If the thing you want to focus on is shoes, go to shoes first, because one of the fun parts, and one of the stressful parts, I think, is that we have so many one-of-a-kind pieces. Maybe we have one Helmut Lang dress and it’s a size 4. So the first person to find that piece is the one who's going to get it. So if people head to what they want first, it can take the stress off, like "Okay, I found the shoes I was looking for, or I found the dress I really wanted." We don’t have a hold section, so if you kind of amass all these things that you want and you decide you want to get them, we don't have a place for you to set them. If people try on as they go through, they'll end up with a pretty edited selection.