Despite Recession Fears and Bad Weather, District Sample Sale Draws a Strong Crowd

By: McLean Robbins

Shoppers persue the wares at the District Sample Sale.

More than 650 shoppers gathered in Georgetown Wednesday night for the biannual District Sample Sale, where about 20 stores, jewelry designers, and clothing brands discount merchandise by as much as 80 percent and donate a portion of the proceeds to charity.

This year, Rachael’s Women’s Center was the recipient.

The sale drew a larger crowd than last year, despite the $40-to-$200 entry fees. Shoppers lined up in the rain nearly 90 minutes early to get their chance to grab bargains from stores such asUrban Chic, Wink, Hysteria, and Simply Soles as well as nibbles from Georgetown Cupcake, Sweetgreen, and Neyla.

Bargains appeared on par with previous seasons, with many stores offering $25 and $30 racks plus fall merchandise discounted as much as 30 percent.

>> See the full slideshow here 

Shoppers also flocked to sponsors such as the Metropolitan Institute for Plastic Surgery, which offered $100 gift certificates for cult-favorite lash-enhancing product Latisse. Free blowouts and product samples from Salon One80 were a hit, and the table from Georgetown Cupcake, hidden upstairs this year, needed to be continually replenished.

Security seemed noticeably tighter this year, perhaps due to the rumored filming of Mary Amons, the District Sample Sale founder and rumored star of the next iteration of the Bravo TV series Real Housewives. We spotted several cameras, but as of press time no one was able to confirm what the footage was for.

We spotted tons of stylish shoppers, many of whom were sporting sky-high heels and sample-sale-appropriate garb (lots of layers, easy-to-remove clothing). As at previous sales, we were pleasantly surprised to see a variety of ages and body types shopping the sale racks, which offered everything from shoes and clothes to handmade jewelry for purchase.

Perhaps our favorite store for bargains was the Baltimore-based Poppy and Stella, which is opening a new location in Annapolis Towne Center this fall. The clothes with such labels as Thread Social were deeply discounted and quickly snatched up during the VIP hour.

After the show, VIP and benefactress attendees ($100- and $200-ticket holders) walked away with goodie bags stuffed with merchandise including DSS umbrellas, a Jersey Boys coffee-table book, weeklong memberships to Sports Club/LA, and tons of product samples.

Visit districtsamplesale.com for details on the spring event.

More>> Shop Around Blog | Style | Find a Spa