A Night Out: District Sample Sale

Stylish Washingtonians snap up designer deals for a good cause

The clothing racks and sales guidelines from Old Town boutique Hysteria at the District Sample Sale. Photograph by Joshua Yospyn.

>> See more photos from the District Sample Sale

A fashionable crowd of bargain hunters came out last night for the spring 2011 District Sample Sale to shop and support the E.L. Haynes Public Charter School. The crowd was mostly well-dressed groups of girlfriends, although at least one boyfriend was spotted clinging to his beer and nodding as his companion asked, “Are the colors of this dress too muted for spring?”

The warehouse-style space on L Street, Northwest, was packed with dresses, sweaters, shoes, and accessories. Shoppers sampled dim sum and lemongrass and lime-flavored cocktails from Ping Pong Dim Sum, made-to-order crepes from Cafe Bonaparte, tapas from Kabab-ji Grill, and the mainstay goodies of any chic event oriented at women in the District these days: Georgetown Cupcake. In addition, there were several bars stocked with plenty of Champagne, Flying Dog beer, and Svedka vodka to wash away buyer’s remorse.

Colorful spring dresses were the main item on offer from the 20-plus local boutiques and designers that participated, including Urban Chic, Julia Farr, Wink, and Mona Assemi Jewelry. Baltimore-based stores Cupcake and Poppy and Stella had well-stocked booths, as did Imagine Fashion Apothecary from Gaithersburg and Ginger in Bethesda. And deals could be found in every corner. Highlights included a discounted slinky royal-blue dress from Halston Heritage and a Gryphon trench for 30 percent off—the perfect topper for our current in-between weather. There were also deals on winter staples such as Splendid’s soft long-sleeve tees and comfortable sweaters at Emily Grace. Sassanova had a range of deals on its selection of shoes from $20 cream-colored patent flats to half-price canary-yellow jelly sandals from Moschino.

The first floor was stocked with plenty of accessories, such as a perfect preppy wicker clutch from Fornash ($30; regular price $113) and embroidered belts from Tucker Blair. B is for Balenciaga’s charming pen-and-ink drawings of designer shoes went for $10 to $24, an adorable and wallet-friendly alternative to a pair of Jimmy Choo’s. Charm Georgetown’s booth was stocked with plenty of glittering necklaces, earrings, and rings, with Vera Wang and Alexis Bittar pieces selling for 50 percent off.

For shoppers looking to cool their heels and powder their noses, there were makeover stations from Salon One80 and makeup applications from Laura Mercier.

The inaugural District Sample Sale took place in Fall 2006 and was founded by Real Housewife Mary Amons, star publicists Barbara Martin and Jayne Sandman, Shannon Haley, and Liberty Jones. Proceeds from last evening’s sales benefited the E.L. Haynes Public Charter School. The school was founded in 2004 and currently serves 600 students in pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade classes. The school is adding a grade each year until it goes through 12th grade; 125 students enrolled in the fall 2011 freshman class. Every $500 from the District Sample Sale will provide a laptop for a student.

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