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Recap: District Sample Sale

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It’s 5:35 p.m. Tuesday and I am running down K Street. Flop flop flop go my Tory Burch flats (the most uncomfortable footwear in the world), pound pound pound goes my heart. The wind is whipping through my hair, blowing a mass of curls in my face, and I can only hope my hairspray actually holds. Of course, a mass of commuters are gawking at me as I trot by, but I don’t care, I’m late to the District Sample Sale.

My rationale? I paid $100 for a VIP ticket and any dignity I lose by sprinting through downtown Washington will be made up by the phenomenal finds and great deals I’m about to snag. And, after a cupcake and a glass of champagne I’ll have forgotten all about it.

So, I pop in at about 5:40, entering in the VIP door and skipping the massive line of well-dressed ladies waiting for regular entry. A VIP ticket, $100 vs. general admission’s $40, gets you early access to the sale, drinks, and appetizers from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. (Hence the running, those minutes were worth about two bucks each.)

The District Sample Sale is a fashionable charity event that takes place twice-yearly—spring and fall. The area’s best boutiques heavily discount their wares and a portion of the proceeds go to charity, in this case, it was the E.K. Haynes Public Charter School.

This year, the first floor was filled with jewelry and accessories vendors—Queen Bee Designs, Tucker Blair, The Dandelion Patch, Fornash—but I have plenty of costume jewelry so I headed straight to the elevators.

The fourth floor housed 22 boutiques in total, including some of my favorite favorite shops—Urban Chic, Wink, Sassanova, and Simply Soles, along with U Street neighborhood gem Rue 14.

Clothing rack at Urban Chic. Photo credit: Cori Sue Morris

When I popped upstairs I was happy but overwhelmed. Too many options! Too many people! Too many clothes! I have to snag everything cute in my size before someone else does! I’ll kill a bitch! (OK, I didn’t actually think that last one).

Shoes at Sassanova. Photo credit: Cori Sue Morris

Luckily, there are waiters with champagne, white wine, and water waiting for you on every corner to hydrate you as you shop and ease the fast-paced shopping anxiety.

Speaking of drinks, the food and beverage selection was fairly generous. There was an open bar with beer, wine, champagne and mixed drink options, though there was a notable absence of martinis or themed pink drinks like in years past.

The bar. Photo credit: Cori Sue Morris

There was sushi from Current Sushi, Mediterranean food from Kababji Grill, a crepe stand from Cafe Bonaparte, dim sum buns from Ping Pong Dim Sum, and cheese/crackers/dips/veggies zone. And, of course, there was a table loaded with Sample Sale-themed cupcakes from everyone’s favorite fame whore, Georgetown Cupcake.

Georgetown Cupcakes. Photo credit: Cori Sue Morris

I spent about an hour and a half in total at the sample sale, snagging two pieces before the massive crowds came in, drinking my fair share of champagne, and noshing on sushi and cupcakes.

What did I buy, you ask? Here are my heavily discounted finds. A skirt by Milly, my favorite designer, from adorable boutique Julia Farr.

Milly skirt. Photo credit: Cori Sue Morris

And a dress by Tibi, my other favorite designer, from Wink. The dress is a Spring 2011 piece (usually the clothes are from last season).

Tibi dress. Photo credit: Cori Sue Morris

Lastly, the goodie bag, which is allegedly worth $100, did not impress me. There was an ugly makeup bag, a lot of flyers with limited coupons, Popchips (which I love but cost about a dollar), shampoo and conditioner samples for highlighted hair (my hair is not highlighted), no-brand chapstick, post-it-notes from TBD (humorous), some Kate Sommerville samples, and some SkinCando lotion that I was hoping was the “combat-ready lip balm” that I had been dying to try (it was not). I tossed most of the goodie bag—they really need to step it up next year.

The goodie bag, deconstructed. Photo credit: Cori Sue Morris

All in all, the District Sample Sale is a great event for a great cause. It’s definitely worth the VIP ticket if you want to find some good deals and shop in a calmer environment. Cocktails, good food, shopping, lots of fun.

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  1. One of these days, I will actually go to the sample sale! I always mean to, but it never happens. Maybe this fall?

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