The highly anticipated 90% off markdowns have hit Century 21‘s downtown location. The mega clearance sale is legendary among New York’s savvy shoppers. Ever hungry for great bargains, the lucky few who managed to shop during the first two days found stellar deals on high-end designer goods. I am here to share my finds and offer helpful advice on how to brave this seemingly intimidating sale and spot the biggest deals. What you need to know:
1. The sale is currently limited to the downtown flagship store. 2. Each floor has a clearance section where you can find 90% off items. 3. The 90% off is taken from C21 sale price, not retail, making the savings unbelievably good. 4. Third floor holds the European designer apparel as well as scarves, hats, and belts. Start there first. 5. Inspect everything for signs of damage and remember you have 45 days to return your items. 6. Look for the unsorted racks, that’s where the staffers put back-stock, dressing room rejects and returns before placing them on appropriate racks. 7. If you only see an item with 65% off sticker but it’s in the 90% off section…..take a chance, bring it to the register and you might get lucky. 8. Items and racks are being rearranged daily so don’t be surprised to spot a red sticker in an unexpected place. 9. If you’re at the store for the long haul it’s worth to periodically check a particular section as more items may have been added. 10. Don’t hesitate to ask a staffer if they have more of item X in the stock room, you never know! 11. If you only have one or two items and don’t want to spend an hour at the register…..go to the cosmetics department and they will ring you up. 12. Sign up for Century 21 loyalty program and when you reach gold or platinum you can use the express VIP lanes and earn rewards. 13. Please read my full report for a complete rundown and all the pretty photos 🙂
The sale bonanza kicked off this Monday and unlike previous years, the discounts never went to 75% or 85% and instead simultaneously jumped straight to 90% off in every category! After receiving a tip from LeHoarder, I (almost) immediately jumped on the train and headed downtown. Mind you I was in the middle of a dental appointment, getting a root canal with half my face numb from anesthesia but hey, you know…..its major clearance time 😉 You may recall my Century 21 shopping reports Part 1Part 2Part 3 so I was well prepared for the final leg of this sale.
My first stop was the luxury designer handbag and accessories section where I found an insanely discounted Lanvin Mai Tai Flower satin clutch for a meager $38 (down from $1,235). Even I could not believe that price. The fact that it also came with a sexy chain shoulder strap and an original Lanvin dust bag was just pure gravy. I also saw a silver Roger Vivier bag for about $500 but it was kind of beat up and I’ve seen similar prices during the brand’s sample sales.
Lanvin satin clutch $37.62
I also spotted a small clearance rack with Kate Spade “Make Limoncello” straw clutches for a ridiculous price of $7.92. There were tiny plastic clutches by Franchi for around $3-$4 and assorted tech accessories from $1-$3. Mostly Marc by Marc Jacobs Samsung Galaxy phone cases and a couple of Rebecca Minkoff iPhone 4/5 cases. It was mainly gear for old generation devices but I found an Izak iPhone 6 “Paris” case that I knew my mom would love 🙂 High-end jewelry section was completely empty but there were some 90% off cheap jewelry pieces throughout the 65% off section. Sunglasses were only 65% off but there were $20-$30 deals from Marc Jacobs and Tory Burch.
Matching Kate Spade straw hat $4.95 and clutch $7.92
These were the only clearance bags left when I arrived at the store
Phone cases $1-$3
Tory Burch sunglasses $24.43 (retail $165)
Heading to the third floor I started at the scarf section. I was immediately drawn to the pretty white scarf with the lips motif. Thinking I was about to score me some DVF goodness I was floored when I saw that it was actually Saint Laurent and just $13! The ladies near me were also looking at the same selection and seeing my excitement quickly grabbed the remaining scarves. Whether a complete stranger or a friend I always try to be helpful and will share a good deal 🙂 There were many other scarves at $9-$15 but I found the colors too drab and it’s not as though I don’t have enough sample sale scarves to last a lifetime lol
90% off scarves including Saint Laurent $12.92 (retail $325) and Franco Ferrari $7.92 (retail $200)
More clearance scarves
Ferragamo silk scarf but only 65% off $38.39 (it did not ring up lower at the register)
Love how it matches my old clutch
Also on the third floor were all kinds of summer hats from straw to floppy to panama. I saw Kate Spade “Lemons” straw hats that matched the clutch I found earlier. Unfortunately most of them had a hole in the top tip of the hat but at $4.95 I managed to find the least damaged one. They make an adorable set that I can’t wait to wear them together.
Clearance hats from Hat Attack $2.97 ($78) and Eric Javits $8.41($195),
Acne hats $17.42, August Hat Company, Furla, Kate Spade $4.95
Cute jellies and flip-flops by Dizzy $2.27
As part of my multiple pièce de résistance finds (it’s crazy that I had this many) I found an Hermès khaki linen hat for $39.60! Seriously! Shut the front door! It retailed for $820! Thanks to my past “research” I knew that Hermès hats were there and were part of clearance but I did not expect to find one on the second day and for that price. Pro tip here: if you see a large blue C21 tag peaking out, you know it’s a major designer item. I think most people ignored it because it was thrown amongst various Hat Attack and Eric Javits hats that were also very nice buys at $3-$10 but they’re not Hermès 😉
Have you ever seen Hermes so cheap?
A small selection of belts included finds from Max Mara (the biggest savings), Vince Camuto, Kate Spade, Cole Haan, and Marc by Marc Jacobs. All priced around $6-$12.
Max Mara Italian leather belts $11.88 (retail $475)
Kate Spade belts $6.53 (retail $128)
The situation around the clearance apparel racks was absolute chaos. Overflowing baskets, baby strollers, ladies lugging 20+ items by hand and everyone trying to browse. One of the staffers kept yelling she will take all the clothes away from those clogging the aisles or leaving baskets unattended. Nevertheless I managed to squeeze in, with my basket, because yeah…….you saw the photo of my haul. Clothing Racks were organized by size from XS/S to M to L/XL. I spotted high-end brands like Lanvin, Akris Punto, Rochas, Escada, Missoni, Gaultier, etc. I also saw many of the left over Haider Ackermann and Ann Demeulemeester pieces from the joint sample sale a few months ago. Prices were oh so good, provided you managed to find an item in good condition. Unfortunately rips, stains, snags were very common, particularly on the luxe pieces from Lanvin and the like. Most jackets and blazers were around $40. I found a gorgeous silk Misha Nonoo blazer for $19 while a wool Rochas jacket was $69. I went a bit crazy with the blazers and bought out all the good stuff, sorry! Trousers were also dirt cheap at around $11 for Dolce & Gabbana and $19 for Akris Punto. I saw cute leather mini skirts but unfortunately they were marred by stains and rips while longer silk skirts had too many snags. There were some great floor length maxi dresses and gowns but being petite and not really having occasions to wear such things I didn’t spend too much time exploring those racks.
90% off clearance section
Misha Nonoo silk blazer $19.80 (retail $495)
Lanvin blazer $110
Rochas jacket $69.80 (retail $2,000)
Ted Baker $23.76 (retail $395)
Ted Baker $25
Ann Demeulemeester leather skirt ruined by marks and rips in the back
Damir Doma wrap skirt $22.77 (retail $760)
Akris long skirt $46.53 (retail $1,460)
Haider Ackermann jumpsuit $38
RED Valentino jeans $20
Misha Nonoo silk pants $19 (retail $495)
Paul & Joe Sister skirt
Ann Demeulemeester vest from the sample sale $88.10 (I was tempted but so so heavy and impractical)
Lanvin silk dress with one too many snags/rips for my taste $108.90 (retail $3,440)
Yigal Azrouel dress $22
Versace Jeans dress $27.72 (retail $675)
Ted Baker dress $27.77 (retail $425)
Fourth floor had a much smaller apparel selection consisting of contemporary designers like Badgley Mischka and Hugo Boss, although I found some Max Mara pieces mixed in the racks. The atmosphere was also a lot more calm with less shoppers clogging the aisles although the register lines were of epic proportions.
Fourth floor clearance section was a little more calm
Badgley Mischka dress $17.82 (retail $395)
Another Badgley Mischka $22.77
Moving on up to the fifth floor I was mostly looking for deals on hosiery, like Wolford and Spanx and I certainly found them! Tights were priced at $1.88 but sizing was limited. Wolford in particular was only XS with a lone S, that I bought. Spanx was mostly size B which again worked for me. Emilio Cavallini, Hue, Commando and Falke offered some choice for larger sizes. There was also a small rack of athletic wear like tennis skirts/skorts and tank tops $3-$19.
Designer tights starting at $.79
The biggest and most surprising finds came from the swimwear section. There were of course obligatory bikini finds like $13 Emilio Pucci and Gaultier Soleil. Lanvin cover-ups and one-piece swimwear was around $45-$55. Profile by Gotex and La Perla were dirt cheap at $6-$9. I also came across a Missoni coverup for $19. Now for yet another pièce de résistance find that came in the form of a Fendi jacket. I certainly would not consider it swimwear so why it was on the same rack I do not know but then again I don’t really care 😉 Point being is that I ended up with several amazing Fendi sports jackets for only $44 and $54 each (originally $1,000+). This was also another instance of my “research” paying off. Since I was intimately familiar with the clearance selection, I saw these Fendi pieces before when they were marked 33%, 50%, and now 65%? Yeah they were marked 65% off but were hanging on the 90% off racks. Asking a staffer for a price check was an impossible notion in all that commotion (the rhymes are flowing!) so I instead opted to trust my Spidey senses and took everything to the register. Much to my satisfaction the items did indeed ring up for 90% off and all was well with the world 🙂
Intimates from Cavalli and D&G
Super sexy Moschino piece just $4.95
My precious Fendi for just $44 (retail over $1,000)
You think the finds stop with Fendi? Oh how wrong you are! In the outerwear department I found DVF parkas for $22 (originally $425) as well as trenches from Cinzia Rocca and Mackage for less than $30!
These blazers were only $16.83 (retail $340)
DVF parka $22.77 (retail $425)
Cinzia Rocca trench $27.72 (retail $590)
Eventually I made it down to the shoe department. This being my “supposedly” last stop later in the day I kind of knew there would be nothing good left and I was correct. I did see Fendi sandals for $48.51 but they were in such terrible condition with silver finish literally peeling off, they looked worse than worn samples. Despite them being my size I opted to pass. Same went for a pair of white Sergio Rossi sandals, just too dirty and worn looking. I have so little closet space so it’s good to at least try to be a little choosy lol
Fendi sandals $48.51 (retail $690)
Sergio Rossi sandals $27.72 (retail $690)
Vince Camuto $8.91 total steal!
I spent an inordinate amount of time shopping and going from floor to floor so I noticed the staff occasionally restocking certain items or adding something new. Before heading home, I made one last stop over at the accessories section and lo and behold I found a Mulberry iPad pouch for $10 (originally $300) and a Pucci snakeskin luggage tag for $6.90 (originally $180). Thankfully I did not have to endure yet another hour long wait at the register and was able to pay at the cosmetics counter. Stay tuned for Part 2 of my finds……..yes there is more! I returned on Wednesday for more retail therapy and had the pleasure of running into Mushkie.
Think I bought enough? Me thinks I need MOAR!!!
BOTTOM LINE: Run, go, seriously get to the sale by any means necessary. Don’t feel deterred by missing out on the first few days, there are bargains to be had when you know where to look. Hopefully with my helpful tips you will know so go forth my minions! and happy shopping 🙂