Monday, November 12, 2012

Gilt Warehouse Sale

A girlfriend and I went to the Gilt Warehouse Sale at Fort Mason on Saturday. Any serious online discount savvy fashionista is familiar with Gilt, so naturally the thought of a Gilt warehouse sale was thrilling! I have been to a zillion trunk shows and fashion events in the city, but this was my first real warehouse sale. I expected it would be some cross between other events I've attended and a day-after-Thanksgiving Nordstrom Rack rush.

We scored free curbside parking a few blocks down and eagerly paced over to the Fort Mason Fleet Room. Our wave was 12-2pm, and at ten till noon there was a line of fifty or so shoppers leading up to the door. Around a quarter past we got to the entrance where we were asked to check our coats and purses, and then were let loose on a relatively small and heavily packed room full of racks of clothing; women's on the right, men's on the left, and an assortment of other items on tables down the center. Just inside the entrance was a complimentary Veev cocktail bar, a display of Vita Coco waters and a Benefit table. At the far end of the room was a table pouring La Marca Prosecco and a tented off "dressing room." The promised KIND bars, Popchips and Fiji Water were nowhere to be found, but everyone was too busy rabidly thrashing their way through piles and racks to even notice.

We started with the clothes racks, which, to our grave disappointment, were filled mostly with damaged dresses. I found three to try on while my friend, still empty handed, moved on to the shoes. I headed toward the dressing room. The attendant brushed aside one corner of the large heavy curtain and I stepped inside. There were two dozen half naked women guarding mounds of clothes on the floor while fighting for space in front of two large mirrors propped up against the wall. I made my way to the back of the dressing room and used my foot to clear away some space. Unable to squeeze into the mirror, I abandoned one dress and carried out two others, hoping they looked as good as they felt. If I'd been able to think more strategically at the time, I should have rummaged through the layers of clothing covering the entire dressing room floor, as no doubt that's where the most desirable items were tucked away.

My friend and I reunited at the La Marca table and rejuvenated ourselves with two glasses of sparkling wine before diving back into the chaos. Our second sweep of the clothing racks was more fruitful for her, but I stuck with my previous finds. Perhaps some of those hidden gems from the dressing room floor had made their way back to the racks by then. We picked through the accessories table before getting in the checkout line, but considering it was a mound of mismatched oddly sized bikinis, underwear and broken jewelry, we came up empty handed. 

I suppose I can't complain, having scored over $300 worth of dress for $95, but the event certainly didn't meet my expectations. I mean, come on, it's Gilt! Too bad the selection was more like along the lines of a Beverly Hills Goodwill. I think I'll stick to my trunk shows filled with high quality local designer's wares.