Monday, June 8, 2015

The 2015 Lilly Pulitzer Warehouse Sale Recap and Suggestions

Every year Lilly Pulitzer holds a Warehouse Sale.  This sale is a big deal for the Lilly Pulitzer lovers out there.  The expensive floral print/ brightly colored clothing items rarely go on sale, so when a sale arises people get excited.  Typically there is a large sale online at the end of the summer as well as in January.  While these online sales have great deals, the hype surrounding them is much less than the annual Warehouse Sale.  The Warehouse Sale takes place at the Philadelphia Expo Center near King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.  For those of you who don't know, the sale lasts from Thursday- Saturday. Thursday is usually the more chaotic day beginning at 5 am.  I know people who waited in line for five hours to get in!  Friday the sale begins at 7 am and Saturday the doors open at 8am.  

For several years now, my mom and I have been wanting to go to the annual Lilly Pulitzer Warehouse Sale.  In the past something had always prevented us from attending, but this year there was no stopping us. Several months ago, when the sale dates were revealed, we decided it would be best to attend on Friday.   We woke up around 4:15 am and left our home, in Pennsylvania, by 5 am.  We arrived at the Expo center and were waiting in line by 6am.  The temperature was in the low 60s and it was beginning to rain.  We forgot to bring our raincoats, but luckily where we were in line there was a large white tent.  By the time the line had moved out from the tent, the rain had stopped.  As we waited in line, we ate our breakfast (kind bar for mom and a cliff bar for me).  We were inside the expo center by 6:45 am and shopping by 7:05 am.  We were surprised at how quickly we were able to get in and shopping.  Before we were allowed to start shopping we had to sign a waiver agreeing to "play by the rules and having FUN doing it!"

There was quite the array of outfit choices for the day's event. There were women in sundresses and flip flops as well as those who were dressed in down vests as if the rain shower was about to turn into a blizzard. I wore leggings with a teal sorority tank, an oversized sweater, silver jack rogers sandals, and a messy bun.  My mom wore a tank top, leggings, an oversized sweater, a blue printed scarf and loafers.  We opted for the more comfortable outfits that made trying on clothes easy. 

The first few minutes of the sale were very overwhelming as were so many racks to choose from and the Expo center was filled with lots of people.  My mom and I decided we would split up and then reconnect to go into the fitting room together.  After about 45 minutes of grabbing anything and everything that was in our sizes that we might like, we met up and got in line to try the clothes on.  As we waited in the long line, we sorted through the items we pulled.  After sorting through the wracks, everything started to look the same.  We had both pulled multiples of a few items, so we discarded them from our bags.  

The line for the fitting room moved pretty quickly.  The fitting room itself is one large room with about a hundred different stations. Each station had a hanging mirror and a folding chair.  This locker room style dressing room may have been my favorite part of the sale.  The women that were around us were the most positive people.  People would drown you in compliments and helped you find the piece you wanted in your size if you couldn't find it.  Things you heard included, "That looks awesome on you!", "Here this doesn't fit me but it looks like it might be your size, do you want to try it on?", " If you don't like that may I try it on?".  This part of the sale restored my faith in humanity.  The fitting room could have easily been filled with women who were annoyed because they had been waiting in lines all morning and jealous when they saw that you had the dress they had been searching for.  Women tend to knit pick at themselves when trying things on, but this was not the case here.  The room was filled with ladies who were happy and full of positivity. 

Originally I had entered the dressing room with twelve items. I tried things on and cut the number of items in half. After trying things on another time I finally narrowed it down to three.  Coincidentally my mom left the fitting room with three items too. We walked around one more time before getting in line to check out. During this second sweep of the sale, my mom found a few sweaters and scarves that we loved.  So what did I get?
Sarasota Tunic (in a different print)
Riley Infinity Scarf (in a different print)
Luggage Tag
Hayden Cardigan (in navy)

My advice for those of you who attend the Lilly Warehouse Sale in the future:

No expectations are better than high expectations:
The sale has a lot of random things at it.  They have a large variety of sizes, prints, and styles but they don't have every style in all sizes.  There was a ton of inventory for 00 and extra smalls.  Our outlook for the sale was to have fun and come out with a few items. I had a list in my head of things I would like to add to my collection but this just helped guide my decisions as to what I actually purchased. If you go in with less expectations then you won't be disappointed. 

Use the large bags they provide you to shop:
When you first walk into the area with the clothing racks, you are handed an exceptionally large bag. USE IT! At first I was apprehensive because they were so large.  Let me tell you, taking the bag was incredibly helpful because it could hold a ton of items.  Having to hold clothes in one arm and look with the other would have been too difficult.

Know your size:
It is much easier to shop if you know your size.  There clothing racks are done by size, so if you know your size then you can easily go to that rack and begin to look.  Knowing what fits you well will also limit the amount of time you spend in the fitting room. 

Know your budget:
It is important to go to the sale without a budget or else you might break the bank. It is easy to get excited and spend way too much.  It is also important to be a smart shopper, while there are a ton of good deals not everything at the sale is a great deal. For example, I love Lilly pulitzer shorts but the ones at the sale were less quality for a discounted price that was still too much to pay for a single pair of shorts.  It is important to look at the quality of the item and the price before purchasing it. 

Change your shopping techniques:
Normally when I shop I am very picky as to what I try on.  At the Warehouse Sale it is important to pick up an item when you see it because if you go back it probably won't be there.  This is where the oversized shopping bag comes in handy.  The large bag allows you to pull more clothes and decide later if you like them or not.  

Use the Buddy System:
Shopping is always more fun when you have someone to do it with. My mom is my favorite person to go clothes shopping with. I am the most indecisive person, so she helps me decide what I should buy and helps me know what looks good on me.  The warehouse sale requires a lot of waiting in lines, so it is more fun to do this with somebody you know rather than try to make friends with strangers.  Shopping with another person is also great because they might pick out items for you that you wouldn't normally choose for yourself.  Lastly, the fitting room is more fun to navigate with a friend.  My mom and I had a lot of fun trying on clothes together and deciding which prints looked good and which ones needed to go back to the rack. 


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