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Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 08/22/2007

Sample in the City

By Julia Beizer

Paying money for the privilege of paying money doesn't make a lot of sense to me, but for the District Sample Sale, a girl can make an exception.

The third incarnation of the biannual sale takes place in the old Staples building in Georgetown from 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 12. Expect to see summer-season apparel from local stores like Alex, Hysteria, Urban Chic and Sassanova all sold at bargain prices. Free martinis will be flowing, appetizers will be circulating and DJ Federico Aublee will be spinning. Bottom line, it beats your average trip to the shops on Wisconsin Avenue.

Tickets for the events cost a hefty $40, but proceeds benefit Miriam's House, a shelter for women infected with HIV. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Thursday and, if you want to go, get tickets early. The Sample Sale always sells out. (Tickets are available through the official Web site.)

So if you like shopping and want to support a good cause, the event is kind of a no-brainer. The real question for this season's event is whether to pay for VIP tickets. At $100 a pop, they add a significant fee to an already expensive shopping spree. What do you get for the extra $60? A special hour -- from 6 to 7 p.m. -- to browse the racks before the show officially starts while Thievery Corporation's Eric Hilton spins. Since only 100 VIP tickets are available, this might be worth it for the savvy (or ruthless) shopper. She can snap up bargains before the general public even gets in the door.

You also get a t-shirt and a "couture goodie bag." I was skeptical about the goodie bag, but spokeswoman Barbara Martin tells me, "What we're not doing is filling it up with crappy catalogs." It'll be stuffed with accessories, cosmetics and hair care products from places you might actually want freebies from, like Cusp and Graham Webb. The goodie bag samples might be worth the extra cash.


By Julia Beizer  | August 22, 2007; 10:00 AM ET
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What sizes are offered, in both clothing and shoes?

Posted by: c | August 22, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

This isn't your typical sample sale, where all the sizes are in the 0-2 range. Since many of the items are pieces that didn't sell during the past season--not special, model-sized samples--the size ranges are all over the map.

This is not to say that every item will be available in every size. It won't, and if you're an 8, you'll have to shop around for the 8s.

Barbara Martin also tells me that there are more shoe vendors this year than in other years (Shoe Hive, Sassanova, Simply Soles, Zelaya and some at The Purse Store), which makes for a wider selection of shoe sizes.

Posted by: Julia | August 23, 2007 8:25 AM | Report abuse

not to be picky, but doesn't bi-annual imply every 2 years? someone told me it's twice a year, which would make it semi-annual, and the website said there was a spring event so that fits.

i know it's a nit, but when i read this i definitly thought it was an every-2-year event until someone told me i was confused.

Posted by: Lindsey | August 23, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

So, so sorry for the confusion! and other online dictionaries I consulted say that biannual means the same thing as semi-annual, i.e. occurring twice a year, so that's where I got that. But yeah, even says "Make certain that context makes your meaning clear, no matter which word you use; in fact, given the potential for confusion, half-yearly and two-yearly may be better than any of these." So, my bad! Hope you don't hate us too much. In either case, your friend is right. There's one in the spring and one in the fall.

Posted by: Julia | August 23, 2007 8:04 PM | Report abuse

I can't wait for the Sample Sale - my favorite jewelry maven will be there - Queen Bee Designs - - so siked!!!

Posted by: Anna | August 24, 2007 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Hate to clutter the board with such a question, but how does one get in touch with the organizers of the Sample Sale? Their "info" and "maryamons" email addresses are the only information they provide, and the mailbox appears full as emails bounce back.

I bought a VIP ticket for my girlfriend, but didn't realize until after I purchased it that they don't send the tickets in the mail. They do not provide a way to put in someone else's name when completing the purchase (since you have to include the buyer's credit card info) and I will be out of town that day. So I would like to talk to someone about ensuring that she can use the ticket.

Posted by: Arnold | September 4, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Arnold -- shoot me an e-mail at julia (dot) beizer (at) and I'll put you in touch with someone.

Posted by: Julia | September 5, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

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