May 14 2013 Update: The Wish Collection has relocated to a different state, so the Sample Sales are no longer available in Birmingham at this time.
I love you guys, because you are the best Life Informants that a girl could wish for.
Anytime I have a question, at least a dozen of you have an answer. Anytime something awesome is happening, at least one of you tells me about it.
So today, I’m returning the favor and passing on my latest find from y’all to y’all.
Taren, one of my long-time blog readers, told me about a sample sale at the company she works for, The Wish Collection. I had never heard of the company before and had also heard no other buzz about the sale except from her, so I wasn’t sure what I would find. The Wish Collection doesn’t have a storefront – they have their warehouse here in Birmingham, but sell their clothes to boutiques all over the country (as well as online.)
It just so happened that the sale fell on a Saturday that Chris and my Dad were taking the kids to a race anyway, and I had shopping money that Chris had given me for our anniversary, so it was the perfect opportunity to find myself blissfully neck-deep amongst beautiful clothing.
It took me a couple of trips around the block to find the correct nearly-unmarked warehouse,
but when I got in, I was stunned.
I felt like I had discovered the Best Secret in Birmingham. The prints were fantastic (and I’m extremely picky about prints,) the fabrics were luxurious, and they had racks and racks of extraordinarily discounted dresses, tops, camisoles, belts, and leggings.
I immediately went into What Not To Wear mode, pairing up “pops of color” with dresses and shirts. By the time I finished, I had bought five dresses, six shirts, four belts, and four camisoles for a grand total of $259.
Beat that, Stacy and Clinton.
So I decided to share the Best Secret in Birmingham with you (of my own volition – I was not asked nor paid to blog about this) so that if you’re local, you can participate (they have regular sample sales every Tuesday from 10-4 and other special sales as well – you can add yourself to their email list here.)
Or if you’re not local, this post will just go to show you one more reason why you should be living in Birmingham.
(Or at least vacation here.)
My standby photographer, Mary Jo, came over to my house to help me document my finds.
But first, a disclaimer: this post is out of my normal comfort zone, as I rarely blog about style (except for dozens of photos of my butt, which totally doesn’t count.) So if you start to think, “Dang she’s narcisstic!!” after viewing the 20th picture of me, just know that I thought the same thing, as I awkwardly tried to pose twenty different ways without looking like a complete cheeseball.
My favorite shirt purchase is an oversized striped sheer shirt. I’ve found that when doing oversized shirts, a dropped hem in the back makes for a much better profile and slims the oversizedness.
I had been looking for a good use for a black and silver chain necklace I’d gotten from Express a while back, and it worked great to offset the extreme color in this shirt.
It was also fun to wear this shirt with a bright pair of turquoise shorts.
After we finished photographing all of the outfits, Mary Jo and I put together “Fashion Boards” to show the elements paired for each outfit. But being the amateur fashion blogger that I am, I totally forgot to put a shoe on this one (no worries – the same shoe will show up later.)
Shirt: Wish Collection, $20 at sample sale; Jeans: Red Engine Burner Jeans, normally $168, currently $19.95 through Vault Denim; Shorts: Emerson Edwards, normally $68, currently $27.50 through Vault Denim (but super hard to find because everyone wanted them including me); Bracelets: Gift from a friend; Earring (I lost one during all my changing): who knows; Necklace: Express, $26.90; Shoes: Sbicca Kelli from Zulily, $39 – see? I do find use for Zulily other than just blog fodder.
My favorite dress was this knee-length teal and navy chevron-inspired print:
I paired it with a lighter belt to give it a subtle pop of color, and still wore my favorite new wedge heels. The jewelry all came from Charming Charlie, my favorite place for necklaces-that-look-good-but-are-cheap-enough-that-I-don’t-freak-out-if-Noah-yanks-it-off-my-neck.
Dress: The Wish Collection, $25 at sample sale; Shoes: Sbicca Kelli from Zulily, $39; Belt: The Wish Collection, $12 at sample sale; Jewelry: Charming Charlie, about $18.
Although the mustard shade in this next dress is not a shade I would normally gravitate toward, the red belt I found in the super-clearance box really made it special.
Then when I got home and paired it with a thick beaded necklace that had never quite looked right with anything else, I adored it, proving that accessories really do make all the difference.
Dress: The Wish Collection, $25 at sample sale; Belt: The Wish Collection, $8 at sample sale; Necklace: Dress Barn, ~ $25; Earrings: Givenchy (my favorite jewelry splurge when they go on sale), ~ $20, Shoes: Rack Room Shoes X Appeal Scout, $39.
I found a shimmering lace dress that I adored, but feared I’d rarely have anywhere formal enough to wear it. In the attempt to make it more casual, I found a skinny leopard print belt – a print I’d usually avoid, but loved it in this tiny amount.
I’m still not sure if it’s casual enough for church or a date (what do you think?), but I plan on finding a use for it soon.
Dress: The Wish Collection, $25 at sample sale; Belt: The Wish Collection, $7 at sample sale; Necklace: a headband from Altar’d State; $14; Earrings: Givenchy, ~ $30; Shoes: Rack Room Shoes X Appeal Scout, $39.
I love a good flowy shirt, but sometimes feel pregnant when wearing them (especially since that’s pretty much all I wore when carrying Noah.) However, putting a belt with these made me feel less maternal and more put together.
Although these two shirts were similar in style, I bought them both because I couldn’t decide which I liked better.
Here’s Shirt One’s pairings:
Shirt: The Wish Collection, $12 at sample sale, Jeans: Express ReRock, $98 but I’m sure I got them on sale; Belt: The Wish Collection, $12 at sample sale; Shoes: Franco Sarto Ambrosia Wedge Sandal, $37; Bracelets: Gift from a friend; Earrings: Givenchy, ~ $30.
And here’s Shirt Two:
Shirt: The Wish Collection, $12 at sample sale, Jeans: Express ReRock, $98 but I’m sure I got them on sale; Belt: The Wish Collection, $8 at sample sale; Shoes: Franco Sarto Ambrosia Wedge Sandal, $37; Necklace: headband from Altar’d State, $14; Earrings: Charming Charlie, ~ $10
The most dramatic shirt that I bought was this ultra dropped-hem colorblocked shirt. It was a stretch for me (as were the turns that Mary Jo made me make in order to catch the shirt in movement), but it is an extremely fun find.
What??? Turning on uneven grass in high wedge sandals takes talent! That I clearly don’t have.
Shirt: The Wish Collection, $20 at sample sale; Camisole: The Wish Collection, $5 at sample sale; Shoes: Sbicca Kelli from Zulily, $39; Jewelry: Charming Charlie, ~ $18; Jeans: Red Engine Burner Jeans, normally $168, currently $19.95 through Vault Denim.
Over the past three years, I have really been excited about long dresses coming back, and the print on this one was beautiful. I especially liked pairing it with such a bright belt.
And? It matches my porch furniture.
Dress: The Wish Collection, $25 at sample sale; Belt: The Wish Collection, $8 at sample sale; Necklace: Super Old; Earrings: Givenchy, ~ $30; Shoes: Sbicca Kelli from Zulily, $39.
(Ali was highly amused by all of my running in and out and changing, and since she was so entertained, was amicable to getting a fashionable photo of herself.)
The last dress I bought was an autumn dress, so it was marked down even further. But I loved the colors, and I thought it would be fun to have something brand new waiting for me next fall.
…and that’s probably the last time I wear my boots until I pull that dress out again – thankfully, Spring has finally arrived in Alabama.
Dress: The Wish Collection, $16 at sample sale; Belt: The Wish Collection, $12 at sample sale; Boots: Naturalizer Juletta, ~ $80 on sale at Naturalizer Outlet; Necklace: Charming Charlie, ~ $15; Bracelets: Gift from a friend.
After any great shopping trip, my favorite moment is to come home and tally up the retail vs. sale prices on a beautifully geekified Excel spreadsheet.
Here was the net:
What I spent: $ 259
Retail Price: $1,010
Savings: $ 751
Sale Percent: 74%
Best. Sale. Ever.
Convinced you need to come to Birmingham and shop with me yet? I hope so.
The Wish Collection’s warehouse is located at 1215 2nd Avenue North, and is open for shopping on Tuesdays from 10-4, as well as other special sales. You can like them on Facebook here.
Disclosure: I was not compensated in any way, nor was I asked to write this post. I just like to share good things with you because it makes me happy.