How to survive tomorrow’s Barneys Warehouse Sale

Loub-ing up at the Barneys sale. Photo by Katya Wachtel.

Last winter's sale. Photo by Katya Wachtel.

Warning: this post isn’t for everyone. But if you’re a designer-label obsessive and you still have disposable income (congrats!), get to bed early tonight. Tomorrow, starting at 8 a.m., is the first day of the biannual Barneys Warehouse Sale, which is the retail scrum of the year for bargain-loving fashionites, with clothing, shoes, accessories and housewares marked 50 to 75 percent off.

Bargains being a relative term, of course. Last year, on a magazine mission to find Christian Louboutins at the sale, I scouted a pair of red patent ankle-strap stilettos for $310 (originally $780), white patent wedges for $260 ($625), and camel slingbacks for $230 ($625). And so on. There were also loads of Miu Miu, Prada, Lanvin and YSL shoes, also for less than half the original prices.

For those who can swing it this year, my best advice is to get there early. Last year, I arrived at 7:26 and was 79th in line. The first person turned up at 6 a.m. Most everyone made a b-line for the shoes, and veterans wore flip-flops and carried backpacks so as not to worry about their purses.

Other tips: If you plan to try on clothing, wear underwear that’s fit for public viewing. Ask yourself: Am I okay to appear on the Internet like this? Hardcore combatants strip in the aisles, and you never know who has a cellphone camera. Also, don’t bring babies. They won’t enjoy it, and you might lose them.

With the luxury market in the crapper, it’s a good bet that the pickings will be pretty good tomorrow, but you never know until the doors open, especially since Barneys started doing a warehouse sale in San Francisco this year, and they got first crack. (Fortunately, the Los Angeles sale is after New York’s.) Racked usually has good sale coverage, so if you can’t make the opening bell, try checking their site by mid-morning. Good luck.

Barneys New York Warehouse Sale, 255 W. 17th St. between Seventh and Eight Avenues, 212-450-8400. Thursday, August 20, through Monday, September. Tomorrow and Friday, August 21, 8 a.m. to 9 pm. Weekdays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.. Weekends, 10 am. to 7 p.m. Monday, September 7, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.