By Tara Kyle
CHELSEA — It was 6:30 a.m. Thursday when the first customer for Barneys’ semi-annual warehouse sale stepped into line at the 255 West 17th Street entrance.
By the time the sale began at 8 a.m., the line stretched nearly to the corner at 7th Avenue.
“It’s a classic New York experience,” said Rachel François, a 25-year-old Harlem resident. “We need to get to the shoes.”
Barneys' warehouse sale runs until Sept. 6 this year. As the days go by, prices tend to drop, but so does selection.
Some shoppers came armed with a careful strategy.
“Show up at the beginning and don’t bring a bag. Know what you want, know the designers you are looking for,” said Jeffrey Erb, 25, who hoped to find a fall jacket, “something nice and trim and tailored — something you’re not going to find at Bloomingdale’s.”
Other shoppers made sure that what they were wearing would help ease the process of trying on new clothes.
“I have a tank top so I can flip down, a skirt so I can flip up, flip flops so I can try on shoes and a fanny pack so I have hands free,” said Ashley Mash, 21, student from Great Neck.
Inside, crowds swarmed cramped aisles of shoes and attire, amid signage telling shoppers, “Nobody likes a slob — buy more!”
“It’s clear what they bought too much of,” said Daniel Dugoff, a 21-year-old intern from Chelsea. “I saw 40 pairs of Rogan khaki pants in size 32.”
DuGoff’s friend, Rebecca Rubin, said she saw 12 pairs of python print leggings.
The warehouse’s layout — and specifically the lack of a changing room — creates extra challenges, especially for pants.
“You will see people changing in the crevices of the store,” said Shaun Watson, a 31-year-old CPA from Stuyvesant Town.
Many shoppers who left empty-handed said they planned to come back later, after prices fall. A few, however, left frustrated.
“There were so many things that were more expensive here than at the final markdown in the regular store,” said West Village resident David Del Sol, 22, who paid $120 for a Thom Browne dress shirt.
However, Maryann Jacob, who works for a literary organization, walked out of the warehouse doors happily with a pair of Chanel peep-toe pumps bought for 50 percent off of about $800.
“I love luxury shoes, but I won’t pay full price,” Jacob said. “This is about as sensible as it gets.”