If you like shopping, if you are always looking for the next little boutique so you can have some interesting pieces to add to your wardrobe, let me tell you ladies: go. To quote Nike, Just do it.
I went with my friend V. Here's the summary of our night:
Lines & crowds: doors opened at 5 pm. We got there a few minutes after 5 to find a line half-way around the block - pretty scary. But they were well organized and the line moved very quicky - by about 5.30 we were in. The personnel was there to answer questions and give directions and they were polite and friendly(with one exception: yes, I'm talking about you, "security guy" on the 7th floor, Mr. "in a straight line ladies!" - I don't care about your straight line, I am NOT standing by the garbage!!)
Attire: Most of the girls were wearing feminine but casual outfits, like jeans and wedges, sleaveless dresses and so on, with a few erring on the overdressed/underdressed side. I was in wearing dark wash jeans, a black satin top and black wedges, accessorized with bangles and my beloved charm necklace. I felt like I was dressed just right - but I should have probably done what V. did and worn flats (learn from my mistakes!).
Cocktails/drinks: Beer, virgin mojitos (from Bacardi, go figure), Borba skin balance water, red and white wine, margaritas, French martinis.
All cocktails were made with Chambord, which is a black raspberry liqueur, so they tasted a bit different from the usual, but good.
All wine was from a company called Little Black Dress Wine - the bottles are pretty, but I had some of their Pinot Grigio and I was not at all impressed. It tasted more of less like the white wine I use for cooking (which is less than 4 dollars a bottle).
The Bacardi Mojito sounded good, but it was virgin as far as we could tell and very sweet, without any detectable minty taste - it kind of resembled Sprite, to be honest. We discarded ours after 2 sips.
Merchandise and discounts: Some very cheesy, cheap-looking jewellery, accessories and synthetic clothing, BUT also lots of very cute, very interesting merchandise, from several new boutiques/designers. A few highlights:
- Taylor Hayden: totes, clutches and makeup bags in different sizes, made of cotton with beautiful vintage prints. V. and I kept oohing and aahing at all the lovely totes and the bow clutches they had there. And I was happy to find a makeup bag with a lovely Amy Butler print. Very well made - I was impressed. Something cool: they have a "design your bag" service where you can pick the shape and fabric(s) and they'll make it exactly as you request.
- Fused Glass and Leather Bracelets by Fusing Colors: very unusual, a bohemian accessory with a rock n' roll vibe. Really cool.
- Mode Accessories: oh, I think I spend the longest time in front of this booth. Great bangles of many colors, shapes and styles, and some really nice bags. I totally fell in love with the Bee Bag! And I don't even like yellow!
- Accessories and Beyond: The charm necklaces with a suede strap inside the chain are really nice and can be worn as bracelets, too. I also love the charm bangles - they look MUCH nicer than you can see from the photos and they have them in several colors - perfect for accessorizing a simple outfit.
- bags and clutches by Nikita Lynn Designs: OMG, these were fabulous. The detail and fabric were fantastic. The clutches were so delicious, I wish I could have gotten one of each. She had several pieces there that are not yet on her website - but photos simply would not do these bags justice, you have to go check out her boutique!
The discounts varied, but overall this is a great night for shopping. For instance the charm bangles from Accesories and Beyond were being sold for about 50 dollars, but their actual price is $135. The bee bag from Mode Accessories was being sold for $85 and was then lowered even more, to $55, on Friday - but the actual price of the bag is $135 (but if you hurry up and go to the website, you can still get it for the discounted price - or you can get ME one, to thank me for the detailed review). These are just examples - a lot of merchandise was offered at much lower prices than usual. Next year I'll save my summer shopping for my Shecky's Girls Night Out!
Other complimentary services/items: manicures, makeup and hair styling were available, but the waiting list was miles long. There was a Nintendo DS corner where you could play for free and admire some new DS with a blinged-up cover. We also got a cute pink Nintendo DS compact mirror.
Gift bags: The gift bags were a major disappointment. See the contents below and tell me if I'm being picky:
Hair products: a can of Redken Fabricate 03 heat-active texturizer, a tube of Redken Satinwear 02 blow-dry lotion (sample size), a can of Göt 2b Smooth Operator (sample size), a jar of Alagio Trend Starter twisting paste.
Cosmetics: Bioré blemish fighting ice cleanser (sample size), Avené soothing moisture mark (sample size), Roc daily microdarmabrasion cleansing disk (1), Couvrance foundation.
Personal hygiene: Intuition shaver, Dove beauty body (sample size), Dove body mist (sample size), Aquafresh White Trays, DentaBurst freshening teeth cleaners, a full-size tube of Colgate toothpaste in MaxFresh Burst.
Other: 2 packets of Boost immune booster (sweetened with sucralose - stick with Emergen-C!), black Shine To Go shoe polisher (2), a booklet of Chambord cocktail recipes, Shecky's NYC Beauty Map and NYC Fashion Map (the maps are actually pretty cool).
But this I have to say: Hey Shecky's, what's with all the practical stuff in my gift bag? I can walk into a Target and get myself some shoe polish and Colgate toothpaste if I'm so inclined, you know? (I'm not because I despise Colgate, but either way...) Do you call this a deluxe gift bag? I know you know it's not - because I saw the merchandise you had at the Night Out and I subscribe to your newsletters, so I know you have higher standards than that. How about getting rid of all the stuff we may get while grocery shopping and instead include some fun stuff, like more makeup? If only you had included some mascara and/or a cool eyeshadow I would have already been much happier!
Also, considering how most companies are making an effort to include more eco-friendly practices in their business, I would have liked to see canvas totes instead of synthetic ones, but that's just me.
In short - was it worth the price of the ticket? Well, I paid $ 15 because I caught the advance purchase offer of 2 for 1, so yes. Considering the great boutiques featured and the special prices, definitely. But if I had paid 30 dollars mainly for the gift bag, I would be very, very annoyed.
Just as a note: it's not as posh as they make it sound. It's pretty crowded, it's very hot and the cocktails are served in small plastic cups, and I wish they'd been more selective with some of the jewellery, which resembled stuff I saw at my daughter's school Holiday Market.
That said, it was still fun. And if you are ready for it and don't make big purchases before going you'll be able to do your big (and some small) purchases there, often at a fraction of the price. So yes, I would go again!