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Best Dressed Sale and Boutique

Best Dressed Sale: Thursday, Sept. 30 through Sunday, Oct. 3, Evergreen Carriage House, 4545 N. Charles St. (just north of Cold Spring Lane). Hours: Thurs: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Fri: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sat: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sun: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. MasterCard and Visa accepted.

Sip, See & Shop: Fashion show, light bar, after-hours shopping. $25. Friday, Oct. 1, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Reservations: 410-955-9341;

September Drop-Off Days: Monday, Sept. 20, and Tuesday, Sept. 21, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.


Attention, Shoppers!
Get ready for Baltimore’s shopping affair of the year: the Best Dressed Sale and Boutique

Best Dressed Sale co-chairs Elaine Born, left, and Beth Gaines get a lift on the Carriage House “elevator.”
Join fashionistas in search of bargain-priced Armani. Mothers looking to buy a first tuxedo for a teenage son. Brides-to-be in search of white; BSO musicians buying black. Score a great vintage find—a pretty Pucci peignoir, or a Winona-like antique lace gown.

It’s the Best Dressed Sale and Boutique, set for Thursday, Sept. 30 through Sunday, Oct. 3 at the Evergreen Carriage House in north Baltimore. Planned for the Friday of the sale is an after-hours fashion show and light bar. That evening, you can shop, shop, shop until you drop.

Yes, you could empty your bank account, but consider this: The event is run by the Women’s Board, the 60-member, fund-raising organization that plows all its profits into patient care at Hopkins Hospital. And, all proceeds from the annual, four-day sale will benefit the new Children’s and Maternal Hospital.

The Best Dressed Sale typically nets between $115,000 and $130,000. Part of the secret behind its success is its Carriage House setting. Because it is owned by the University, the Women’s Board can store donations there for months in advance. Donations start coming in as early as March, and by June, about 80 percent of the merchandise is in hand.

Throughout the spring, and again in September on the final drop-off days (see box), garments are sized, ticketed and hangared. They’re stowed up on the second floor, hoisted there on a large wooden platform operated by ropes and pulleys. This arcane contraption was originally used in the late 1800s to move the many carriages of Evergreen owner John Work Garrett from floor to floor. Now, it is a saving grace for Women’s Board members who must work far in advance to organize the thousands of donations they amass.

There are shoes and handbags. There are skirts, suits and pants. Clothes for children, men, evening, sport and resort. Some is even brand new. “Believe it or not,” says Elaine Born, this year’s co-chair, “some people never once wear what they buy.”

Nothing, however, is ever wasted at the Best Dressed Sale. Anything that can’t be sold goes to the Carry On Shop on East Monument Street; leftovers go to charity.

—Anne Bennett Swingle



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