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Simon Says

Warehouse of style: With creative director Simon Doonan as a guide to the annual sale extravaganza, any shopper can find gems amid Barneys' rubble.

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It's time for the one fashion event no shopaholic can resist: the Barneys Warehouse Sale. In a few months, the space it occupies will be turned into a downtown branch of the store's Co-op department (don't worry -- there will still be warehouse sales). But for now, the old haunt is charmingly scruffy as ever, and it's where we've met Simon Doonan (the hand behind Barneys's famously stylish windows) to get the skinny on the best items for guys. "It's a great place for women to meet straight men," Doonan confides as his terrier, Liberace, leads us downstairs to sniff out the spiffiest suits. "These men are young, they're respectable, and" -- he says knowingly -- "they're buying business attire."

Doonan heads straight for the classics: "We're the absolute authority on men's suits, shirts, and ties," he reminds us. "We've been in this business for 80 years." He pauses at a rack of coats: "Sheepskin. Yum!" (a Barneys New York shearling jacket, was $995, now $395). "Camel hair, from one of the most important tailors on Savile Row" (a Huntsman coat, was $1,295, now $499). Among the suits, he spots "a lovely pinstripe from a very major Italian maker" (a Piatelli suit, was $1,350, now $399) and an Armani tuxedo for $499 (was $1,550). "What's your opinion, Liberace?" Doonan asks, pulling it off the rack. "You have to tell us what you think, you little ham!" He also points out loads of sleek ties (average price, $34) and shirts (average $49) -- all at half the original prices.

Lurking alongside those treasures are the lesser items that have made most of us overspend wildly at sales past. "Just keep your head, be vigorous, and don't be shy -- try things on," insists Doonan, who believes that anyone can learn to navigate the sale successfully. As for the lack of changing facilities: Plan ahead. "Wear gym attire -- or those Chippendale's pants that tear off," he recommends. "Just don't look too schlumpy -- with all those hot chicks walking by, you might meet your life mate."

Barneys New York Warehouse, 255 W. 17th St. (212-450-8400); A.E., M.C., V., checks; Thurs.-Fri. 8-9; 2/17-2/18. Mon.-Fri. 10-9, Sat.-Sun. 10-7; 2/19-3/5.

Picks of the Week

Red Tape by Rebecca Danenberg's trendy, downtown-style winter staples are 75 percent off at the sale. Wool pants are $34, jersey tanks are $30, and mohair sweaters are $63-$75. The resort collection is half off. 333 E. 9th St. (212-529-8483); A.E., M.C., V.; Mon.-Sun. noon-8; 2/15-2/28.

The Gown Company has eveningwear and bridal gowns by Carolina Herrera, Helen Morley, Cynthia C. & Co., and others at up to 80 percent off, from $500 to $1,300; Sizes 2-12. Lombardy Hotel, 109 E. 56th St. (for information, call 212-979-9000); A.E., M.C., V.; Wed.-Fri. 10-6:30, Sat. 10-5; 2/16-2/19.

Calypso St. Barths's sample sale means bins full of trendy, colorful coats, knits, separates, and swimsuits from designers like Paul & Joe, Miguelina's, and 3 Dots -- with all items priced from $5-$100. 150 Lafayette St., third floor (212-274-0449); A.E., M.C., V.; Thurs.-Sun. 9-7; 2/17-2/20.

ERNY, coat-maker for top European and American designers, is clearing hundreds of fur, shearling, and leather styles at 50 to 75 percent off. Sheared-mink jackets are from $1,000; a fur-lined women's coat is $1,200; a reversible men's shearling is $2,000. 223 W. 29th St. (212-244-2990); cash only; Mon.-Sat. 10-6, Sun. noon-5; 2/14-2/25.

Desiron has three shops' worth of sharp, modern metal-and-glass furniture marked down by 40 to 60 percent. Beds start at $600, coffee tables at $215, and accessories (pictured) at $45. 139 W. 22nd St., ground floor (212-414-4070); A.E., M.C., V., checks; Tues.- Sun. noon-7; 2/15-2/20.


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