What Did Jenna Lyons Sell at Her Stoop Sale?

On the third floor of a building in SoHo, Jenna Lyons sat frantically scrubbing a pair of Lanvin shoes.

“This has been a long time coming,” said the 55-year-old former J. Crew president and “Real Housewives of New York City” star. “Every time I would buy something, I would realize that there was no place for it.”

So she did what many New Yorkers in this situation would do: host a stoop sale.

“When I moved to Brooklyn, that was the first time I’d ever seen a stoop sale. I thought it was so cute. People would just sit outside and watch people come by and haggle — I hope people don’t haggle me today,” said Ms. Lyons, who is originally from California.

The event ended up being a much larger, more stressful production than a typical New York stoop sale — and it didn’t take place on a stoop. Ms. Lyons had to institute a cover charge to help manage the crowd, and a “Real Housewives” film crew was present asking visitors to sign waivers. At first, Ms. Lyons said she pushed back against the filming — “I was like ‘please no, I just want to have a sale.’”

Up until a few minutes before it started, Ms. Lyons was pricing final items with her team buzzing around, putting up printed images of her wearing some of the items.

“It’s L-O-U, I should know that,” she said, writing out a tag in red Sharpie for a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes.

Meanwhile, the line outside continued to grow, wrapping around the block — over 300 people attended in the end, a representative for Ms. Lyons wrote over email. (Ms. Lyons’s neighbor, the artist Joan Jonas, got early access, looking through the racks before the crowds entered.)

“I love that she’s like masculine-feminine, but makes it sexy,” said Zanni Baas, a 32-year-old jewelry designer who waited in line with her newly adopted black Chihuahua named Gomez.

It’s the golden age of the celebrity closet sale, and Ms. Lyons’s event is just the latest in a recent series of high-profile wardrobe purges. In May, Ivy Getty, the oil heiress, sold several of her worn (and some unworn) articles of clothing at a showroom in Brooklyn. The actress Chloë Sevigny opened up her closet to shoppers last spring, which also resulted in hordes of hopeful buyers lining up. And last summer, Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon held a closet sale in Los Angeles.

Last week, Ms. Lyons — who has over 800,000 followers on Instagram — announced her sale on the platform with a post that received over 1,000 comments and nearly 30,000 likes. She then posted again this week to announce extended hours, the $15 cover charge that would be applied toward purchases and that 50 percent of the proceeds would be donated to Planned Parenthood. Some commenters were angry: “A cover charge?? For a street sale??” one user posted. But others expressed excitement, inquiring about her clothing size.

Ms. Lyons later responded with a video of herself posted to her Instagram story. “First of all, 50 percent of the proceeds are going to charity and the other 50 percent are paying all the people who are working on this and going to fund my teeth, which I had to pay for out of pocket,” she said. In the past, Ms. Lyons has been vocal about her genetic disorder, incontinentia pigmenti, and that she’s had to get fake teeth as a result.

Hundreds of apparel items were arranged inside, with prices ranging from completely free to hundreds of dollars. Among the articles were a Celine tunic for $400, a pink Miu Miu jacket for $250, Jimmy Choo shoes for $20, a Simone Rocha dress for $650 and a Gucci sweater for $45. There was a rack dedicated to blazers, of which there were over two dozen, and naturally, there were plenty of J. Crew pieces — including a one-of-a-kind jacket made with real gold bullion and crystals priced at $100. “Honestly, the pricing in here makes zero sense,” Ms. Lyons joked.

Wearing Carhartt pants and white Prada shoes, she pointed out the items in the sale that were attached to big moments in her life. A sequined top she sported to meet Kate Middleton, a J. Crew Collection piece she wore to Michelle Obama’s 50th birthday party, a Marc Jacobs skirt she donned on her wedding night and the first Marc Jacobs handbag she owned. “It was the first thing I bought with the very first bonus I got.”

Ms. Lyons seemed fairly calm letting go of so many sentimental items, but there was one she removed from the sale racks at the last minute: a hot pink Schiaparelli skirt she wore to her first Met Gala.

Many people in line were fans of Ms. Lyons pre-“Real Housewives” fame, including Karen Revis, a 62-year-old artist, and Monifa Hunt, a 50-year-old baker. They had watched Ms. Lyons’s other reality show, “Stylish With Jenna Lyons.” When asked what she hoped to find at the sale, Ms. Revis said, “Her.” She continued, jokingly, “If you hear kicking and screaming inside, that’s us!”

Sara Ruble and Janna Hagey, both 30, met while being among the first people in line. Ms. Hagey, who works in marketing, arrived hours before the sale opened at 2 p.m. even though it was a work day. (“I work remote,” she explained.) She’d just gotten engaged, so she was looking for something to wear on her wedding day.

Once inside, Ms. Ruble, a nurse, said that she got a hug from Ms. Lyons, in addition to Tory Burch sweats, a J. Crew skirt, Nike tennis shoes, a clutch and more. Ms. Hagey’s haul included a Balenciaga bag, a Saint Laurent button up and Manolo Blahniks.

“It was also so cool because I got a new friend out of it,” Ms. Ruble said, referring to Ms. Hagey. “Best day.”

For Ms. Lyons, apart from clearing up space (mentally and physically), there was also a more existential reason for having the sale.

“My mom passed away last year, and she cleaned out her house, and it was actually really nice for me and my brother,” she said. “I was like, no one wants to deal with this. Who knows, I could die tomorrow!”

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