Now that Internet shopping rules, the department store has become a relic of days past. But that doesn’t mean we don’t take cues from our retail ancestors. Quite the contrary, in fact. Today marks our incredibly, massively huge White Sale – a term I was previously unfamiliar with (“but there are colorful sheets in here!”). After a little digging, I discovered the origins of this home goods extravaganza – and the reason behind the name.

Conceived by John Wanamaker (of Wanamaker’s – the first department store in Philadelphia) in 1878, the White Sale was initiated to keep shoppers coming through the doors during the slowest sales seasons. How? By providing heavy discounts on bedding and linens (because who doesn’t love a sale?). And thus, the first White Sale was born.

So, where does white come in? At the time, colors and prints were nowhere to be found in bedding. The vibrant linens we know now didn’t become popular until 70 years later, in the 1950s.

Today, White Sales have (thankfully) evolved to include items of every color, not just for the bed but for the bathroom, too. Plush duvets, eye-catching sheets, softer-than-soft towels, and more – they’re all here.

Now that you’re practically a historian yourself, stock up on necessities (and not-so-necessary indulgences) for the bed and bath.

Our (Winter) White Sale Boutique opens Wednesday, November 14, at 3PM ET.

By Anna Kuchinsky, Staff Writer

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November 14, 2012

While your own terms for the perfect comforter – as fluffy as can be – are pretty straightforward, a comforter doesn’t always describe itself so simply. From warmth levels to fill power, use this quick cheat sheet to ensure that you’re investing in the sound-sleep staple that best fits your needs (marathon cuddle fests most certainly included).

Level 1 Warmth: This warmth level is best for late spring through early fall, or if a room’s temperature is kept between 65°F and 69°F.

Level 2 Warmth: Best for fall through spring, or if a room’s temperature is kept between 62°F and 65°F.

Light Warmth: For additional winter warmth, layer this weight atop any heavier comforter. Also great for primary use in late spring through early fall (or if a room’s temperature is kept between 69°F and 72°F).

Fill Power: Fill power is a gauge of down’s warmth. Fill power measures the amount of space an ounce of down takes up, measured in cubic inches. Higher numbers indicate more warmth. Fluffier comforters usually fall somewhere within the 600–800 scale.

Thread Count: The higher a fabric’s thread count is, the lighter the fabric will be. In the case of a comforter, this helps keep it featherlight and fluff-able.

Loft: A fancy word for “puffy.”

Construction: The style in which a comforter is stitched makes all the difference in its fluff factor. A box stitch, for example, is a checkered pattern of stitching (it creates a quilted appearance). By isolating fill into singular boxes, it stays spread out across the comforter (instead of gathering in just one spot).

Now that you know your stuff (ha ha), be sure to check out our Cuddledown Bedding & Loungewear Boutique, opening Wednesday, November 7, at 11AM ET.

By Sarah Stanley, Staff Writer

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November 7, 2012