Shopping Diaries: The Black Friday trap and how I fared

I’ve never been savvy with sales.

I’m nothing like my friend Connie, who seems to buy everything she wants on sale. She keeps an eye out for what she wants, waits for it to go on sale, and makes her purchase then. I was floored when she told me she bought her beautiful Céline bag on sale for $900! She even convinced a sales associate at J.Crew one time to give her an additional discount on a Barbour jacket that wasn’t even part of the sale. She is seriously skilled.

Connie’s method would work on me if I wasn’t so impatient and afraid of missing out. The FOMO is real. Black Friday though is one time of year when I know that stores will definitely go on sale, so there’s no extra work on my part. So if there’s something I want in the Fall, I’m more likely to wait. But shopping Black Friday in person? Forget about it. Online sales are just as good. And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing for the past few years.

My first and last IRL Black Friday shopping

I did take a bus with my friend at 4:30 am one year in high school to go to the King of Prussia mall in Philadelphia. Why? No idea, besides the thrill of it. It was the first and last time I ever “shopped” a Black Friday sale in person. What deal did I get? An ivory short-sleeve turtleneck sweater from Forever 21 that wasn’t even on sale. That’s it. A major fail but even more so because I didn’t even need it and it didn’t even look good! I didn’t want to feel like I was leaving with nothing so I grabbed whatever looked good enough. I tried to make it work but we already know from my mockneck post that I’m not a fan of turtlenecks. It eventually made it into my donation pile and off it went, hopefully to a better home or repurposed into something less confusing.

My Black Friday game plan

I would like to think that I am better about shopping now especially since I wrote my to buy or not to buy post. But I will say thought that the Black Friday trap or illusion of massive savings is still very much alive. This year, I went in with a plan. I knew Reformation was going to have a 30% sale so I made a mental list of things I’ve been wanting.

On my list

-A dressy top for when a sweater is just too casual for a night out
-A dress for an upcoming wedding
-A warm scarf
-A sweatshirt I’ve been eyeing for a month
-A faux fur jacket I’ve been drooling over

I’ve also been searching for a simple, little black bag for a while. I remembered the brand Pop & Suki and checked to see if they were having a sale. And they were, with 30% off! My patience paid off!

I’m definitely not a master sale hunter (yet), but my game plan sort of worked out.

In the end, I bought six things and only kept three. If you’re interested in seeing what I got and why I decided to keep or return each item, keep scrolling.

What I kept, what I returned, and why

#1: Dressy top (Laurent top from Reformation)

I wasn’t sure about this top when I ordered it. I liked the cherry print but wasn’t sure how much wear I would get out of a piece like this. I even planned to return it once it arrived. Then I tried it on, and I was sold. It fit me perfectly. The sleeves had just enough room, the top had elastic tiers so nothing felt tight, and the neckline is so flattering. And the cherry print is even better in person. I found my go-to night out top. It’s not warm though so it definitely requires some layering for NYC winters. I’m wearing an xs. P.S. It also comes in a blush color and a white and black polka dot print.

#2: Dress for an upcoming wedding (Bellflower dress from Reformation)

This dress was almost perfect! If only the chest area didn’t pop out like that. This was such a steal for just over $150 on sale. This could have been my buy now, wear a million times dress. This was the smallest size so I was really disappointed to return it. But if it doesn’t fit, it’s gotta go back.

#3: Warm Scarf (Cusco scarf from Reformation)

I had no idea how soft alpaca is! The problem, it sheds like crazy. It was like I was wearing Esteban (my cat) around my neck. It was so soft and the color was so perfect but because of how much it sheds, I had to return it. I’m still looking for the perfect cozy scarf that will last forever. Suggestions are welcome!

#4: Sweatshirt (no longer available but simple all black version here)

I finally got this because I loved what it said (I went to Mars and all I got was this stupid sweatshirt) and I wasn’t going to pay full price. Also, you can never go wrong with a cropped black sweatshirt. So far no one has commented on what it says, so maybe it’s not as clever as I thought.

#5: Faux Fur Jacket (Teddy Coat from Reformation)

I had to return this. I mean, I look like a fluffy chicken. I had such high hopes for this and have been eyeing it for what feels like two months straight. It’s also too thin to be worn as a coat, it’s definitely more suitable for people who live in California (where the brand is based). I’m still looking for the perfect faux fur jacket. The search continues…

#6: Little black bag (Bigger Camera Bag from Pop & Suki)

This is Pop & Suki’s “bigger” camera bag. I held off on buying from Pop & Suki for a while because the original camera bag is too small to hold all the essentials. So finally when I saw that they came out with a bigger version and they were doing a 30% off sale, I knew the stars were aligned. For what I paid ($157.50 after discount, retail: $225), I’m happy with the minimal design and the size of the bag. I don’t think I would have paid full price, since my budget for a simple black bag was under $200. I also like that the straps are interchangeable, so you can purchase shorter or wider straps for the bag to create a different look. If you’re in the market for something around this price range, there’s also this Cuyana version that’s $150 with pebbled leather, which is less likely to scratch and show signs of wear.

My expectations and results

I expected to get everything I needed. I obviously didn’t, but I suppose this is one on the downsides of online shopping and not feeling or trying things on before buying. I wouldn’t have it any other way though. Being able to try things on in the comfort of my own space is something that will always outweigh the inconveniences of online shopping.

I’m still looking for something to wear to that wedding and I’m still looking for a simple and cozy scarf that won’t shed like crazy. Suggestions are welcome! I’ll also hold off on the faux fur coat, since it’s officially too cold to mess around with outerwear that’s not weatherproof.

What did you buy on Black Friday and why? What did you keep and what did you return?

Thanks for stopping by. See you in my next post!

Sophie 🙂


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