Category5 is a fabulous online fashion experience dedicated to truth in fashion, shopping, and all things style. Lauren is dedicated to giving women all the tools they need to come away with an insightful, honest, and humorous look at where their style truly resides.
By Lauren Deloach, Editor of Category 5
Every year it has become customary that with Thanksgiving comes “the day after Thanksgiving,” or Black Friday. A time where people stand in line for hours on end hoping and waiting to get a $1000 elusive television for $200 (that’s likely only worth $100 when it’s all said and done). Yes, there is no denying that it is one of the biggest non-holiday shopping days of the year. But in the world of style, where we’re talking about building a worthwhile wardrobe, should you really care about Black Friday? Are you really going to snag a $395 Bajra print scarf for $75? The answer: It’s complicated.
The truth is that the overall idea behind Black Friday in the world of style is a bit of a hoax. Most of what you see on sale in the stores was either already on sale, or getting ready to go on sale to make room for holiday collections. Furthermore, and most importantly, the BEST clothing and accessories don’t go on sale nine times out of ten, because the stores aren’t crazy enough to sell you a fabulous RED Valentino Bow Cardigan for cheap, knowing that you’ll likely purchase it for full price when you come in and get last season’s scrapings for nothing. It’s a mind game. You think you scored such a great deal with an additional 25% off the sale price, meanwhile the best of what was in the bunch sold out before Black Friday at retail cost, and retailers are smart enough to know you’re going to think you got SUCH a great deal that you’ll harbor no guilt paying full price for at least a few things.
Now here is where the complication comes in, and strategy if you’re not just getting into the style game. There are a few select top of the line style items that never fully sold out from the previous season, that are truly fabulous, and that will be marked down to nearly nothing. The main thing you must understand is that you have to take advantage of Black Friday online when it comes to wardrobe building, not in the stores, where you don’t have the full picture of what other retailers are offering.
On to the important questions: 1) How do you know which items to watch out for? 2) How do you deal with the limited online availability?
First of all, you have to have been watching these fabulous items for some time now (or begin looking now). I like to refer to it as style-stalking. You need to know the list of what you’ve been obsessed with for the last three months, and watched it closely enough to know how many stores have it available online. This is online shopping at its best. Knowing availability and understanding who has the lowest price, and forcing a store’s hand to lower their price to match another’s if you have a retailer preference (or if one offers free shipping and another doesn’t). As for the second question, limited availability is always a risk you take when you hold out until the end of a season for the best price. You’re rolling the dice, and the truth is that you may win, or you may lose. But strategy comes into play here because while you may see your size gone online, that doesn’t mean it’s not available in the store, and at that same price.
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Here is where you have to flex your muscles. If your size is gone, you don’t call up your local store and ask them to locate the piece in question for you. They either flat out won’t do it, or they’ll wait until they’re free, which is NEVER because it’s Black Friday. So time is ticking and that dress is slipping away from you. What do you do? You call online customer service, and ask them to do a search and tell you if any stores have your size. Get your list, and start making calls. The muscle flexing: The store associates will claim “We don’t have it.” “I don’t see it.” “Our system may not have updated.” Don’t believe them! Don’t take no for an answer! I have played this game more times than I can count, and what I’m telling you is that your dress IS in the store and IS available for purchase. Make them look again, and when they locate it (which they will), don’t gloat. Simply ask them to waive the shipping if it isn’t already free, pay for your fabulous item, and get back to resting peacefully in your pajamas while everyone else is shopping in pure bewilderment at the stores.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.