How to score big on Black Friday

To avoid the mess, know exactly what you want to buy and go for it!

To avoid the mess, know exactly what you want to buy and go for it!

It’s almost here…Black Friday! Most shoppers immediately think of toys and televisions; however, taking advantage of the clothing store deals during Black Friday can boost your winter wardrobe at a fraction of the price. Some of the best items to buy during Black Friday include: sweaters, vests, coats and outerwear, blanket scarves, athletic wear, watches, accessories, and intimates. Nevertheless, when battling crowds and a ticking time clock, you must be prepared ahead of time and ready to focus. Read on for a few tips on how to survive (and successfully stock your wardrobe) during the shopping holiday.

Develop a Game Plan:

Use the circulars and pre-promotions to your advantage, keeping in mind that mid-tier to high-end clothing stores typically boast the biggest sales during Black Friday (Hint: this trick doesn’t work if you wait until Thanksgiving evening to leisurely flip though the circulars). You’ll need to start at least a week ahead by scouring the internet for ads, making phone calls to the stores to confirm sale details, and doing a quick pre-shopping trial run days before the actual sale. For example, if your favorite athletic-wear store is advertising 50% off particular running jacket for Black Friday, go a few days ahead to try on the piece, find your exact size and color preference. Select a second choice color in case your favorite hue sells out. Also, decide if you could live with a slightly different size, or if it’s a deal-breaker all together.

Wear the Right Gear:

Imagine the following scenario: Its 1:00 am on Black Friday, and you’re standing blurry-eyed at a sale rack filled with button-up cardigans. You choose a few colors in your size, then turn around and find a line that’s 15-people deep, snaking around the middle of the store to the dressing room. At that moment, you’ll be so glad you wore a camisole underneath your sweatshirt. It’s a huge timesaver! Just find a column mirror, throw the cardigans on, and instantly save yourself 45 minutes.

Dressing for comfort is the key to surviving the mad rush of holiday shopping. Forget the jeans, boots, heels, or anything with buttons or zippers. Even tights waste too much precious time. Think simple: leggings or yoga pants, a camisole, an oversized sweater, and slip-on flat shoes. Bring a big crossbody purse, or even better, a petite backpack (it’s essential that you can use both arms and hands at all times during your shopping trip). You will want the bag to be big enough to hold snacks and small purchases, but no so big that it’s cumbersome when you have both arms full of purchases.

Bring a Teammate:

Bringing a dedicated friend (or mother-in-law, or mother, or sister) can make Black Friday shopping instantly more fun! Working as a team, it’s much easier to maneuver packed parking lots (one person parks, and the other jumps out to stand in line) and dressing room edits (if you need another size or color, the other person can pop out and make the exchange without giving up your spot). As an added bonus, you will have plenty of time to catch up while you’re waiting in the checkout lines.

When shopping for your own wardrobe, you will want to bring along someone that has a style opinion that you trust. Before you head out, be sure to share your wardrobe wish list with your shopping buddy (and have them share theirs with you!). Be detailed about exactly what you are looking for (for example, if you are searching for a black pea coat, specify that you’d like it to be black, 100% wool, mid-thigh length, with buttons instead of a zipper). That way when you hit the stores, you will each be able to keep your eyes peeled for exactly what the other one wants.

Return it Later:

The sheer volume of sales and inventory can easily be overwhelming. Although the sales are in a time crunch, chances are the return policy is still 30 days (do some research beforehand to make sure). Then, while you are shopping, only try on items if it’s absolutely necessary. If you can’t quite decide which of the two scarves in your hands would best match the sweater at home, then buy both and return one later (when it’s not 2:00 am on the busiest shopping day of the year).

The parameters of limited time, limited inventory, and limited caffeine-induced energy make Black Friday a unique shopping experience for everyone. Although it may seem like a marathon, remember these tips to help you to have a successful Black Friday shopping experience.

 

Kristin Hauch-Melton

Kristin Hauch-Melton is a writer and communications consultant. She earned a degree in Communications and Business from University of North Florida, serves on the board for the Fayette Chamber of Commerce and lives in Peachtree City with her husband, horse, and dog.

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