Okay, this might sound a little weird, but I’ve been singing M.C. Hammer’s song “Can’t Touch This” in my head all week as I admonish myself to be vigilant during the Black Friday furor. Whenever I see a tempting sweater or coat in a Black Friday Sale email, I’ve been humming a bit of the melody of Hammer’s song in my head, and saying: “Nope. Don’t need that.”
I know! Where the heck did that come from?
Let me explain. Back in 2020 when schools were closed and we were all social distancing and staying at home, my former colleagues at John McCrae Secondary School made a video, based on M.C. Hammer’s song “Can’t Touch This.” With teachers and staff lip-synching the words to the song and dancing, it was intended to cheer up the school community. Staff danced in their own homes, on their decks, in the woods, with their kids, and even with their pets. I remember grinning as I watched it. I still smile when I think of it. Which I have been this week.
Ever since I saw a Tik Tok post from Allison Bornstein. A kind of Black Friday support for her followers, and for herself too she admits, in which she says, “I have something to tell you. You don’t need to buy that. Whatever you just frantically added to your cart, whatever you just swiped up on, I promise you, you don’t need it.”
Thank you Allison for that timely reminder that we do not need to succumb to the buy, buy, buy pressure during the Black Friday frenzy. When we’re bombarded with images of cosy sweaters and beautiful coats at “a fraction of the regular price,” we should tell ourselves we don’t need that. Whatever “that” is. Because we probably don’t.
All week, every time I saw an email from some brand, or a blogger, or a newsletter to which I subscribe touting Black Friday finds, I sang in my head… “Nope. Don’t need that.”
I am a sucker for a cosy sweater: chunky wool or cashmere crew-neck sweaters or turtlenecks or even mock-neck sweaters. And when I see one I love in a store or online, I am always tempted. I was tempted this week by an email from Aritzia about their Black Friday Sale. In particular, by this blue, chunky wool sweater with a quarter zip and lots of gorgeous cabling. I mean, I don’t have a sweater in that particular colour, or style. And wouldn’t it be great with a tee shirt underneath, and my jeans and boots?
But, I asked myself, “Do I need a new sweater?”
“Nope. Don’t need that,” I sang.
Besides, I have a lovely chunky blue sweater that I bought in Fredericton last year, and wrote about in this post. And lots of other sweaters that I need to wear more often. I sensed a closet rummage coming on.
So yesterday I dug through my storage drawers, and my one and only sweater drawer, and reorganized, pulling out sweaters which have not been worn enough in the last two years. Including the cream wool, mock-neck sweater I’m wearing in the photos. I bought this sweater from Gap in 2014. So it owes me nothing. It has come close to going in my yearly closet edit a couple of times. But it’s such a timeless style and such a neutral shade, I always pull it out of the consign/donate pile at the last minute. And now that I have white hair, I like the cream colour on me even more than I did before.
I also rescued from the storage drawer a purple, hand-knit sweater I made back in the nineties and which I had completely forgotten about until I unearthed it from a storage trunk a few years ago. I love this sweater; it took me forever to finish knitting back in the day. I wore it to our virtual pub night back in 2021. That was a fun night, even if it was fictitious. But I guess I’d better start wearing my sweater for real before it goes out of style. Again. Ha.
I had to make some decisions during my reorganization. My closet and drawer space is very limited. So I packed away the rest of my spring-summer sweaters that I’d hoped to wear before the snow flies, and all but two of my short-sleeved tee shirts to make room for the “new arrivals.” I folded all my heavy sweaters like Emma Hill does so they now stand vertically in the drawer and I can see them more easily when I am deciding what to wear. I hang my light cashmere sweaters in my closet. I know we’re not supposed to hang sweaters, but they are so light they don’t stretch, and they also don’t wrinkle like they do when folded in a drawer.
It seems that Black Friday frenzy and my attempts to resist the temptation of shopping almost always result in a closet rummage. I come away from a closet reorganization, even a partial one like the one I did yesterday, with a renewed appreciation for the pieces I already own, a resolution to do them justice by wearing them more frequently. And a strengthened determination not to shop.
I kind of chuckled earlier this week when a style newsletter to which I subscribe purported to talk about the use of “restraint” in coping with the onslaught of ads during Black Friday season. The article went on to describe what the author had purchased, the great deals she found, and the wonderful pieces she’d added to her wardrobe. So many pieces. Seriously, this woman needed to apply Allison Bornstein’s “Seven Questions To Ask Yourself When You Are Shopping.” And follow Allison’s advice in waiting at least 24 hours before purchasing. I mean, even if a black sweater is amazing, even if the sale price is great… how many black sweaters can one woman wear? I think that the word “restraint” must mean different things to different people.
I should say that I am rarely tempted by price alone. The frantic, hyperbolic nature of sales often leaves me cold. I have succumbed to pieces in the Nordstrom Anniversary sale in the past, but usually only when my friend Liz, who worked there, spied something I might like. And the pieces I bought were always marked way down and always filled a niche in my closet. I’m thinking of my burgundy Paul Greene loafers here.
I’m not saying that I am immune to temptation. Not at all. My green Max Mara coat, bought as an impulsive splurge last fall, is testament to that. But, you know, I have not for a moment regretted that purchase. Quite the contrary. I love that darned coat, and couldn’t wait to haul it out of the closet this year.
When the Black Friday emails were coming thick and fast this past week, I checked out my usual brands to see if my “closet basics” were on sale. Short-sleeved tees at Everlane and Vince, crew-neck cashmere at Everlane and Uniqlo, and sweatshirts at Uniqlo and Artizia. But the colours and prices did not tempt me. And I decided that I didn’t really need a new sweatshirt, or a new cashmere crew sweater, or even new tee shirts.
Then I was sidetracked by that blue, quarter-zip sweater at Aritzia. It was only marked down by 10%, not much of a saving. And as I said above… I really don’t need a new sweater. I’m glad that I resisted that purchase. If I check back in a few days, I’m sure the colour or my size will be sold out, and the temptation will be no more.
But, if the price is cut even more, and my size is available, and I’m still dreaming of possible outfit combinations… well… I guess I’ll have to gird my loins and make a decision. Ha. I love that expression. Reminds me of that scene in The Devil Wears Prada, when Miranda’s imminent arrival prompts Nigel (Stanley Tucci) to shout, “Alright everyone, gird your loins.”
In her Tik Tok video, Allison goes on the share her seven shopping questions you should ask yourself before you buy. I’ve been a fan of Allison’s closet editing methods, and the personal style wisdom she imparts for years. Especially the idea that one must always having a wish list. I’m a big fan of lists. You can watch Allison’s video here.
After my closet rummage and the taking of photos yesterday, I headed out for my walk. This is what I wore, above. The cold crisp air and sunshine were so rejuvenating. I’m not yet walking as far nor as fast as I usually do. But even a half hour walk does wonders for my mood.
I’m three weeks into my Covid journey and not feeling anywhere close to normal. But as I said in an IG post last week. Feeling not terrible feels great… by comparison.
So how about you my friends? Do you have a Black Friday strategy? Do you love the excitement and hype of a big sale? Do you judiciously shop around for deals? Or do you simply ignore the whole thing.
P.S. Hubby just yelled to me that an American news channel said this year’s Black Friday sales numbers in the States set a record. Hmm. Wonder what that’s all about.