Ah, Black Friday: the holiday that gives us confidence in the American economy and convinces us God wants us to be happy. On Black Friday 2010, Here Comes Gina headed out the Philadelphia Premium Outlets for the annual Midnight Madness shopping chaos, and the evening was one of our most successful Black Fridays to date. Unbelievably, our compatriots Team Le (this year made up of only Trang and Johnny) attempted to back out of this event after Thanksgiving dinner, but some cajoling convinced them otherwise. It was a good thing for HCG that Team Le decided to go to Midnight Madness, as my girl T-Fuzz hooked me up with a VIP shopping booklet offered by the PPO so we ended up saving an additional 10% at J. Crew and Banana Republic! Conveniently, we spent the most money at those two stores.
The weather - which is always a big player in outdoor shopping - on Thanksgiving 2010 was quite cold, and Philadelphia actually saw SNOW in the morning. The snow quickly turned to rain, and we spent most of Thanksgiving hoping the rain would subside before we departed for the outlets. Fortunately, the rain halted in the early evening and sporadically drizzled while we shopped. Our bodies were practically overheating from the excitement of getting such good deals that the mist felt rather nice.
But enough about the weather. In the words of the beloved rapper Notorious B.I.G., gimme the loot! One of my favorite purchases on Black Friday '10, pictured above and below, is this wool military coat with a faux fur collar from J. Crew. Everyone knows I suffer from an outerwear addiction (coats, capes, gillets, cloaks, trenches - you name it, I love it), so it's no surprise I purchased yet another coat this year. As soon as I saw this boxy wool number with its adorable collar and light blue silk lining, I had to have it. The 50% discount was the nail in the coffin. Some photos of me in an abandoned lot trying to look cool in my coat:After I grabbed the coat, I headed for the section in J. Crew where I've made many a purchase of late: jewelry. The jewelry offerings weren't as impressive as in years past, but I managed to pick up two great pieces: a purple chandelier necklace and wide purple pearl bracelet:Most J. Crew devotees own a few of the store's ruffled camisoles, and HCG is no exception. I wear the J. Crew ruffled camis I own so often (usually tucked into high-waisted pencil skirts to work), I knew it would be smart to pick up a black version - wait until you see how cheap it was:As predicted, Joe cleaned up at J. Crew. My man loves flannels! Below, Joe's stack of sweaters and flannels:Full disclosure: the third flannel from the top is actually for me. A wise woman in line with me for the J. Crew dressing room tipped me off to the amazing fit of J. Crew's men's tailored fit flannels. Since I steal Joe's flannels so often, I figured it was worth trying on a smaller size for myself. Eureka! I went home with an XS, and it's so sick - way softer and more relaxed than most women's flannels which fit too tight in the chest area and aren't chill enough.
HCG's J. Crew savings:
- Wool military coat: originally $238, HCG price: $107.11
- Two men's v-neck sweaters: originally $54.50, HCG price $29.43
- Men's lambswool marled shawl: originally $78, HCG price $49.14
- Men's tailored dress pants: originally $89.50, HCG price $48.33
- Three men's tailored flannels: originally $59.50, HCG price: $32.13
- Ruffled camisole: originally $39.99, HCG price $21.59
- Chandelier necklace: originally $79.50, HCG price $42.93
- Awesome bracelet: originally $78, HCG price $42.12
Total amount saved at J. Crew: $432.35
Banana Republic is usually a complete mess on Black Friday, but we arrived so early that we didn't have too many issues. The store didn't publicize an early opening, but when we arrived at 10:30 p.m., the place was already open for business. Although we were led to believe the entire store was only 40% off, we learned upon arrival that the storewide discount was actually 50%! With the extra 10% discount from our PPO VIP booklet, HCG received 60% off all of our purchases. Below, two Banana Republic work dresses that look boring but will hopefully spice up our office wear: Any girl who works in corporate America knows a few solid work dresses go a long way. The black dress on the left will likely get the most action; the thick jersey fabric is versatile enough to be worn layered over a long-sleeved knit and tights in the winter and sported all by itself in the spring and summer. I already have an arsenal of belts and colored tights lined up to wear with it.
The wool gray tweed shift dress on the right took a little more convincing (but not too much; I bought it in brown as well). Like the black dress, I know I can wear it now with layers (a crisp oxford underneath, a cardigan on top) and in the late spring and early fall alone. The heavy fabric won't work in the summer, but the shape and construction was too good to pass up.
I threw a few BR argyle sweaters into the mix for good measure. On dreary work days when I just don't feel like being sassy, a cozy argyle sweater helps ease the pain of having a job. HCG's Banana Republic savings:
- Black shift dress: originally $69.99, HCG price $31.49
- Wool tweed shift dresses: originally $99.99, HCG price $45.00
- Purple argyle sweater: originally $64.99, HCG price $29.24
- Gray argyle sweater: originally $79.99, HCG price $35.99
- Black pencil skirt: originally $59.99, HCG price $26.99
- Black wide leather belt: originally $39.99, HCG price $17.99
Total amount saved at BR: $283.24
Like Banana Republic, Restoration Hardware lied about its opening time, too. The store publicized its Black Friday opening time of 10 p.m. but it didn't open until 11 p.m. Don't worry, I banged on the door in anger and pointed at my watch at 10:30 to let them know not to mess with the people. We returned after our visits to J. Crew and Banana and talked ourselves out of buying a huge dining room table reduced to $2,400. Who buys a dining room table at 2 a.m. on Black Friday? Our favorite blanket was stocked at the outlet at the same price of $30 but with a 30% discount and in select colors (mostly chocolate brown and deep red). CDW and CF smartly picked up a few blankets for themselves and gift recipients.
Neiman Marcus Last Call was my final stop for the evening (well, the food court was actually my last stop, but let's gloss over that). Too tired to even peruse the bags, I went straight for the shoes and found the perfect pair of black clogs by Sam Edelman (originally $110, HCG price $66):I've been contemplating trying the clog trend for a few months and saw this discount as a perfect opportunity to give it a whirl. I love the wooden soles, platform heels and slingback style. A backless clog would be a little too impractical even for us.
CF and CDW both made solid purchases on BF '10. In addition to the RH blankets, CF scored two pairs of sparkly pink toddler Converse sneakers for Jane ($10 each) and CDW braved the line at Coach to buy her favorite sunglasses in another color. Content with our savings and full from Nathan's hot dogs and fries (I wish that was a joke), we loaded our car with our many purchases and headed home, but the night didn't end for all of us at PPO. When we dropped CF off at her house at 3:30 a.m., she shocked us by announcing she was powering through and heading straight to Toys R Us to keep the party going. We've never been prouder.
Until next year!