When Black Friday Comes …

by Erin on November 25, 2005

Julie over at Almost Girl asked me to blog about Black Friday with the other fashion bloggers. (Of course, I may be one of the older bloggers, considering I got Steely Dan stuck in my head from the phrase "Black Friday," thus the subject line of this post.)

So. Black Friday. What's to say? I joked to Julie that "buying vintage is almost not consuming," and I do often feel caught in the middle between the "buy nothing!" people and the "OMG! Gotta be at Target at 4 a.m.!" people. Today I went out with Mary Beth, aka Vintage Crochet Girl and bought twenty vintage sewing patterns for $40 (watch for scans of them here soon, they were all incredible! Madame GrĂ©s!). Surprisingly, there was a line outside the tiny charming antique store in Park Ridge — it seems that this store is known for antique glass Christmas ornaments and only puts them out the day after Thanksgiving, every year. We had to put our names on a list to get inside, and once inside we had to push past the "holiday sweatshirt" crowd to get to the patterns and other non-Christmas stuff.

I do feel fairly guilty about how much clothing I buy, which, compared (price- and quantity-wise) to the rest of the world, is inordinate. Compared to what I think is the target-market expectations of fashion magazines, though, I'm the tightest of tightwads. I make my own clothes! I buy my shoes (NIB, thank you) on eBay! I buy (and am wearing today, much to Mary Beth's disappointment) jeans from the fat-boy department at Target (or, again, from eBay), t-shirts from American Apparel, sweaters from Nordstrom Rack. I find it painful, almost physically painful, to buy something full price, or, worse yet, buy something with a logo on it. (The most I can stand is the red tab on a pair of Levi's or the back label on a pair of Jack Purcell Converse sneakers. I finally gave up trying to take embroidered logos off things with my seam ripper — it never really works, and DAMN YOU RALPH LAUREN TO THE FIREY PITS OF HELL for ruining so many pretty things with that fucking polo player!) So I don't have either the self-righteous comfort of the "I only wear organic hemp and I have exactly two dresses" crowd nor the instant gratification of the women who can walk into Bergdorf's and monopolize a personal shopper for two hours.

And although you can argue that when buying vintage you are consuming fewer resources than when buying new, vintage can also drive a scarcity mentality — when everything you see is one-of-a-kind, the temptation to grab it before it gets away can be overwhelming. (I don't know how many outrageous dresses I have "encouraged" people to buy just by sighing "You'd never find anything like it again …")

So, anyway, that was a lot of rambling to say that yes, it's Black Friday, and I went shopping. The fact that I bought vintage patterns and not cheap electronics or luxury designer goods doesn't really matter. I have plenty of stuff and I still went and I bought more, and it made me really happy (and will continue to as I sew my way through these patterns!). I don't think it hurt anyone, at least except possibly for the next person to come in that store looking for patterns …

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

vintagecrochetgirl November 25, 2005 at 3:15 pm

Hey, Erin. Funny to see you blogging here today on Black Friday!Yes, I contributed on Black Friday. I bought three things at the above-mentioned antique store (hat, coin purse, bracelet). This afternoon, I went to Vogue Fabrics to buy 3.25 yards of the same knit fabric I used to make my first sweater coat (I want it just in case the other sweater coat wears out – yes, I love this textile that much). That fabric was on sale.Then I went to a knitting shop and bought 5 skeins of Italian boucle yarn *not on sale* (Forgive me, God, it’s for my knitting class and I don’t want to flunk my class project and I only have a few more weeks to start and finish this thing).I think I will stay in tonight and sew. No, I’m not going to a movie like the rest on the American public on this Thanksgiving weekend. Hah!

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vintagecrochetgirl November 25, 2005 at 3:24 pm

I forgot to mention also I also purchased 3 1/4 yards of teal and grass green knit fabric (what is about that stuff???) along with 1 1/2 of crochet-like pink yarn fabric from Emmaonesock.com. (Stay, stay very far away from this web site if you adore textiles) How I could I resist the siren song of **free shipping**? I feel another sweater coat coming on.

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Almost Girl November 25, 2005 at 7:10 pm

Haha, ohh the cycle of creation must always involve consumption I guess. Park Ridge has tons of cool little shops though doesn’t it? I am assuming you mean Park Ridge NW suburb of Illlinois, though I could be quite wrong! I did a doc when I was an intern at PBC about the northwest suburbs. Much more interesting than I ever would have thoughts

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Sue November 25, 2005 at 8:07 pm

Since it’s not a holiday for us, we don’t have the Black Friday phenomenon, and I’ve never related Buy Nothing Day to US Thanksgiving before. But it’s a bit of a silly protest. Should I feel guilty for the wooden spoons and salad tongs made from recovered wood that I bought from a local craftsman today? I don’t think so. I would like to think I shop responsibly, but I don’t always. But I do try to be mindful when I shop.>I finally gave up trying to take embroidered logos off things with my seam ripper — it never really worksI thought I was the only one who did that. I hate labels too. I’m not going to be their advertising, and frankly, I may not be the best advertising for them anyway.

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Anonymous November 28, 2005 at 12:47 pm

I am so happy to hear I am not the only one who removes logos and tags from things! I don’t buy things now that have them, so many a pretty thing is left in the store.

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