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 …

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