So the truth is: we kind of love Black Friday. It’s been a tradition since high school to go to ‘Midnight Madness’ at Pleasant Prairie Outlet Mall in WI to shop the sales until the wee hours of the morning. The nice thing now (for us at least, not so much the retail staff) is that many of these sales now start at 9:00 or 10:00pm.
Even though Jocelyn will be in NYC this Friday, I’ll be carrying out the tradition and bringing the boyfriend along (Matt is in for a TREAT)! First stop is always J.Crew outlet, typically followed by: Banana Republic, Ralph Lauren, Cole Haan, Nine West, BCBG and Bare Minerals. Ok fine, I guess I’ll let Matt check out Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour, too.
The primary focus of any Black Friday outleting excursion is always J.Crew Factory Store. If you plan on hitting the Factory Store in person or online, find some helpful hints and tips below!
The Unofficial Guide to J.Crew Factory Store Shopping
Bargain Hunting: If you really want to score a deal – go early. Like, when it first opens. While there’s plenty of product stocked at the front of the store, the good clearance items (often an additional 50% off) go fast. If there’s something you like in your size – hang on to it!
Take a Number: The fitting room lines will eventually wrap around the store, so pull everything you want to try on at once rather than making several trips. Try on at the same time as friends if you think you’ll need a second opinion. Will be hard to track them down otherwise!
The Approach: Now’s the time to stock up on basics. Perfect tees and tanks (in every color), Jackie cardigans (again, in EVERY color), socks (the cheetah print, argyle, and marled wool pairs I got last year are my faves) and sweaters (turtlenecks, crewnecks, V-necks or cashmere…whatever you’re into) are plentiful. I seriously wait all year for this stock up sess. I’ve found some great skirts, dresses, phone cases, and pajama pants over the years, too.
There are also some super fun accessories scattered throughout the store that make great gifts – critter necklaces, stands of pearls, sparkly belts, passport covers, argyle flasks, printed cosmetic cases, scarfs, ear muffs….
Quality Control: The reason why I focus on basics as opposed to investment pieces like Schoolboy Blazers, Double-cloth Coats, and work wear is because the quality of structed pieces isn’t quite up to par. If you’re used to the regular J.Crew merchandise, when you shop J.Crew Factory you will notice a difference. I can’t really distinguish a difference in cotton pieces, but for highly tailored items made of thicker materials, you can tell the products are lower-grade.
This is not uncommon among outlets and other factory stores – Coach outlet, for example, sells an entirely different line of lower quality leathergoods at their outlet stores than at the prime retail locations. Just a word of caution that the fit, feel, texture, and weight of certain items isn’t the same as regular retail stores (this is, however, reflected in the significant cost savings).
If you do not live near a J.Crew outlet, or don’t feel like dealing with people, J.Crew Factory Store online will feature a much similar selection of merchandise. You won’t get the perks of picking through the clearance rack, that can feature regular retail store overstock or returns (these items won’t have a double diamond on the tag), and you may not get the additional discounts that will apply in-store, but that’s not to say good deals can’t be found!
Keep an eye out on our blog and social streams for sale announcements!
Our J.Crew Factory Faves: