Thursday, December 26, 2019

December 2019 Shopping Reflections

As expected, I made a few Black Friday sale orders for myself this year, some of which I kept. In fact, all of this month's purchases came from Black Friday (or Cyber Monday) sales. After that, I didn't really do any more browsing or shopping in December. As I've mentioned during other hectic periods at the office, there's a level of busy that causes stress-shopping, and then there are other levels of busy beyond that, where I don't have any energy left for shopping, or for browsing online shops. 

Next year, I think I'll stop being quite as rigid about keeping track of my shopping wish list on Pinterest. It's been a useful and fun tool for me, and I'll continue to use it in a similar way in 2020, albeit more casually. I don't think I want to feel like I need to commit to having pinned every single thing I eventually buy to the board for at last a few days - or preferably several weeks or months - before I actually order it. In the end, I just don't particularly enjoy having strict rules for myself! Flexibility, within reasonable limits, is key.

After all these years of blogging about my shopping decisions and then spending a year utilizing this more regimented method of tracking my shopping list, I feel like I now know my tastes and preferences very well, enough that I don't need to go to any special effort of planning out my purchases in order to make reasonably good shopping decisions. I know what I like, I can reliably predict what I'll wear frequently, and I also have a pretty good sense of a lot of things that definitely won't work for me because I'll find them annoying or too far out of my comfort zone.

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I'll continue to blog about my monthly shopping, of course. I enjoy using this blog as a shopping diary, and I like being able to look back at my monthly shopping budget posts to analyze how my habits have changed over the years.

Fashion - (TOTAL: $738.58)
  • Mansur Gavriel Large Tote, black/ballerina - $489.94* - Longtime readers may recall there was a time I was about to purchase this exact item as a splurge-y new work tote. But after seeing it in person, I decided to get the Coach Rogue in dark denim instead (long sold out, limited colors available). The Mansur Gavriel vegetable-tanned leather is unusual, it's quite stiff and can feel a bit plastic-y, and some say it feels a bit cheap or low-quality as a result. (I've also read that there may be issues with how some of their bags are constructed.) Despite these arguable problems, I've remained fond of the idea of the Mansur Gavriel large tote in vegetable-tanned leather, precisely because it is so stiff and structured. I like very large tote bags, but because I'm on the shorter, curvier side - I'm barely 5'3'' - big bags tend to overwhelm my frame. I personally find that a more structured bag - like this tote - can look less awkwardly oversized on me than the same-sized bag in a more slouchy or floppy leather (say, the Cuyana classic tote, or even the Cuyana structured tote). Still, at full price, this bag didn't feel like a good value. Then I saw it on sale at SSENSE during Black Friday, and the rest was history, even though the discount was ultimately fairly modest. 
  • Alighieri "Flashback" Earrings, gold - $161.14* - (sold out, available in silver) This was a more impulsive purchase than the tote - which was, admittedly, still a bit impulsive - because I didn't have any history of considering this specific item. As longtime readers know, I'm almost absurdly fond of Rosh Mahtani's work with her jewelry brand Alighieri. I already own three necklaces (including the Jaja and the Initial Spark) and a pair of earrings, and I still have a few of her other designs on my long-term wishlist, all of them necklaces. So these earrings were definitely not part of my plans, at least until I saw them in SSENSE's Black Friday sale section and ordered them along with the Mansur Gavriel tote. 
  • Naadam Cashmere Tracksuit Jogger, timber - $87.50 - I mentioned this purchase in another recent post. Earlier this fall/winter season, I'd been thinking about a pair of cashmere sweatpants - so that I could feel fancy, even if they're not necessarily more practical or warm than other sweatpants - but never seriously enough to add anything from that genre to my Pinterest shopping list. Well, these happened to be one of the items discounted 50% off during Naadam's Cyber Monday sale, and I ended up being unable to resist. I do enjoy these very much so far, and I find them comfortable enough to wear as pajamas. (My skin's never been prone to itching from wearing wool or cashmere.) I've been wearing these frequently for a few weeks, and there has been a moderate amount of pilling, but that's expected for cashmere. 
*Indicates that price includes sales tax. 

For each of this month's purchases, I was able to stack fairly generous Jewel cash-back rebates on top of the Black Friday discounts, for a total of nearly $34.00 back. As usual, I don't factor cash-back rebates into my accounting of my total shopping-related spending in these posts, since I won't actually receive the money until several weeks or months down the line. (If you're interested in trying out Jewel as a first-time customer, please feel free to use my referral link to sign up: We'll both get an extra $5 after your first purchase.)

And yes, I must admit that these Black Friday/Cyber Monday purchases were all on the impulsive side. None of the items I'd been looking at and planning for more seriously, and in the longer term, were really on sale during Black Friday this year. I guess it's consistent with my experience in past years, that Black Friday isn't generally an especially good time for fashion-related shopping: The more basic, staple fall-winter items that I've been eyeing for a while usually won't be on sale until after Christmas. I'm definitely a bit sheepish about how impulsive all of this month's buying decisions ultimately were, though I've been putting each item to fairly extensive use so far.

I hope that everyone has been having a good holiday season! Although things were busy for me at the office right up until the day before Christmas Eve, I've also been able to spend a lot of time relaxing with my mom and my sister, who visited me for the holidays here in NYC. We saw Moulin Rouge on Broadway, which was an extremely fun show. Best wishes to you all for the start of 2020!

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