Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
One of the pitfalls of working for a shopping website is that you inevitably spend a lot of money at work. This past weekend was certainly no exception; while we cover sales weekly, we really covered Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. So of course the first thing everyone asked each other when we were back in the office was: What’d ya buy?
So here is a list of what everyone bought. As it turns out, our team is quite thoughtful (many staffers bought holiday gifts) and easily swayed by Glossier (at least five people re-upped on Boy Brow). We hope you enjoy the following recap, and if you want to share your own purchase stories, head to our Facebook group and drop us a line.
I bought more stuff this year than I ever have before, but I didn’t spend that much money so I don’t feel bad or guilty, or like I’m going to return everything as soon as I get it.
A lot of shops on Depop (the resell app) were running promotions, and because its explore page is a super deep, dark hole, I ended up buying a lot of random shit. I picked up two vintage issues of Playboy — the Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford covers — for $15 each from one shop, an old 2008 Obama campaign T-shirt for $12 from another, and two oversized vintage silk blouses for $40 from one of my favorite sellers for a total of $82.
I’ve also had a $100 credit to Spring that I’ve been trying to spend for months, so I was determined to sort through the thousands of options there. I ended up getting a graphic tee from Ganni that I’ve been eyeing that was marked down to $42 from $70 and a pair of leggings from Outdoor Voices that were marked down to $68 from $85. Shipping was free, so I paid $0. My favorite price!
Last stop was Glossier, because my supply was running low and it never has sales. I grabbed Boy Brow times two and the Priming Moisturizer Rich, which I love to use year-round but especially in the winter. Everything was 20% off, bringing my cart to $44, and with the $35 credit I had on the site, I only ended up spending $9.
I also swung by the Nars sale and repurchased the Velvet Matte Foundation that I’m obsessed with. I’m not finished with the one I have, but because I know I’ll want more and the brand was offering 20% off everything, I had to, you know? I got it for $36 instead of $45. —Tanisha Pina, market editor
My big Black Friday splurge actually didn’t happen, which is great. I tried to buy these boots on Garmentory for $300 — more than I can afford to spend on anything right now — but was told the next day that there was a glitch in the system and they were actually out of stock. Which I took as a sign from the universe to chill out.
I did, however, buy a few other things: This mini 324 bag for $125 (it was marked down to $208 and I had an editor’s discount that I was able to add on top of that), these Ancient Greek sandals for $65 for an upcoming trip to Mexico, and this Uniqlo sweater for $19.90. I really need new sweaters, so I bought three from Everlane for full price like an actual idiot. —Tiffany Yannetta, shopping director
After personally updating our best Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales post literally every day since November 7th, I feel like I got off without doing too much damage. (That’s a long time to be staring potential deals in the face.) But I definitely did some shopping. All told, my grand total was $416.07, with a savings of $332.62, not including what shipping would have cost if it wasn’t all free. Here's the breakdown:
Last week I bought a Petit Bateau turtleneck and a J Brand silk top at The Outnet on super sale for an extra 50% off. Like everyone else in the world, I went in pretty hard on Glossier’s 20% discount (whoops), restocking on Boy Brow and sunscreen, and I decided to try out the Cloud Paint Quad. I also pulled the trigger on gold earrings by Laura Lombardi from Vuela Boutique via Garmentory. I’ve wanted them forever and they were the last pair on sale for $60 (but you can get the same ones for $65 here, if you’re interested), down from $82.
My biggest splurge by far was at Target. I got a ton of super boring items (like, dish soap and Ziploc baggies kind of boring), plus a couple of presents for my niece and fun stuff like film for my Polaroid camera and board games for when my family visits over Christmas. I had slowly been adding things I needed to my cart all week and finally bought it all on Cyber Monday, when the site was an extra 15% off with free shipping.
I’m a little bummed I still haven’t bought a winter coat, but I can’t tell you how happy I am to not have to buy paper towels, toilet paper, and Swiffer sheets for the next six months! —Cory Baldwin, shopping editor
I’ve had a miniature roller coaster of emotions regarding Reformation (lol, what else is new) that came to a head on Cyber Monday. I finally found a bunch of inexpensive tank tops I love, but they were abruptly yanked from the site. I was devastated! I should have stocked up when I had the chance! But when the brand sent me a customarily bonkers email about a sitewide 30%-off sale, I chanced to click through and realized that the tanks were back in stock, albeit under a different name and now included as part of the ever-so-slightly-cheaper Ref Jeans collection. They were just $20 each, down from $28, and the shipping was free!
I immediately threw two in my cart, only to discover that I had the remains of a gift card left that covered the entire cost. Reformation can frustrate the living hell out of me but on this particular Monday, the cyber-est of days, it made me very happy. —Alanna Okun, senior editor
I recently spent a regrettable amount of time looking for a replacement for the LeSportSac weekender I’ve had since high school. It’s a nice size and still in shockingly good shape, but I have come to hate the off-kilter floral print, and also I am now 30.
My research confirmed I need a weekender to be packable (an apparent industry term for “totally collapsible and weighing basically nothing”), big enough to hold all my stuff, and not big enough that I can’t carry it on the subway. It also needs to have a long shoulder strap. There are very few bags that meet this criteria, and one of them is... another LeSportSac! (My research also confirmed I am a creature of intense habit.)
One of the only other options out there is from Helly Hansen, a 140-year-old Norwegian ski brand I had never heard of but of course has done a Supreme collab. I told myself I had to make this super minor, very dumb bag decision this weekend and came to the conclusion that I loved the insane yellow color and the fact that it was... basically free? The bag is normally $40 (already basically free, for a piece of luggage) and this weekend it was $30 on Amazon, but there was some coupon (??) I was prompted to apply that was maybe related to Black Friday but maybe not (???) and so I got it for $25. I feel like a witch. —Julia Rubin, executive editor
I bought two pairs of expensive-but-quirky-but-chic socks for myself and one pair as a Christmas gift for my sister — I’m kidding, Abby, nothing to see here — since Hansel From Basel marked down everything on its site by 35%. I love and never purchase the brand’s fancy socks because they usually cost as much as $30, which is obscene. On Friday they did not cost $30, so the “Sputnik Crew” and the “Tonal Dapple Crew” are all mine. —Eliza Brooke, senior reporter
To me, Black Friday is the time to buy all the sensible, unsexy items so boring that you’re never able to work up the energy to click “buy” during any other time of year. Things like an Amazon FireStick, which I’m not really sure what it does but it was half-off and only $25. And things like CeraVe Moisturizing Cream, which literally wasn’t even on sale but I mean, I had already committed to the FireStick and buying only one Amazon item at a time makes me sad.
However, it’s also a time to buy extremely fun items that you definitely don't need at all. Things like a year’s worth of free two-day shipping from ASOS for $19, plus some 30%-off leather lace-up boots for good measure. Also, an L.L.Bean turtleneck with my nickname monogrammed on it, even though I only ended up saving six dollars. Black Friday is about indulging your best and worst selves, and honestly, I feel great about it.
***AUTHOR'S NOTE: This does not include gifts, please let the record show I am not a terrible person. —Rebecca Jennings, associate producer
I told myself I was going to use Glossier’s 20% off sale to stock up on Boy Brow and Boy Brow only, but somewhere along the way that turned into an $80 order of the Body Hero Duo, Milky Jelly Cleanser, and probably a few other things I've already forgotten about. Whoops!
More practically, I got some new Marimekko throw pillow covers, a planter from West Elm (which, it turns out, is actually a utensil holder), and a ton of stuff from The Container Store (truly one of my favorite places), including a set of acrylic shelves for 30% off — so at least now I'll have somewhere to put all those new products. —Hilary George-Parkin, reporter
I bought Pamela Love’s Star Age Ring for $79 from Barneys Warehouse. It was 43% off, so a savings of $59. Other than my wedding ring, I don’t wear rings much, but in the past month I’ve been itching to embellish my right hand. The Star Age Ring complements the Pamela Love Luna Ring I already own. I’ve become a bit New Age-y as of late, and having the moon and stars on my hand reminds me to honor and celebrate my intuition. —Nadra Nittle, reporter
I’d like to start off by congratulating myself on what I think was a very solid display of self-control. On Friday, I exclusively shopped for gifts for everyone on my list, which I feel great about, even if I have a few more things to buy next month. Without giving too much away, I spent some time at the NFL online shop, which was 30% off so I saved maybe $10, and Loft, which was 50% off so I saved about $75.
(I was really tempted to buy a throw blanket from Anthropologie, all of which are extremely cute, but I decided that was probably ill-advised until all that holiday shopping is *fully* done.)
On Monday, I picked up a few things for myself. I bought a humidifier because the heat in my new apartment is insanely dry; a tub of Aztec Secret, aka the most popular beauty item on Amazon because it’s supposedly effective on cystic acne (shoutout to my forehead); and stocked up on my Cosrx pimple patches, which I add to pretty much every Amazon purchase I make. I don’t think I saved any money there, but I’m considering those essential purchases. —Stephanie Talmadge, newsletter editor
I mostly stuck to gift shopping this Black Friday. I got a three-pack of Baxter of California bar soap for my brother (thanks, gift guide!) at 25% off, so I paid $30.75 instead of $41; Outdoor Voices kits for my Austin-based, running-obsessed sister and brother-in-law for 20% off, bringing them down to $100 apiece; Kiehl’s stuff for my dad from Birchbox (after consulting the experts on where to buy it) for 15% off, since I spent just over $50; and a Tailgate shirt for a friend that was 40% off, bringing it down to $19.21. On this stuff, I saved approximately a hundred bucks.
Everything I bought for myself at Express — a fake leather jacket to replace my old one, a cozy #winterwhite sweater, and a velvet jumpsuit I definitely don’t need — was half-off, so I both saved and spent $147.95. I also threw an American Eagle flannel shirt into my cart for $25 when I picked up that Tailgate tee. —Laura Gurfein, deputy managing editor
I’ve been wanting to try Glossier products after seeing the Instagram hype forever, so I took advantage of its 20%-off sale to finally pull the trigger on some stuff I wanted to try: the super popular Boy Brow, the Moon Glow Mask, and the Priming Moisturizer. I also hit the Nars sale (which is still happening!) to re-stock on Orgasm blush, which I’ve been using for years (I refuse to try any other blush because Nars Orgasm is the perfect blush, as far as I’m concerned). And I got a new red lipstick — Red Lizard —while I was at it.
Oh, and I bought jeans and a couple sweaters from Gap’s 50%-off sale because they were 50% off, and you can never have too many jeans or too many sweaters! (The sweaters were only $20 each!) —Nisha Chittal, engagement editor
Racked occasionally accepts products for research and reviewing purposes. For more information, see our ethics policy here.