Go indie over big box.
If you're pounding the pavement on Black Friday, you should at least get to choose your own adventure. For some, that means forgoing the big box chains for the personal attention and quality stock of smaller boutiques. "One of the most exciting trends in shopping is the rise of the indie boutique," Thoreson says. "They're great for discovery, they're on your terms, and they're the perfect alternative to that department store where the men's stuff is always in the back, and you have to brave a phalanx of cologne spritzers just to get where you want to go." Among the new generation of men's shops, many started as second careers for guys who simply dug the gear and wanted to share it – such as Carson Street Clothiers in Manhattan, which was founded by two former corporate attorneys. "You go in there and you feel like the [proprietor] could be someone you went to college with, someone you share the same interests with. It's not a traditional retail experience. It's personal." Discounts in smaller stores, such as indie mecca Steven Alan, may not be as steep (maybe 35 percent versus 50 percent and up), but when you're seeking out high-end brands that rarely if ever get discounted (Moncler, Oakley, Tod's, to name a few), you can score the best price of the year – and not have to set foot in a mall.