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A Black Friday shopping plan

Outfitting snazzy dressers on your list.

Metrowest will soon make a concentrated push to become an upscale shopping epicenter, but it will have a difficult time unseating the Newbury/Copley district, especially after its banner 2006. Start your Black Friday shopping tour of Boston's new openings at Copley Place. In March, Barneys New York opened its first new store in 11 years at Copley (100 Huntington Ave., 617-385-3300, ), and the store spurred a retail renaissance. It is expensive, but it's also inspiring. Shoe maven, and apple of Sarah Jessica Parker's eye, Jimmy Choo opened at Copley this year (100 Huntington Ave., 617-927-9570, ). Slightly more affordable footwear can be found in the Prudential Center's just-opened Charles David (800 Boylston St., 617-236-1253, ). Also new in the Prudential is Free People (800 Boylston St., 617-450-4902, ), a boutique for ladies who are still young enough to make baby-doll dresses look cute and not creepy.

Newbury Street's new offerings include the T-shirt shop Johnny Cupcakes (279 Newbury St., 617-375-0100, ). Johnny Earle's adorable, limited- edition T's are displayed in bakery cases throughout the store, which opened last spring. He doesn't sell cupcakes, but when he's feeling generous, he gives them away. Like Copley, Newbury Street added its own high-end chains. Italian clothier Valentino (47 Newbury St., 617- 578-0300, ) opened a 3,000-square-foot store this spring selling women's clothing and accessories. While Valentino represents a history of glamorous dressing, Juicy Couture (12 Newbury St., 617-236-5514, ) represents a more modern view of femininity through leggings and baby - doll dresses.

New offerings for men are limited. There are unisex bargains at the new H&M (100 Newbury St., 617-859-3192, ) and Filene's Basement (497 Boylston St., 617-424-5520 , ), but the menswear (and women ' s wear) that excites us most is found at Reiss (132 Newbury St., 617-262-5800, www. ). Sadly, it doesn't come cheap. The British store opened on Newbury Street this summer and sells beautifully constructed pieces infused with Brit mod styling.

. . . home decor gifts.

Start in the South End at Hudson (312 Shawmut Ave., 617-292-0900, ). The store opened this fall and carries some of our favorite furniture lines such as Jonathan Adler, Oly Studio, and Shabby Chic . Motley Home (652 Tremont St., 617-266-5566 , ) carries a full line of Adler's ceramics, and basics of home decor, such as frames, barware, bath products, and seasonal gifts. It falls slightly out of our one-year parameter, but Heidi Theide's Euro-loving home store Voila (1315 Washington St., 617-542-1190, ) is unique in its dedication to antique furnishings and gifts from across the Atlantic.

Before departing the South End, a trip to the recently opened bakery Buttery (314 Shawmut Ave., 617-482-1015, ) is necessary to sustain energy levels for continued shopping. Please don't waste precious calories on foods with nutritional value. The only thing that should be on your wish list here are the cupcakes, which are the size of a fist. Tony Robbins's fist, to be exact.

The arrival of West Elm at Trilogy in the Fenway (160 Brookline Ave., 617-450-9500, ) coincides perfectly with the bumper crop of new lofts in Boston. This is an essential stop for Black Friday shopping for those with Design Within Reach tastes on a Crate & Barrel budget. Comptoir de Famille , a French chain which opened its first U S store on Newbury Street (127 Newbury St., 617-266-7970, www. ) sells reproductions of European furniture intended for those with a fondness for re - creating the look of their French grandmother's apartment. Finnish design house Marimekko (below) also opened its first concept store in the U S this year (350 Huron Ave., Cambridge, 617-354-2800 , and sells mugs, bed linens, and textiles covered in the company's mod 1960s designs.

. . . And now, a word from an expert.

Retail insiders know that the best strategy for seeking out Black Friday bargains is to spend the day after Thanksgiving at stores that are publicly traded companies.

"Publicly traded companies are under pressure to improve upon last year's sales," says Bentley College instructor Mike Tesler. "So these are going to be the places that are marking down more drastically to try to get people in the door. They need to show growth to investors."

Smaller boutiques, along with large, privately owned companies such as Crate & Barrel and the Container Store , don't get caught up in the Black Friday frenzy because they can look at profits for the quarter, not a day. Tesler says if you're looking for ideas, spend your day in the boutiques. If you need to get bargains, brace yourself for tomorrow's lines.