The other day, in an effort to simply get out of the house, I went on a long walk that ended up with me exploring the mall that was only about two miles away from my apartment. As a former mall employee*, I usually steer clear of these giant monuments to the 80s and 90s shopping style (INDOORS! FOOD COURTS! AWFUL CARPETS! PLAY AREAS WITH GIANT THEMED CLIMBY-ON-Y THINGS!), since I am unusually attuned to the frantic atmosphere**, but I figured, what the hey, I'll give it a go.
It wasn't nearly as hectic as I remember it, but then again, it was the middle of the day on a weekday, so I'll probably just save my final evaluation for when Black Friday decides that it's that time of year again. I got to painlessly*** explore Joann's Fabrics, Ross Dress for Less, and Bath and Body Works****, and I even got so brave as to dare to enter Charlotte Russe and Forever 21.
That's when I first realized something felt off. I couldn't pinpoint from where it was coming, but I found myself a little overwhelmed after I'd been in F21 for a little over five minutes. I assumed it was because the store was SO. MUCH. On this stark white backdrop was every loud color imaginable, and I was irritated at the extreme bias they showed toward gold jewelry (I have a cool skin tone, and gold, in general, just looks horrid on me). I did notice a few cute things+ but I was overall unimpressed.
I continued through the mall, aimlessly wandering in and out of stores (hi, GameStop!) without buying anything, and then I saw one of my old fashion haunts: American Eagle. I was more of a PacSun girl, because what teenager-early-twenty-something who lived in a landlocked state didn't need beach wear? Anyway, I actually still own a few sweaters from back in the day - my magenta one has holes in the armpits, but I can't bring myself to throw it away because I love it too much - so I decided to check out what was being marketed to the kids these days. I nearly freaked people out with all the side-eye I was giving. What is this shit? Well, that doesn't look comfortable. Wait, can't I get a twelve-pack of those t-shirts elsewhere for not $35? Why in the hell are they selling mom jeans? Mom jeans are cool? Dear God, denim shirts? Oh, well, those strappy sandals are actually pretty cute. Hang on, is that an elastic waist on that denim vest dress? The fuck, it is. Why did I throw away/reuse as throw rags/donate to Goodwill all those fugly dresses from when I was younger? I would have made a killing on ebay/Etsy. Now, to be fair, from what I've read online, American Eagle is definitely floundering when it comes to their target age group (see: me in high school and college), as are similar stores like Aeropostale and Abercrombie & Fitch (good.), so I guess I can't really be all "YOUTHS!!!" about it. At least they seem to recognize that the brands have grossly overestimated the value of their names, as seen by the ridiculous prices they try to use.
But that's not really the point here. In an effort to see if it was me or just that I'd just experienced an isolated event, I revisited the previous clothing stores that were aimed at people at least eight years younger++ than me and came to the same conclusion: I am officially too old for this shit. It just doesn't appeal to me at all. I don't really like super-duper short dresses, which should please my mother, and skater dresses just look like the time when people were buying dance wear even though they never even took a ballet/tap/jazz/whatever class in their lives. I can't wear rompers because the damned crotch is too short. High-waisted jeans look bizarre on my body, and hahahaha what, they are selling overalls again+++??
For those of you my age, or older/younger, more power to you if you can pull any of that off. I'm jealous. Your clothes shopping is that much easier. I, on the other hand, have to figure out where to get my shit. What are my options here? I'd hate to have to fall back on the Pyramid Collection++++ here. And that's not even my biggest problem, since online shopping really is my forte, for the most part. Despite my earlier mentioned apprehension about going out to shop, when it comes to clothes, I prefer to try it on before I purchase it. (Same goes with shoes.) Ross Dress for Less seems to be my best chance at finding something, but by the time I've gone through the store fifteen times and found a grand total of one thing, I've lost all interest in finding a dressing room. It's a vicious cycle. But I'm up for any input here, really. I'm in some serious need of new clothes - a lot of what I own is starting to show some serious wear, like holes and tears - and things are just getting downright desperate for someone who is no longer a girl, but not yet a woman.
Really, that was just an excuse to post this video.
* During high school, I worked at Sam Goody/Suncoast, which was a pretty awesome job, and I worked there from the time I was sixteen until graduation and then the Christmas season during my first year of college. Once I graduated from college, I worked at The Limited for about two months before I tired of dealing with annoying, entitled customers.
** This is why I think online shopping was made with me in mind, particularly when it comes to the holidays. I swear, the sheer desperation of people - shoppers trying to find the perfect gift, the poor salespeople at the kiosks and perfume/makeup counters, etc. - is mentally and emotionally exhausting. I can't stay in that for too long or I start acting like a person who's expecting an assassin: paranoid and overreactive and quite bitchy.
*** One thing I've noticed, at least in the places that I've visited here, is that nobody overuses the air conditioning in Louisville. In Nashville, I usually felt like I had to carry a sweater with me whenever I went into any kind of business, but not so here. It's ... curious.
**** Yeah, big surprise to me, too. I'm usually having the fight the sales associates off with sticks and telling them, "No, I do not need a mesh bag to carry my single spray bottle of good smells. But thanks." Maybe their corporate office got the memo that people a) find that affected cheeriness creepy as hell and b) don't like to constantly be asked if they need help as they peruse the new candles.
+ I think I'm one of the only people my age who's excited that crop tops are back in. My body isn't perfect, but fuck, it's hot outside. If global warming is going to make even this desert lover wish for an ice age, please provide me with clothing that gives my skin a chance to breathe and not steep in its own sweat.
++ True story: I actually had to Google "Where do teenagers shop?" Because I'm That Person. I wasn't sure if the kids were going to Rue 21, Forever 21, etc., but apparently, I was correct. See also: TJ Maxx.
+++ Okay, overalls are awesome. They are the ultimate in comfort, but hahahaha they are trendy again and I just can't help but laugh. I think this is how my mom felt when polyester and bell bottoms came back in style when I was a young teenager.
++++ You know what? Who cares. I love the Pyramid Collection. If I could, I'd go on a shopping spree and buy this. Or this. Or this (It has pockets, you guys. This is quickly becoming a requirement of mine). Or this ("It's Rufflesible!" ... whatever that means?). Or ... actually, this list could get realllllllllly long.