Sunday Shopping Guide: How to Shop at the Mall...

...without looking like you shop at the mall.
     Today's Sunday Shopping Guide is not the typical format because the collage/link format contradicts most of the opinions I am about to espouse.
     Logo tees. Booty shorts. Plaid Bermuda shorts. These are just a few of the items that are easily found at a local shopping mall. Although there are many upscale stores that offer designer names at designer prices, the average teenager with the average budget can't afford such luxuries. When the call of convenience carries you to the mall, there are ways to avoid looking like everyone else in your high school (as a high school student, my experiences are limited to this, so this guide is mainly for age range of 14-18).
     My town's Goodwill and Salvation Army tend to be more like dumping grounds than gold mines and if I'm desperate for a new outfit, I can't pay for overnight shipping online. Although I usually turn to Target for such emergencies, I even have to be careful there. Usually these facts combined land me in the middle of consumer desperation...also known as the mall. However, many instances like this have taught me some valuable lessons.
  • Be selective...but not TOO selective. If you're like me, the loud music, overpowering scent, and discriminatory hiring processes are enough to send you running out of stores such as Abercrombie and the like. There's no reason to shop at a store that you don't agree with; that being said, some stores are begging for a chance to be looked at. Although the "preppy" stereotype (and not in the classic sense of the word) attached to the Abercrombie umbrella is reason enough not to venture into their offspring, stores like Delia's, Pac Sun, American Eagle, and (blogger favorite) Forever 21 are credible places to find nice quality garments. Sometimes there is reason to avoid a certain cash register, but other times stores don't get the credit they deserve.
  • No logo? No problem. Obviously being a walking advertisement for a store is not in good taste. Sure, there are high dollar monogram and logo bags that are a little bit more credible than having "AERO" plastered across your chest, but I digress. A lot of people associate "teen" stores with screen printed logo tee shirts, but their other items often get passed up because of this fact. Some of my favorite things are basic tee shirts from Old Navy, American Eagle, and sometimes even Wal Mart (Hanes five pack of undershirts!). It's important to have basics that you know you love so you can remix them into your wardrobe, even if they aren't all from American Apparel.
  • Butt stitching, etc.  To me, it is not important if the world knows where I purchase my jeans. However, knowing that I can walk into a store and find jeans in my size without having to try them on is a luxury I enjoy. There's an odd stigma sometimes associated with jeans that if you spend too much, you're ridiculous, but if they aren't brand name, they aren't as respected. Sure, finding some great denim at a vintage store would be preferable, but how am I supposed to find a pair I like among the pleated, mid waisted, mom jeans in my local Goodwill? For this reason, most of the jeans in my wardrobe come from (you guessed it) American Eagle. And there's nothing wrong with that. I think that jeans are a personal preference, but the mall offers thousands of options.
  • Scour. The most high end brand available at my local mall (aside from on handbags, which is another story entirely) is probably Free People. This is fine by me because that's about where my budget ends, but having the closest Nordstrom in another time zone means that I can't even lust over designer goods. Although I have my preferred aesthetic in mind when shopping, brand names usually don't even cross my mind. I have learned the art (and patience required for) of flipping through hundreds of clearance racks, bargain stores, and consignment stores to find what I'm looking for. But if I'm looking to stay in one location, the mall is my best bet. At the mall, I look through department stores before going to any smaller places, just to see if I find what I'm looking for. Despite the fact that this can take time, it is often well worth it to find something unique.
     I hope this helped those of you who suffer the same fashion fate that I do in my backwards little corner of Tennessee. To see my outfits from Operation Overhaul Days 3 and 4, click here.

    1 comment:

    Fashionography. said...

    This is such a great post, and I totally agree. I hate going into Abercrombie because it gives me a headache, and I usually can't see anything anyway ;)

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