Sunday, May 01, 2005

My fashion statement: No

Walking through the mall recently, it struck me that it was only a few years ago that I used to get all my clothes at stores that now seem to cater to kids who are too young to baby-sit. The clothing in my old favorite stores now generally looks like it should be sold with bibs and pacifiers, and maybe something that lights up and plays “It’s a Small World After All” when you shake it.

If I did buy something in one of my old stores, the sales people would probably politely wait until I left the store and turned the corner. Then they’d gather up whatever they had left of the item I just bought, take it out back, and toss it in an incinerator marked “OLD PEOPLE LIKE IT.”

I’ve graduated from my old demographic. Not that long ago, I was in the demographic of wearing jeans halfway down my backside and blaring Rage Against the Machine through the neighborhood. Now I’m in the demographic of elastic waistbands and feeling my pulse quicken when NPR’s Marketplace comes on. If I turn the bass way up, I can actually see my rearview mirror vibrate when David Brancaccio says the word “NASDAQ.”

I understand all too well that I’m not exactly the target audience for my old clothing stores anymore. Perhaps that’s why I find some current trends so difficult to understand. For example, why do clothing stores in the mall invent sports teams to put on their t-shirts? I’ve never been to an American Eagle lacrosse game, but apparently they have a team. Do they play pick-up games against Friendly’s and Hallmark?

If I were on the American Eagle Lacrosse team, I’d be sure to show up for the game against Spencer’s Gifts. I’d psyche out my opponents by waving my big lacrosse stick around and yelling things like, “You know those fake fire pots with the wavy orange paper blowing around in them? Yeah, well they don’t even look like real fire!” and, “The only thing shocking about those hand buzzers you sell is how bad you are at lacrosse!”

Okay, I wouldn’t be that good with the insults, but that wouldn’t matter, because while they’d be paying attention to scoring goals, I’d be putting “Beer Belly Helper Wacky Pills” into their water jugs. I wouldn’t be exactly sure what to expect from those pills, but if the packaging is any indication, hilarity would certainly ensue.

Oh, and the Abercrombie Ski Patrol -- what exactly is that? It must be an elite team that’s always on call in case anyone gets hypothermia in the baby-doll tee section, or breaks a leg while reeling backwards from a pair of $148 jeans. And I don’t mean in any way to impugn the integrity of the Abercrombie Ski Patrol. Someday I might launch off a mogul, attempt a daffy to spread eagle combination, then wipe out on the stretch boxer-briefs display, showering tight-fitting yet breathable men’s underwear all across the store. If that ever happened, I’d sure be glad that Abercrombie has a stringent certification process in place for all of its ski patrollers.

Certification process: “Hey kid, would you pay thirty bucks to wear an advertisement for my store? Great! You’re on the team.”

Perhaps I’m just bitter because the depressing reality is setting in; it is only a matter of time before I’m going to have to buy all my clothing at stores that also sell chainsaws.


  1. How about the sweatpants that Hollywood favors; you know, the ones that say "Juicy" across the butt? I like product placement as much as the next guy, but who wants to unwrap that? I think there's a conspiracy with the Depends people.

  2. First off, resisting the urge to dress like you lost two hundred pounds, but couldn't afford new pants and still needed those 300 pockets for all your crack paraphenalia, is not the same as getting old. Developing a modicum of taste, perhaps. Secondly, the mall is not for walking. It's for walking with strollers. The more strollers, the better. Finally, if you bought a big enough chainsaw from that store, nobody would comment on your clothes. Well, not as much as they do now, anyway.

  3. Ah, yes, clothes shopping...

    Here in Ireland us male types with partners do a dance I call "The Dunnes Stores Shuffle" whenever we visit shopping malls. Dunnes is a bit like, um...Mervyn's maybe?

    You think you are simply following your loved one through the store, when in actual fact, you are repeating the same moves over and over ...

    two steps forward, one to the side, nod your head, shake your head, step backwards, shrug your shoulders...

  4. Hey, JL, how long has it been? Does Mervyn's even exist anymore? :p' Nowadays it's Younkers or Marshall Fields, and for the budget: Kohl's. I hate the shuffle, shuffle BAD! My favorite stores have furniture departments, that way she can drop me off at spouse day-care. It's especially nice when they put the electronics department adjacent to the furniture, but they frown upon me bringing the remote over to the furniture dept.

  5. LOL well there was a Mervyns when we visited Oregon last year, but then again, it WAS Oregon.

  6. For all of your information, Mervyn's is alive and well. I live in California, and recently spent an entire afternoon as a hostage of my friend and her two small children in said Mervyn's.

    Also, who are these women who drag their men along to the mall? I would never dream of such a thing. Mostly because it would ruin the experience, but also because my husband would drag me to the Apple store as penance, and I just can't deal with that.

  7. I'm also from California and have had my share of Mervyns siteings. I approached one with great caution. I'm fine...nothing really happened. But, I discovered that Mervyns has one really great redeeming quality that you all are overlooking.....Mervyns stores are freestanding with entrances and exits to the great outdoors and does not exist in a MALL.

    And just for you guys who think women don't understand you....I loathe the mall and shopping in general. My ex-husband would drag me kicking-n-screaming to our local mall. Turns out....he went for the show (teenage girls in mini-skirts and halter tops).

  8. I'm going to be the best man in a wedding this weekend, so I've been neglecting my blog and everyone else's this week. These comments crack me up. Freakin' Mervyn's, dude? Isn't he the Martian from Looney Tunes?