I had a terrifying shopping experience over the weekend. I went shopping in the wonderful Halsted/Armitage strip of shops (such a welcome change from the chaos of Michigan Avenue), and I was ready to spend. Spend, spend, spend! While I have three huge closets jammed with clothes and shoes already, for one reason or another I am tired of everything and want new clothes. (I guess spring weather does that to a person. This is not the first time I have felt this way; it tends to come with the dawning of every season.)
The Halsted and Armitage area includes such shops as BCBG, Bebe, Arden B, Benetton, American Apparel, and other shops along those lines. Trendy shops. Boutiques. Fun stuff. However, as I entered each of these shops, my heart sank and my enthusiasm faltered. What did I see? A time warp. Specifically, a trip back in time to the mid-eighties. Each store felt like a thrift shop loaded with 80s cast offs, yet everything was new. In short, what is up with the fashions for spring/summer 2010? Neon? Leggings? Tights disguising as leggings? Spandex? (Yes, freaking Spandex!) Big t-shirts? Oversized belts? Floral prints? One shoulder shirts a la Flashdance? Skinny jeans? Acid washed jeans? (Oh yes, I saw them!) Ruffle dresses? Tube tops?
Ugh. And worst of all, it all looked so cheap.
I love fashion. I love buying clothes, wearing clothes, and looking at my clothes. And since I don’t have children, much of my disposable income goes toward clothes, shoes, and purses. So why, oh why, are the fashion gods doing this to me? You see, I’ve been there, done that, when it comes to all of this stuff. Worse, I did it when I was 11 to 14 years old. I was trend setting with the best of them. No one could rock the neon/acid washed look like me! No one could rock the leggings like me! So I cannot – absolutely cannot – wear the same type of clothing I wore in middle school as a 35 year old. While I understand that fashion trends change and cycle, why does the current throwback to the eighties have to be so literal? Couldn’t these designers have come up with something a bit less obvious and more creative? Why does everything have to be a copy of something else?
I am pleased to report that all was not lost. I ended up dropping around $500 on a dress and skirt at BCBG (by far the least offensive store), a pair of shoes at Nine West, and two North Face shirts from REI. I will, however, be staying out of many of those stores for at least the next six months. Specifically Arden B, who was by far the worst offender. You should’ve seen some of the dresses they had. Really hideous stuff.
But then it occurred to me. Am I too old to be shopping at these stores? Is that perhaps why I find these fashions so offensive? Do I need to go to (shudder) Talbots, J. Jill, Coldwater Creek or Chicos? Oh no, say it ain’t so. I’m not ready for that yet.