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going to the mall?

This entry co-sponsored by season, who I know agrees with me :D

We all have goals in mind when buying clothes. Some of us want to look professional, others want to fit in, many just want to be comfortable. But increasingly, people want to say something with their clothes, tell the world that they're a little different, a little more creative. A little more unique.

The ironic thing is that we keep seeing major retailers cater to this goal... they make t-shirts with nifty random sayings like "Old Navy Bowling Team" or "Happenin' Dude" spelled out in glitter. They find odd gimics from the cartoons or the 80s and produce entire lines of clothing based on rainbow bright, spongebob or the A-team. Everyone can have their own cute random shirt, everyone can be unique, everyone can be different.

Everyone can be unique, just like everyone else.

Wait...

Yes people, am I on to something or what? Those stores in the mall pay a lot of money to have space there, they need to sell what's popular, and they will only sell what's popular, no matter how hard they try to make you feel like what you're getting is totally new. If you're between the ages of 11 and 25, chances are you'd really like to stamp out your own identity, prove to the world that you're here and there's something special about you. Retailers jump on needs like this, they have teams in high rises looking at you, thinking all the time about what you need and how they can get you to pay them for it. You're marketed, you're targeted, you're bought. And they profit.

And the tough part is, you aren't different than anyone else for it... they've worked hard at making you feel different so you might feel better for a while, but other people just see you as yet another kid who buys all his clothes at the mall, the same mall where every other kid shops. You are just like everyone else.

What I really cringe at are the stores that somehow get you to advertise for them in the process... not only do they mislead you into thinking it's your unique image, but they get you to pay them to show the world their logo once every ten days or so when you wear their product. Do you really want to tell the world that Abercrombie's million dollar marketing campaigns and beautiful models, half-naked on posters in the store window, is all it takes to own your soul? You're willing to align your identity, what makes you who you are, with whatever a bunch of men in suits in a high-rise decide will be cool this season?

I buy clothes at the mall sometimes. Let's face it, we all have to buy clothes somewhere. But my goal in clothing isn't to look different, it's to just have what's comfortable. There's no reason to pay more than $14.99 for a t-shirt if I just want to be comfortable.

So think about what you're doing. Do you really shop around for clothes, or do you just go straight to the mall and swallow whatever they're feeding you? Have you looked at discount stores? At thrift stores? The people I'd say who had the most personal style probably bought 80% of their clothes at thrift stores... they weren't poor, they were just sick of seeing the same crap on everyone at their school.

Know that no matter what a store is trying, no matter what image they're selling, they are selling it. Old Navy is selling an image. The Gap is selling an image. Hot Topic is definately selling an image, and doing such a good job of it that people really do think they're being "unique" by shopping there.

And stop paying stores to advertise for them! For heavens' sake, if it's got a logo on it bigger than your face, do not wear it! It's corrupting you, you're a walking tribute to commercialism and the people who bought your mind.

Then once you've done this, don't look at others and judge them by their clothes... you're just as bad as they are. By spouting on about how you hate "preps" or "punks", you're proving that you buy into those images, too... that their attempts to align their identity with a commercial has worked. See past it, you aren't better than anyone else, no matter what you wear.

Comments

( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
epi_lj
Apr. 26th, 2003 08:19 am (UTC)
I tend to buy my clothes at the only chain I'm aware of in my area that carries clothes that fit me. They're basic, functional, comfortable, and have no slogans or logos on them. They're also pretty nondescript -- like you don't look at them and think "Oh, that's such and such a place." They're just regular ordinary clothes.

I've been to some thrift stores, but never found anything decent in my size at one.
spacefem
Apr. 26th, 2003 08:29 am (UTC)
yeah, I've got that problem too. I buy all my jeans and pants from the same catalog... it's not like i'm going to walk into a second hand shop and find that thousands of 6'1" women have donated pants that week :)

function first, indeed.
homunculus
Apr. 26th, 2003 02:04 pm (UTC)
woah; you're tall. p.s. "teams in hi-rises". that part just sounded creepy. and i don't really believe in "image"; but i was segregated in high school. it's not really a clothing style that did it, either. just the people with money against the people without. they just happened to dress a certain way most of the time. lol
jope
Apr. 26th, 2003 10:00 am (UTC)
But if you stop shopping at the mall, the terrorists have already won!
dreamingkat
Apr. 26th, 2003 10:35 am (UTC)
anti-mall, pro-thrift-store
I really don't like mall stores. Malls are always crowded, I don't live near a bus stop, so I have to drive, and parking sucks. Everything is over priced, and even when they have big sales, it seems over priced. Sure, sometimes I have to make 2 or 3 stops at various thrift stores to find clothes that it. But Goodwill seems to do pretty good. And they have my silk shells, for $3 a pop, how can you beat that? Yeah, their used, so they don't last quite as long. But at $3 a pop, I can afford to buy different colors every 2 years. And most people buy new clothes more often than that, just for variety.

I'm also not a typical shape - and I have an easier time at thrift stores. Perhapse because those mall stores expect me to be anorexic or something. Or maybe it's just because they have to buy clothes that fit the "average" person their marketing at - and I've yet to meet another person with comparable chest size. Yet somehow, in Goodwill, I can find silk shirts that are actually too big for me!

anyway, thank you for giving me rant space. I need to go buy some summer clothes, so it's off to the Thrift Stores I go. :)
missniceness
Apr. 26th, 2003 10:45 am (UTC)
Don't Believe the Hype
Yeah, the only way to have your own 'unique' style is to by either really cheap or really expensive. I have a few expensive Italian designed things...but they were brought by my Auntie (definitely not by me!). I gave up on thrift stores, because in this area, with all the old people...everything kinda makes you look really dated.

Clothes don't make the man. I noticed that if you're really a weird person, it's going to show no matter what you wear. That's how I come to terms with shopping at Learner's!
angry_amy
Apr. 26th, 2003 10:47 am (UTC)
rock on spacefem.

me and my $8.99 leather jacket thank you.
ex_robowoma
Apr. 26th, 2003 10:48 am (UTC)
I was just thinking about the majority of my wardrobe a week or two ago. Most of it is made up of Tee-shirts from my school, and most of those were free (or could have been had I waited longer) But still, 5 bucks for an engineering tee-shirt sounds good to me. The last time I had to buy a bunch of tee-shirts to wear, they were generic tee-shirts in different colors when I was in like 10th grade. Other than that, it's been hand-me-downs for years and years on end. Although I do want to spend the day at the thrift store soon. But yup, malls are evil and I will never be "different" to "fit in." I am me, there's only one of me, and there's pretty much only me who wears as many UB tee-shirts as I do. :-)
imcrackinskulls
Apr. 26th, 2003 12:03 pm (UTC)
man, i bought a pair of jeans at structure the other day for 49 bucks and today i was a target and they had the same style for 29 bucks. damn commies! (the last comment is totally irreverent to the subject, but i just like saying it).
(Anonymous)
Apr. 26th, 2003 12:20 pm (UTC)
Finally!
Do you know how long I've been waiting to hear someone else rant about wearing giant labels on your shirt?! Do you?! Someone please shoot me if I ever buy a white shirt for 30 dollars because it says "Hollister".

I like to be unique, but I definitely don't try to get attention with it. I'm not into the whole "vintage" trend... in fact, I'm not into many trends. I like my jeans (loose), and I like my t-shirts that express my own life (places I've been, things I've done, clubs and schools, etc). It doesn't make sense to buy a shirt that says "Old Navy Bowling Club" if you are not into bowling (same with surfing, skating, gymnastics, dance, track, volleyball, etc).

When will people just learn to be themselves? -BCG
angry_amy
Apr. 26th, 2003 12:41 pm (UTC)
Re: Finally!
i have a lot of gas and work shirts that i wear over everything. comfy and kinda a trademark at this point.

but i have worn bowling shirts too.... same cut really.... and i dont bowl. is that the same thing BCG?
cheap_thoughts
Apr. 26th, 2003 01:51 pm (UTC)
It seems like anymore that I find most of my clothes at thrift stores. But then again, I also have to go to the mall because I usually can't find anything that fits me, and I have to walk into Lane Bryant. Blah.
season
Apr. 26th, 2003 08:51 pm (UTC)
heh, im a co-sponsor. i dont have any problems with malls. i dont have any problems with thrift stores. i shop at the mall. this is indiana, you dont find neat clothes in my size at the thrift store, you find muu muus. and im not even that big anymore after having lost 60 lbs! i guess my issue is that people expect to be cool or unique when they buy something at a store in the mall. if you are going to shop in the mall you might as well try to save some money instead of blowing it on shit. buying a pair of $70 jeans from abercrombie doesnt make you cool, it makes you a damn dumbass. they're jeans! seventy freakin dollars! you can get the same cut from old navy for $24.50. hell, you might even be able to get them at *GASP* wal-mart or target or some other discount chain.

i guess there is no getting around shopping at the malls for a lot of us in middle america in the middle of a cornfield a trip to the mall is all we have. but the key is not falling prey to the peer pressure of being "cool"
discoflamingo
Apr. 26th, 2003 11:06 pm (UTC)
I have no problems with shirts with logos of things I believe in: like GNU, OpenBSD, etc. But I buy all my t-shirts on-line, so I may be the exception to the rule. I've only bought shirts from Hot Topic that had some kind of saying on it that works really well on a t-shirt - my favorite being, "I'm only wearing black until they make something darker." Most of my friends will buy normal t-shirts and write sayings on them in permanent marker or foam - all my t-shirts in jr. high were that style. I am anti-band shirt - I don't care how much you like $band, or how you think people will treat you because you wear their shirt - urgh.

I don't care where anybody's clothes come from - and when they ask me how they look, I ask them how they think of themselves in the clothes. Why should I care how they look? They aren't my kids . . .
anilina
Apr. 27th, 2003 11:52 am (UTC)
i agree muchly.
feanelwa
Apr. 27th, 2003 12:34 pm (UTC)
I have a sweater that used to have a sports logo on it.
It is a perfectly warm jumper.
2 hours and a yard of embroidery thread later I have a jumper with a patch on it and the words "I am not a billboard" in my left breast.

I like being able to sew.
belgand
Apr. 28th, 2003 02:01 am (UTC)
I rarely buy clothes because it's a bitch to find what I want. Pants are a frequent problem as I wear an odd size and almost noone ever makes anything that I want. A while back (hmm... I'd say 7-8 years ago) I bought a mess of pants at American Eagle before it became nearly as terrifying as it is now, (I recall buying one blue and one grey t-shirt with a logo so small and imperceptibly grey that even I can often not see it) because they had four cargo pockets that I could stuff full of things. Since cargo pants became popular it's a pain in the ass to find any with numerous, large, functional pockets. I only bought more because the old pants were literally falling apart. Shirts I've owned for a damn long time or I buy various t-shirts online or if I happen to see something I like.

While I do tend to shop at the mall I usually don't find anything I would want so it sort of evens out. I did specifically search for the ugliest shirt possible one time at (inexplicably because I saw something nice from the corridor) The Buckle: bright yellow, shiny, silky, 100% polyester with a large rhino on the back and numerous brownish swirls. It beat out a traffic cone orange shirt. I do feel that one should look everywhere on the off chance of finding something good (Holly once acquired a cute brownish skirt on sale from American Eagle, another skirt was just bought this weekend at Maurice's for $5 on sale) no reason is passing up even the most ass-like store until you can prove that they don't really have what you want.
zonk
Apr. 28th, 2003 05:49 am (UTC)
Even back in the day when Brooke Sheilds said "nothing comes between me and my Calvins," clothes provided an image. That was the case, like twenty years ago and it's still true today. And yes, people want the thift store look too, it's a "look" and it says whatever you want it to say. Twenty-somethings that shop in thift stores that could easily afford clothes from Walmart are looking for an image. People wear clothes that suit their personality and it doesn't make you a "walking tribute to commercialism" just because you wear GAP jeans.

Why don't you just spend the time and make your own clothes. The Spacefem line.. I can see it now.
amy0catherine
Apr. 29th, 2003 11:34 am (UTC)
So shoot me...I wear Old Navy
Yep...even the shirts with logos sometimes but I have no preconcieved notion that half the world doesn't own the same shirt LOL...a friend of mine works at Old Navy so we have to work a bit to not wear things on the same day...I guess the difference with me is that I don't care.

I love Old Navy jeans...I like the way they fit me...I've tried other places and didn't have that kind of success...sometimes I like the shirts, sometimes I don't...I guess it depends on whether or not what I like is "in style" that month or not...but I really just want something that is comfy, fits half-way decent and doesn't have to be ironed LOL! :)
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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