If there's anything I can be sure of about myself, it's that no matter what store I enter, I will find something to purchase. Put me in a sporting-goods store and I am suddenly planning marathons and rock-climbing expeditions around cute, patterned Nike spandex. Normally, the mere thought of spandex horrifies me, but still — there I am, standing in the checkout line, feeling ready to Instagram those new running shoes with some sort of kale smoothie in the foreground.
To me, every shopping venue is simply another possibility to spend money that I could be spending more responsibly on virtually anything else. Some call it a problem, I call it my own personal contribution to the nation's economy. But I digress. You may think that there are some stores that you simply would never find anything cute, stylish or chic, but, as an expert, I'm here to tell you that you would be wrong. Whether the brand seems old, uncool, out of style, or just plain wacky, there are cute items out there for all of us. Trust me. I've been there. I've bought things. It's possible.
And in case you don't believe, here are 11 examples of cute pieces you can buy from stores you never thought you'd look at in 2014.
Yes, this store has more to offer than simply that "I Love Ashton Kutcher" trucker hat I bought in 2002 (that happened). Granted, you have to search past, well, a lot of stuff that is aimed at a slightly younger audience (who is Austin Mahone...?), but they still have some cute pieces for us older gals.
Antique Gold Stamped Bib Necklace with Fringe, $16.50, claires.com
2. Ugg Australia
There is more to Uggs than just, well...Uggs. Of course, the company still makes the furry boots they're most famous for (including a couple with sequin designs that I really don't want to talk about), but they have more options available now, like this cute Chelsea boot. And all of them are well-made, sturdy, and durable.
Jo for Women, $175, uggaustralia.com
For the record, I would just like to say that, yes, I used to have a Coach charm for my Sidekick. Coach, cell phone charms, and Sidekicks: Things that were once the coolest of the cool, but have since taken a bit of a downward slide. Coach has tried very hard to evolve and grow as a brand and even if it doesn't seem as cool as it once did, the company is still producing on-trend, (mostly) affordable leather bags that will last you for years. What more could a girl ask for?
Bleecker Pinnacle Riley Carryall in Matte Croc-Embossed Leather, $658, coach.com
4. Juicy Couture
Okay, so it's no secret that Juicy Couture isn't doing too well these days. But maybe that's because people couldn't see beyond the velour jumpsuit (had one of those, too) to the greater things they have to offer now. Floral romper anyone?
Bette Daises Romper, $188, juicycouture.com
Remember when it was totally the thing to have that tank top with Bebe in rhinestones across the front? Yeah, me too. It was a rough time. But believe it or not, the brand still exists — providing us all with the skin-tight clubwear that we never knew we needed, but also some really cute statement necklaces.
Petal Necklace, $39, bebe.com
Yeah, so Gap is still pretty popular, but it's reputation has changed to say the least since the '90s, when it was a retail powerhouse. Gap has tried dozens of different ad campaigns and collaborations in the past years to win over shoppers, but at the end of the day, what they're doing the best is producing a product that is still comfortable, classic, and long-lasting while remaining cool in a sustainable kind of way.
Pleated Star Chambray Skirt, $19.99, gap.com
7. Old Navy
Like Gap, Old Navy sometimes gets overlooked when it comes to shopping. But just in case you've been living under a rock – tons of cool bloggers actually have collaborated with Old Navy. And if a super chic fashion blogger is wearing something, odds are I want to wear it, too.
Women's Crinkle Gauze Maxi Skirt, $22.00, oldnavy.com
8. Ann Taylor
Think Ann Taylor is just for your mom? Think again, my friends. Think again. Although, just for the record, it would probably look good on your mom, too. That's the power of Ann Taylor.
Leather Moto Jacket, $348, anntaylor.com
Guess jeans used to be the thing. Now? Not so much, but the brand is still chugging along, consistently sending out supersexualized ads and making me wish I ate one less serving of ice cream (just kidding, the ice cream was worth it). But, surprise! They actually have some cute things in-store. So don't forget to give it a chance next time you pass Guess in the mall.
Davina Plastic Cat Eye Sunglasses, $82, guess.com
10. Wet Seal
I remember browsing the mall when I was younger and popping into Wet Seal. My friend then said, "It always smells like drugs in here." At the time, I assumed this was right (did I know what drugs smelled like? no), although in retrospect, what we were smelling was probably just a lot of spandex and polyester in one small area. But Wet Seal is actually an ideal destination for graphic T-shirts. Who knew?
I Hate Mondays Tank, $18.90, wetseal.com
11. Charlotte Russe
Same deal as Wet Seal. You might have to search through a lot of questionable pieces to find something that's just your style, but when you do, you've found yourself a cute, super affordable piece that isn't from Forever 21. It's a win, win.
Furry Cheetah Print Slip-On, $24.99, charlotterusse.com