After multiple emails from Urban Outfitters with eye-popping words like Save!, Sale!, and Must Haves!, I finally bit the bullet and dragged my mother to Urban recently for some much needed retail therapy. Growing up, the only stores available to me were Pacific Sunwear, Hot Topic, and all the different Gap offshoots. Urban Outfitters was a fashion lifesaver for me as a teen, allowing my fashion sense to mature from fishnets and vinyl. In fact, I loved that store so much I would often sell old CDs I found at my parents house to give me extra cash for a spending spree.
To make things fair, my mother and I drove over an hour to the mall so she could hit up some age-appropriate shops for herself while I perused through the "extra 50 percent off sale items" section. We promised ourselves we would be in and out, but within the first five minutes of our shopping fest, I had already gone through an array of emotions that was comparable to a bad bout of PMS. I felt overwhelmed, scared, elated, sad, and enraged before I even finished the bottom floor. My mother, the world's best shopping wing woman, saw me through it although going through her own cascade of feelings: impatience, disappointment, bliss, and confusion.
I was surprised by how equally intense my desires to stay forever and to spring out screaming were. In the end, if you aren't ready to retire your edgy look for strictly slacks and blouses, then UO is still one of the best bets I know. Plus, I'm certainly not letting a little thing like an emotional roller coaster stop ME from sales. Here are the feelings we all go through when we step foot in that hipster shopping paradise.
1. The "why is this pop remix playing so loud" Stage
Frankly, my emotional immunity is that of a tween. If I'm shopping at T.J. Maxx and a sad song is on, I will abandon my cart and walk the F out, because that sappy voice seeps deep into my heart and all I want to do is cry — NOT shop.
Turn on indie pop remixes super loud? My heart is pounding and I want to run full speed out of a glass window. My assumption is they do this to break your concentration; my wildest purchases have been under the influence of booming pop remixes. Who on EARTH can concentrate with all that noise?
2. The "Does Everyone Work Here? Or Does No one Work Here?" Stage
Finding a sales associate anywhere is annoying, but at Urban Outfitters the costumers and the sales associates are all wearing the same thing. They are young, they are hip, they have ironic hipster hairstyles. After a while, everyone starts to blend together, and I find myself awkwardly holding everyone's gaze for too long, looking for a name tag or some flicker of recognition that I am a costumer with a need. What usually happens is I just start saying "Hi!" to everyone and when someone finally says "Hi!" back, that's how I know I've got a live one!
3. The "There are 1,000 Pairs of Jeans and They Are All One Size ... Which is Not Yours" Stage
The right thing to do in this situation is to politely ask a sales associate if there are any jeans in your size out back — but that booming music can make this tricky. Here's my method: I completely tear apart the store looking for my size, only to fail miserably and have to put everything back (because putting things back is what separates us humans from animals). Then I find a display that is, sure enough, wearing MY size and sit by it until security asks me what I'm doing: "Oh me? I'm just patiently waiting to strip this lovely mannequin of her pants."
4. The "The Luck of The Sales Rack" Stage
This is truly the most overwhelming aspect of UO — but also the best. Like most sales sections, everything is hurled in no apparent order onto the rack. On my most recent visit, there was only one size in all the clothes, and it just so happened to be mine! I slyly maneuvered through all the disgruntled patrons savaging the rack trying to find their size, grabbing everything for $10 and $20. I feared for my life, but it was well worth it. It was here at the sales rack that I experienced extreme elation.
5. The "Oh Man, My Current Outfit Is So Uncool" Stage
For the most part, if I'm content with my outfit for the day, I'm not worried about what everyone else is wearing. However, an hour at UO will have me spending serious cash, because suddenly I want to be as chic as everyone in the store. I want a fun hat, I want a a sheer cardigan, and I want uncomfortable heeled boots.... The list is endless. Suddenly, I need an entire new wardrobe.
6. The "Hello, Dashing Young Man Who Will Help Me While I Change" Stage
Having gone to an all-girls school for 10 years, literally everything coed makes me happy. One thing about gender-neutral dressing rooms that doesn't make me happy? Realizing the zipper has caught fabric and the only person I can ask for help is the dude with a handlebar mustache Instagramming on his phone. Teenage Kristin would've lept at the chance to have him pull my zipper in any direction, but adult Kristin is dripping in sweat from furiously tugging at the zipper and not looking her best. If I can't find a well-meaning shopper to help me out then I have to bite the bullet, "Sir, when you're done tweeting about your favorite micro brewery, could you please help me get the zipper on these super tight, high-rise jeans down?"
7. The "Walk Of Shame Out of The Store" Stage
I've handed over my card and the sweat beads on my forehead are very obvious. I've purchased too many things that I will never wear: those velvet embroidered hot pants that made me look like I stepped out of a Jay Z video, the gothy platform boots that fit perfectly except I can't walk in them. There is a nagging fact in the back of my head: My life is not Girls or Sex and the City. I live in real New York, where there are brutal winds, rain, and sometimes the party is eight avenues away from the nearest subway stop. I've spent too much of my life in UO already and I'm not going back for another six months. Returning my new purchases is not an option for my emotional sanity and staying in doors for several weeks also isn't because I have new purchases to share with the world!
As I hold my head high with several gigantic cloth bags, I regret nothing. After all, I'm going to look so freaking cool in my next selfie.
Image: Urbanoutfitters.com ; Giphy