Ever since I naively stumbled into a J.Crew store in 11th grade, I’ve been completely in love. Now, I go to school where the closest (LOL) J.Crew is an hour and a half away. I miss you, dear friend. I miss you
Now, my “I’m home for Thanksgiving break” trips to J.Crew are a rewarding treat. I haven’t been for so long. But, let’s face it: J.Crew, like most mall stores, can be a pretty overwhelming place to shop. If I’m not internally crying over the fact that Jackie cardigans are completely out of my budget, I’m trying to get out of the store before a sales associate notices that I’m leaving empty handed. It’s a process, really.
Here at Bustle, we may have discovered the seven emotional stages of shopping at Urban Outfitters, but honestly? J.Crew is a completely different ballgame. Instead of extremely loud music and hoards of hipsters, we get uptight businessmen and a store that’s impossibly clean. Way different, am I right?
Here are the eight emotional stages of shopping a J.Crew, because finding a chambray that won’t cost me my entire paycheck is an exhausting process.
1. The “Everything Is So Pretty” Stage
Walking into a J.Crew store is basically like stepping foot on your rich relative’s yacht. Everything is so perfect and color coordinated and lovely. It’s heaven.
Every time a sales associate tries to greet me, I’m too busy drooling over a new chambray and sweater set. Excuse me, but we’re having a moment here.
2. The “Hold On. I Can’t Afford That” Stage
Time to check a price tag. Oops. Bad idea. $75 for a button down? Are you kidding me? I mean, I could get it and not eat for an entire month, so there’s that.
Now, here comes the hard part. What do you do? You’re stuck at the front of the store, where everything is three times more expensive than you can actually afford. Do you keep gazing over it, hoping that someday, it might go on sale? Abandon all hope and leave? Looks like the sales rack is calling my name.
3. The “I’m Feeling Skeptical Because This Place Is Way Too Clean” Stage
J.Crew is known as a pretty clean-cut brand, but it might be a little too clean. I mean, how do they keep all those piles looking so nice and keep the fitting rooms go back free? I’m starting to become a bit skeptical. It’s nice, but how does it happen.
4. The “Is This Sweater Really Worth $80?” Stage
One of the hardest parts of shopping at J.Crew is falling in love with something expensive (so…pretty much anything that’s not on sale.) I mean, that sweater looks really, really nice. And that gray and sky blue combo looks so nice. And if it’s so expensive, it probably won’t shrink or rip, right?!
Nope, nope! Back away from the sweater! SIGH. Now, there are two options here: wait for it to go on sale or find a (way) cheaper (but maybe lower quality) version at Forever 21.
5. The “YES, The Extra 30% Off Markdown Is Back” Stage
Oh, this is basically a gift from God. After feeling pretty hopeless and broke, it’s time to go to the clearance section. AND EVERYTHING IS AN ADDITIONAL 30% OFF?! What did I do to deserve such a wonderful gift?
Sure, it’s mainly full of cover ups in the winter and wool sweaters in July, but who cares? It’s the one part of the store I can actually afford. Excuse me as I try on that cardigan in three different colors.
6. The “OMG. That Woman Is Me In 10 Years” Stage
One of the nice things about J. Crew is that it’s usually (knock on wood…) not full of obnoxious tweens who go to the mall for fun. So, there’s another completely different demographic here: soccer moms. SO many soccer moms.
“Wait, she’s not that much older than I am,” I think to myself as she tries to find a pair of chinos while pushing her three kids in a stroller. Wow. Yeah. This is a wake up call. Take me back to Limited Too, please.
7. The “Ugh. The Sales Associates Probably Hate Me Because I’m Only Buying Things Off The Sales Rack” Stage
As a former retail employee, I know the one thing sales associates need to do is sell. A lot. So, naturally, after spending 30 minutes trying on only items that are ridiculously marked down, they’re probably not the happiest of campers.
“Um…can I get this shirt in a size down,” I ask, my voice trembling with guilt. Look, please don’t offer me a $200 blazer that goes with this $15 skirt, because I will not be buying it. Sorry.
8. The “PLEASE Give Me The College Discount” Stage
Whew. After trying on 20 items from the clearance section, I’ve finally narrowed it down to three things I’m actually going to buy!
Oh, but hold on. There’s another discount here. In case you haven’t heard the good news, college students with an ID get an extra 15% off! It’s a give and take situation here. Sure, I get to save a few bucks, but I also feel like a total cheapskate.
“I have my college ID,” I ask with hesitation. Will they let me take 15% off of my already 30% off merchandise? The cashier accepts. Victory! After getting a giant bag full of $300 worth of clothes that I only choked up $40 for, I am a champion. I beat the system. And — no matter how expensive that store may be — I am not leaving empty handed. This, my friend, is what success looks like.
Images: J.Crew; Giphy (8)