The loud music and smell of cheap perfume, the feelings of irritation and insecurity; it reminds me of my 20s. But wait. This isn’t MY 20s. It’s my daughter’s TEEN years, and it’s when I go shopping with her at Forever 21.
The shop is HUGE. The florescent lights and loud music don’t create any kind of harmonious atmosphere. If anything, it creates an ambiance of ‘I want to get the hell out of here’ atmosphere. The clothing is shoved onto overcrowded metal rounders. Mediocre craftsmanship at best. Probably some poor Asian sweat shop stitched them together. The clothing is sometimes ripped or shredded. And that’s on purpose.
You ask, if I hate it so much, why go? Well, because she doesn’t fit into Gymboree clothes anymore, and the last time I tried to coordinate her tights with her headband, she was still growing in her front teeth.
Now we are in full blown teen years. So we like to be cool and on trend (to a point). And that means, shopping where the cool kids shop. Well, cool kids on a budget. Because the other place they shop is Lululemon and Nordstrom, and ain’t nobody got time for that- or money really. So this is the best we can do.
If you have to navigate such a store as Forever 21 with your teen, tween, or even 20 something offspring- here’s my advice:
1. Bring wine. Really. This will help you induce the coping mechanisms that need to be in place when shopping with a teen anyway. The music is so loud you might as well start numbing your senses with alcohol.
2. Bring a chair. That’s right. Just a camping chair will do. You might get some funny looks, but then other parents will see what a genius you are. There isn’t a single sitting surface in this store. It’s 2000 square feet of crammed racks of cheap ass clothes, and not one bench. What if old people are shopping with their grand kids? Seriously, you will want to sit down while it takes an hour for your child to wander through all the merchandise. But you can’t. So bring a chair.
3. Bring earplugs. See #1.
4. Wear comfortable shoes. If you forget your chair to sit on, at least wear comfortable shoes. This will help when standing in that horrific line that weaves throughout bins of $2 nail polish and neon vinyl cosmetic pouches.
5. If your daughter is taking too long to decide on which mullet skirt she’ll look cute in, start trying on hats and jewelry in the accessories section. Just pile them on and speak in a loud voice. It won’t be long for your daughter to send you out of the store and want to get the hell out of there for sheer embarrassment.
6. Be sure to have your daughter try on the clothes before buying them. It’s an exchange only policy. So you’ll have to come BACK to the store and shop for more things instead of just getting your money back if it ends up not fitting. Do it right the first time. Trust me.
7. Sometimes there’s a line for the dressing room, and there’s definitely no little chairs or benches like at Ann Taylor Loft. So refer to #2 and get out that chair while you wait.
8. In all seriousness, find someone with a driver’s license that you trust your child in the care of and send them along with lots of cash. Tell them you have a migraine. And just stay home while they go instead.
9. Drink more wine.
10. Hope and pray that there’s a CEO out there that some day, will come up with a store that girls will WANT to shop in and it’s affordable, pleasant, and mimosas are served on trays for the moms, with plenty of seating and comfy couches. I will buy stock in that utopia if it ever exists.
God speed moms everywhere.