1. Self-imposed time limits. You tell yourself, “I can only spend 15 minutes in here, and then I’m out. It’s over. Whatever I didn’t see will have to be left as sacrifice to the fast fashion gods.”
2. Cut to 47 minutes later, and you’re still hunting in the recesses of the boho-flannel-lace-chic section, hellbent on finding that ONE skirt the model whose picture is on the wall is wearing.
3. Swear you’re only getting “the basics,” this time. Black leggings, white tees, jeans, maybe a floral pattern — in short, everything that is not cropped up to your underboob with words emblazoned across said boob.
4. But ohmigod, that one crop top looks just like what Miley wore, and you have a hidden sweet spot for one Ms. Cyrus.
5. Ask your friends to come with you, not because you’d like their company, but because A, they will tell you if something that looked cute on the hanger somehow translates into a torrential disaster on any given human body, and B, if you divide, you can conquer.
6. At some point in time, you will hear the disembodied voice of one Yeezy whispering forebodingly, “Rock Forever 21 but just turned thirt-aayyyyy” in your head.
7. Seriously consider wearing sequined fabric in places where sequins should never be.
8. Existential crises galore. How could it be that you wear a medium in that one dress, but a large in that sweater, and a small in those sweats?! HOW?!
9. Decide to get the sweats, and not even for vanity sizing reasons.
10. Apply the trademark Cher Horowitz Monet theory to entire clothing racks. If you shut your left eye really tightly and peek your right eye through your slatted fingers, it kind of sort of looks like that one outfit on that one model on the Saint Laurent runway.
11. Witness at least one Ikea-worthy fight between a girl with ombre hair and her increasingly exasperated boyfriend.
12. Get trapped in a dress in the fitting room when the zipper inexplicably breaks.
13. Gingerly worm your way out of said dress, because you will be damned if you spend $24.50 on something that has betrayed you before you even took it home.
14. Decide the girl who told you she got those really cute shorts here was either lying to you, or is a witch and can just summon the clutch pieces to her hand at will.
15. Contemplate if you actually need a fuzzy sweater, matching short short and peplum tank combo, a romper, and a dress with so many strategically placed cut outs that it must be coming from the Edward Scissorhands collection.
16. Debate on a pair of shoes that have an equal ratio between how cute they look and how much they will destroy your feet.
17. Seriously question if you’re getting tragically older, or if every other female on the planet has just gotten so. much. younger.
18. Find yourself humming along to some remix of a pop hit you’ve never heard befo… Wait. They’ve played this song already. How long have you been in here?
19. Still spend $157.25 at the register, even though the average price of a piece of clothing was $17, and you know you’ll only wear each piece a maximum of four times before it either breaks, gets a hole in it, or is ruined forevermore by the washing machine.
20. Swear you’re only going to go to Zara next time, the way grown up, responsible adults do when they get the urge to buy on trend. At the very least, you’ll promise to try H&M.
21. Spot the world’s cutest dress as you’re walking out of the store, large yellow plastic bag in hand. But no, it’s $37.50, and that is way too much to spend. Maybe next time, you tell yourself, knowing full well it will get lost in the abyss of fluorescent lights and 2-for-1 boot sales. If it’s meant to be, it will be.