Forever 21: Everyone says you’re tacky and cheap, but you, my friend. You know better. You know that this is just a phase, and that there is no way you’re actually going to spend solid money on ivory crochet booty shorts because in a year’s time, you’re going to be too classy for this. You aren’t sentimental with your clothes, and if you ruin something, it doesn’t matter. Dressing, to you, is a matter of practicality — or, really, as practical as having sequins on your crotch will ever be.
J. Crew: You either: A) live in a town with a still-functioning country club; have a great-aunt named Muffy, Kitty, or Bunny; and occasionally say something that screams #onepercentproblems; or B) are actually covered in tattoos, would probably get yourself kicked out of one of those country clubs, and “get your kicks” out of “subverting the status quo.”
Zara: You have champagne wishes on a Martinelli’s budget, even though you often lose sight of the fact that yeah, Martinelli’s is still some pretty fancy stuff to be drinking all the time. You say you’re getting a deal, but the rest of the world knows you’re still above the cusp of practicality when it comes to spending your money. Keep dreaming that Celine dream, baby. One day, you’ll be able to afford the REAL Trapeze bag.
Chanel: You walked in here once to check out a lipstick or a nail polish, because you figured you might as well have the REAL experience anyway, right? You idolize Holly Golightly (the movie version, not the book, even though she didn’t even wear Chanel in the film) and your Tumblr is filled with smoky black and white photos of old French film stars. You tell people you understand the subversion of all that egregious double-C branding, but so help you God, you are going to leave this world with a 2.55 to your name or you are going to die trying.
H&M: Forever 21 for slightly more grown up people (so like, Forever 25? Maybe?) You find yourself perusing all the trendy stuff, trying to talk yourself into the #businesscore suiting section, only to wind up with five more heathered tees and a pair of $20 jeans every time. And when you see a price tag that goes beyond your $40 cap you realize that you’re turning into your mother, because lol like hell are you paying that much money total in this store, let alone on one item.
Nike: You can’t even… you don’t have the tiiiiiiime to be dealing with this nonsense. You need your sneakers, your leggings that double as work pants if you tuck them into boots, and a variety of other tanks and tees that might be a little funny here and there, but serve the ultimate purpose of keeping you comfortable, mobile, and ready to take whatever on, whenever you need to. You either go to the gym every morning at 5 am, or have not set foot in a gym ever and just want to be at peak comfort when sitting on your couch and mainlining Netflix.
Gap: Like H&M, but for people who actually have enough savvy to not only have their lives together, but also the lives of the people around them. You are the mom of your friend group and you make absolutely less than zero apologies.
Target: Come for the $20 bathing suits, stay for the 4-for-1 on Bounty towels! You’re no-nonsense, savvy, and honestly do not understand why anyone would go anywhere else. There’s 6 packs of undershirts AND vacuum filters! Sometimes you brave the early hours for designer collaborations and feel way on your game, but most of the time, you’re happy with a savvy pair of Mossimo booties because half of your glory is paying 1/8 the price for the same thing everyone else is currently rocking.
Express: You tell yourself you’re just going to go for the sale bins, but wind up strangely drawn to the array of party dresses you just can’t help but want. They’re so shiny, so spangly, so sparkly! And while you know that you really should not give into an aesthetic that is vaguely reminiscent of a European nightclub, I mean… wait, the same cut comes in 5 colors? You’ll take them all.
Online shopping retailers: You are a risky son-of-a-gun, and either really trust yourself that you’re going to be able to get your butt to the post office and ship your clothes back if they’re not what you bargained for, or you chalk it up to loss and regift all the error (okay, drunk) purchases on your younger cousins’ birthdays. But really, the risk is all part of the fun, and who doesn’t like anticipating little presents coming in the mail?!
Thrift stores: You got remarkably peeved at the concept of “normcore” – there is an art to what you do, and to slap a label on your bargain-hunting ways is downright rude. Whenever anyone tells you how much they spent on their clothes, you laugh outright because it was probably more than what you spent on your whole outfit. You have patented methods in finding “the good stuff” and will only share these skills with the people whom you truly love. No one else deserves to know.
Macy’s: You are willing to put up with a whole host of sins — crammed clothing racks, mad crowds, the kind of perfume floor that would suffocate an elephant, salespeople who would clearly rather be anywhere else but here — for two things: 1) massive sales, and the coupons that net you even more bargains; and 2) the Auntie Anne’s pretzel you get at the kiosk directly outside the store.
Coach: Hon, can we get you help?