Moving Past the Middle School Moose
Molly Barrecca, Opinions Editor
April 13, 2012 • 21 views
Filed under Opinions
I had my epiphany in theStamfordmall.
I was doing some post holiday shopping, trying to thin my wallet of the multitude gift cards from various relatives, when I came upon one gift card that sent me back in time. A big white moose on a navy blue background.
I was instantly brought back to 2008. As I walked into Abercrombie & Fitch, I was surrounded by a wave of spicy cologne, and lighting so dark I could barely see my hand in front of my face, let alone the clothes. A girl dressed in jeans and the tightest T-shirt I had ever laid eyes on greeted me as she folded shirt after shirt, only to have them all lie crumpled on dressing room floors just minutes later.
I flitted around the store, picking up sweaters and jeans, and virtually everything that sported a giant moose. Because, after all, what’s the point of buying this stuff if the brand isn’t plastered all over it?
Now, in 2012, I face a much different dilemma.
Abercrombie and Fitch has transformed from the utopia I once ran to each time I entered the mall into the store that causes me to hold my nose as I walk by. This is not simply the fact that I turn up my nose at their clothing but more a reflection on my growth as both a customer and as a teenager.
First of all, I don’t go shopping with the intentions of listening to blaring techno music. If I wanted to do that, I would purchase my clothes at Terminal 5. While I shop, I prefer being able to hear my own thoughts. This is a clothing store, not a rave.
Second, I have come to realize the sheer impracticality of the posters they hang on the walls to entice their customers. I’m sorry, but lying in the middle of the woods in nothing but jeans is just plain stupid.
Finally, Abercrombie’s most defining characteristic: The smell. Years ago, people actually chose to forgo washing their shirts for a few weeks just to keep that faint scent of Abercrombie wafting about them.
Now, the smell gives me a migraine.
The scent is a mixture of spicy “I’m trying too hard” in addition to “I’m in middle school.” Sure, they may have provocative names like “Fierce”…but to me the scent of Abercrombie just screams “Prepubescent”. Not to mention the fact that someone’s job is literally to walk around and spray the various articles of clothing with perfumes that attract tweens like moths to a flame.
You can easily search out the nearest Abercrombie simply by the smell, which drifts through the mall as a constant reminder that at one point or another, you actually thought this store was cool.
I finally worked up the courage to walk into A&F on my last mall trip. As I plopped down in one of the comfy leather chairs, usually reserved for the parents who get dragged into the store by their moose-loving tweens, I realized my personal metamorphosis.
Around me were the girls who still wear their bat mitzvah sweatshirts and leggings with pride as they search for the biggest moose on any article of clothing in the store. And then there was me, desperately searching for something, ANYTHING that didn’t have “Abercrombie and Fitch” plastered anywhere. I was an outsider in this once familiar world.
Looking at where I was sitting was my first indicator… I had confined myself to the “parent chairs.” I no longer wanted to be a part of the chaos that ensues in this store. I sound like a mom, but really, I’ve just become someone who no longer loves the Disney Channel or who no longer wants to wrestle with a Sugar Lip tank top each morning before school. I look in the strategically placed mirrors of this hell and no longer see the girl who once loved this store. That time has come and gone.
Although walking into Abercrombie literally sends chills down my spine, it took a bottle full of perfume and the constant loop of Cascada to make me realize how much I have grown up from middle school to high school. And for that, I guess I owe the creators of Abercrombie a thank you.