See You at Chicos

18th April 2006

One of the most surprising things about turning thirty is how my pulse no longer quickens when I pass an H& M. I feel like I need to fortify myself before entering, the very idea of it exhausts me.

The only way I can now face this store is with a Power Bar in my pocket, and a machete to clear a path through the racks of anemic hippy cotton. I wander from item to item, tilting my head at a blouse, trying to figure out how it fastens, or recoiling from the exact multi-tiered ruffle skirt that I wore in my Welcome to the Dollhouse days. I spend three hours there and emerge with a pair of earrings and a pressing sense of disquiet.

420 thoughts on “See You at Chicos

  1. mihow

    My pulse no longer quickens when I pass H&M either. That must be why I’m gaining so much weight.

    Oh to have my teenage metabolism back again.

    It also helps that the H&M in SoHo is so crowded it’s damn near impossible to get in. That’s a heckuva lot of skinny people!

    Also, Weiner Dog is the best.

  2. Milly

    I never understood all the hype about H&M. I’ve never found anything that I like there. But then again, I’m a 30-somthing woman, so I guess I don’t relate so much anymore. BTW, I like you’re new site design. :o)

  3. Danielle

    Christ on crutches… I received 3 giftcards for that terrifying inferno of clothes made to show off your bones for Christmas and purchased the following: a shirt I wore for New Year’s and then promptly left on a statue in Boston, a long beaded necklace, and a shirt I bought because it just looked good on the mannequin and I was too disgruntled to try it on. No, it didn’t fit. It = a purse now.

  4. Jennifer

    I can’t stand H&M either – it gives me chest pains.

    Now Forever 21 – I love. Same quality for less money than H&M. I love the one in SF that takes up the old bank space. I must admit that I wasn’t fond of F21 in NYC – the merchandising wasn’t nearly as good (e.g. dressy on one floor, casual on another, etc.).

  5. Vaguely Urban

    Also recently 30, I find my interest has similarly retrenched. It’s still great for jackets, coats, and zip-up cardigans, though! (And, as you say, accessories.)

    btw, because of you I now have an addiction to shirts of bamboo! They ARE that soft, and the colors are so gorgeous. Really, who needs H&M?

  6. LC

    BEWARE!! Chico’s is the last step on the road to Land’s End. Good Lord deliver us from tankinis, no matter what our age.

  7. carmen

    Hah. When I got to the H&M part I was like “Ooh, a link.” Over here in the igloo capital of the world (Vancouver), we don’t have that store. I saw it for the first time in Spain and I spent far too many euros. I have to admit, I can’t help but succumb to the temptations of capitalism…

  8. Kate

    I hear you! I live in a backwater not big enough for an H&M, so when I was in Chicago I walked gleefully into the H&M and left nearly in tears. When did I get so fat and OLD? As for Chico’s, I’ve promised myself never to go there– or at least as long as I still have something approximating a waist. Ann Taylor is my girl these days. Woo-hoo! I enver thought a place like that would quicken my pulse. :)

  9. Keight

    Dooooode… H&M is doooooooooooooooooom. Dooooooooooooooooom. Dooooooooom. We need the UK’s great el-cheapo high street stores that are fashionable but have things women in their thirties want to shop in. I vote for Dorothy Perkins and then Top Shop. I am still in grad school and can’t afford to buy “real” clothes, and don’t want to dress like an H&M-bot. Doooooooooooooooooooooooooooom!

  10. estella

    I’m exactly 30 and I don’t even know what H&M is. I’m officially filing it away in the “Don’t Worry, Everything’s Okay” section of my brain, along with any clothing made by pop stars and the last seven seasons of The Real World.

  11. Megan

    Hell we don’t even like h&m here in the UK. Isn’t topshop coming to you soon? Look forward to it…their sizes come up so big!

  12. lauren

    i lived by a chicos once .. i was like, oh look! pull-on cropped pants! oh, look big shirts! i’d just had a baby and thought that store was great… then i caught a flash of my reflection in a shop window while i was out one day in my chico duds … not good, ladies. not good AT ALL.

  13. 6degrees

    I’ll be thirty-seven this summer, but I swear, after turning thirty, something broke. There is the surreptitious aches and lack of energy, definitely. Personally, I have all but totally lost my sense of style for dress. My concept of what is socially acceptable for stylish casual that works for everyday life, or chained to my cube at the office, is lost. This is my cry, my plea for help. Of course being a husband and father, shopping at Target or Wal- Mart has become a necessity for financial reasons. I haven’t stepped into a nice clothing store for so long, I wouldn’t even know where to begin. I would probably be so overwhelmed by my incredible lack of fashion sense that I would end up buying nothing but a small bottle of Polo and leave. That would be my level of comfort zone… Sad, sad case, me.

  14. Jaclyn

    The only reason my pulse quickens with respect to H&M is when I am forced to enter. Clocking in at a whopping 20 years of age, still nothing in that store fits me. I’m not unusually built, I just have all those pesky feminine features that it seems so preposterous to cut for in women’s clothing.

    You know, like, hips. Thighs. Breasts. Those sorts of absurdities.

  15. Lulufadoo

    Late twenty-somethings and early thirty-somethings live in a demographic netherworld. Neither able to shop at Urban Outfitters/H&M or J. Jill. I second the nomination for British/European high street el cheapo shops: Mango all the way!

  16. Lulufadoo

    My first comment on your shiny new website and it’s hopelessly mis-punctuated! My apologies.

  17. sarah

    i’m 37 but (and don’t hate me) pass for 30 on most days and if i wear my cashmere hoodie and cargo jeans with a hat and shades, i’m 25.

    i find that anthropologie and white house/black market are where i’m buying my clothes with some Calvin Klein and DKNY here and there.

    I can’t find anything in H&M. Ann Taylor is where i would shop if i had to go to an office every day. Oh, Kenneth Cole. I shop there a lot. The sales are good.

    as for truly inexpensive clothes, I go to Filene’s and kill a few hours trying to find the few things that might fit right.

    J.Jill??? No offense, but when my 55 year old aunt is buying her shorts and my mom is getting her blouses there, i am not buying a GD thing from that store (but i’m really skinny, so that may be part of it). a friend of mine has a nice linen shift dress from there. but she dresses older.

  18. Erin

    I’ve never heard of H&M until this post, and then I visited kottke.org and he links to a story about Prada and H&M. I’m learning so much about H&M all in one morning! I’m gathering from everyone’s comments that it’s sort of like Forever 21, which is a store I’m familiar with and that has some cute clothes, though they always look haggard on me.

  19. Coelecanth

    Admittedly I’m not really qualified for this discussion, something about that Y chromosome don’t ya know. But I do think that getting older isn’t all that bad.

    Sure some things aren’t as exciting, but oh the peace of mind a little experience and perspective brings. I turn forty this year and seeing the dramas that my 20 something employee’s are going through I well, revel, for lack of a better word, in the stability of my life.

    It’s not that I don’t have problems and worries, but these days they mostly consist of bigger issues than fashion. I know what I like and wear it without hesitation or apology and count myself lucky to be able to cross that particular concern off my list of worries. Mind you, us guys have less pressure in these things so maybe I’m talking out my asterisk.

  20. Her Ladyship

    Amen, sister! But H&M is still good for cheap crap jewelry and hair accessories. Bonus: no waiting in the Line that Time Forgot to try on your chosen items.

  21. Heather B.

    I used to spend way too much time in H&M before it was all over the country (read, only in NY), now that it’s everywhere, I’m bored with it. But whomever mentioned TopShop has the right idea. There was one in Madrid down the block from an H&M and I was obsessed with it. The stuff at TopShop is phenomenal.

  22. Megan

    Here the H&Ms are so small, so crowded, but so so cheap…I just have to go in.

    But only after a few glasses of wine.

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