This Mid-Michigan Millennial Has a Big Bone to Pick With Local Malls
Shopping for clothes as a woman is a chore in itself. However, as someone who is in their 20's, making that transition from "younger" stores to ones more geared toward women is a challenge.
A Shopping Center Style Slump
As more and more people move to shopping online, I have a theory, but first, I want to complain for a minute.
I have always prided myself on having a it more of a unique style. I absolutely love to go thrift shopping and shopping secondhand to find the things I like. However, I like to mix older items with trendier items so I need a mix of both mall stores and secondhand.
That's why when I go to a mall and try to find, "mom jeans" for example, I get frustrated.
There are so many options for the younger crowd at malls today. There's Forever 21, Rue 21, American Eagle Outfitters, etc. However, when it comes to style for adult women, there are few options, depending on the mall you go to.
For smaller malls, take Jackson's Westwood Mall, for example. The only option for WOMEN'S clothing is JC Penney.
I recently went to a mall in Westland, there were so few stores in general, but aside from bigger department stores like Kohl's and JC Penney, the only other option was a boutique.
Why is this frustrating? I have tried on 10, count 'em, TEN pairs of Jeans this past week, all from more teen-oriented stores. Shopping as a woman, with a woman's body, it's so defeating shopping at these stores and having everything fit so tight.
I am an adult, I don't like finding what I think is a cute store only to get looking at it and realizing it has some dumb quote about tacos across the front.
So why are there fewer and fewer options for women at brick-and-mortar shopping centers?
Here's My Theory About Malls
Marketing to adult women is hard, trying to get them physically into your store is even harder.
My theory is that these teen-oriented stores exist more in actual malls and are successful because going to the mall at that age is something a lot more teens do. They've got the time, they, typically, have more disposable income if they are making their own money and most of their money they have is in cash.
For adult women, we have careers, we have families, we have so many other obligations that we often don't have the time to go into physical stores or having to go to a whole mall, navigate your way to the store only to maybe not even find what you are looking for.
Adult women now have settled into their own styles and we are a bit more specific and intentional with the pieces we buy.
Between the time, convenience and specificity we look for, it is so much easier for adult women to shop online, hence why our stores are falling out of malls more and more, and sales move to their online options.
The Problem With This
So what are the women who prefer to shop in person supposed to do?
What about the people who have to try things on and don't have the time to constantly have to go to the post office and send out returns?
Trust me, I'm an avid online shopper but when it comes to certain things, like jeans, I have to try them on.
Maybe I'm just being picky and maybe this whole rant (that's honestly what this whole thing has been) is one of those "first world problems" kind of thing.
One thing still remains, it's disappointing to have our malls losing stores, being left with so many vacancies, having customers walking through with entire wings of your mall seeing all the gates that block off what used to be their favorite storefronts.
Maybe this is only a problem in smaller cities and that's probably true. We know when we go out and about, bigger cities have more brick-and-mortar options for shopping.
Basically, Mid-Michigan women just can't keep these malls afloat ourselves.
It is also disappointing and kind of confusing (from a body image standpoint) for adult women and men to have so few options when there used to be too many and only being able to find options at the few stores standing for teenagers.
When I was trying to find a cute pair of "mom jeans" I was especially getting frustrated because as a style that is marketing and lending itself to the "mom" vibe, the stores are making them more for a teen body than one that is...you know...of the age, weight, shape to actually BE a mom.
At the end of the day, I guess, thanks to the teens for keeping our malls afloat and a huge thank you to the employees of the women's-wear stores that are keeping them in-person and fabulous.