The Mall Has Lost Its Mojo (Or Is It Me?)

I was getting a pedicure at a salon inside the Melbourne Square Mall yesterday, so I decided to take a look around at the fashions. Hoo boy, not much to write home/blog about.

There were probably eight stores catering strictly to teens (Charlotte Russe, American Eagle, Aeropostale, et al.) Nothing for me there, unless I want to rock the flannel shirt or micro shorts.

Dick’s is a sporting goods store. Not a leather-and-chains store.

The anchor stores are Macy’s, Dillard’s, and J.C. Penney. These are the department stores that carry a bit of “everything”, except for original, energizing pieces. Of the three biggies, Penney’s has the best selection of casual wear, with their MNG and Joe Fresh lines (cute tee). Still, nothing that made me want to pull out the VISA. Not even on deep, deep clearance. I still love the Sephora inside Penney’s though.

The MNG line has some pieces I like. From Europe to me!

There’s a lot of sameness as you wander the aisles. You will find a great selection of bras and leggings, and robes and jeans – so if you’re a fit challenge or need a certain color undergarment, the Mall stores are grand. For inspiration or a WOW experience, you have to go farther afoot, at least in my humble opinion.

So much same-ness around every corner. Source.

So I had a low-fat, low-sugar yogurt at the Food Court (cholesterol!). I sat and people-watched for a while. Then I headed to the Molly Mutt thrift shop where I picked up a vintage Harve Benard bracelet/watch for $2:

The Mall is still a great place to meet my sister for an Auntie Anne’s pretzel and Coke. The nail salons are fast and good. But for original styles I prefer Etsy, thrifts, consignment stores, eBay, and funky boutiques. How about you? Where do you find most of your lovely looks?

Have a groovy day and stay fabulous,

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  1. Totally agree with you! That's my closest mall, too, except replace one Dillard's with Target and the other with Sears. One difference is that above the Dick's we have a Costco. So 75% of our mall visits are for either Target or Costco. Maybe even 95%!

    The only mall chains I ever pop into occasionally are Gap, J. Crew and Madewell and that's mainly if I'm looking for denim or casual basics. At The Fancy Mall, I'll browse the Nordstrom.

  2. Isn't that sad? I see that happening at Coach. Too bad, when it could be such a wonderful place.
    I think they stare at you 'cause you're so pretty! But I get it.

  3. Oh thanks – but the Coach store is a mausoleum – nobody goes in there b/c the prices are so high (no discounts) and the staff stare at you the whole time : >

  4. Okay … I just popped over to your mall's site to see what you actually have! I'm sorry, I'd be in heaven with a Macy's, a Gap, a WHBM and a COACH. You have a Coach shop in your local mall. I'm giddy at the thought. I'd trade you places in a heartbeat but I like you too much to wish Sweaty Old Nowhere on you!
    Harumph. One man's trash, etc.

  5. Since malls are my best bet here, I'm still a customer. For me, it's always the challenge of making the most of big-box shopping. I have to contend that there's some creativity in that, especially for women of my age and income. I was prowling a bit yesterday, but am saving for better pickings to come … it's very early here. We are still in the midst of late summer clearances and back to school stuff. I'm looking at shoes, though (no surprise there, eh?) because my size goes fast. Short list this year, and that's good!
    I get weary of being the only mall-rat among most of the Vis Monday-ers. As stultifying as the malls are here, the few little boutiques are as bad or worse (same stuff, higher prices), and the second hand shops are so dismal that I despair. Low population in poor economic areas = the same crap clothes from big boxes offered second hand but worn to death.
    Things are better north of us in a recently booming area, but still 1.5 hours away.
    No doubt, I envy all the creative outlets that vintage and good consignment so many of you enjoy. I persevere, and remind everyone that opportunities for creativity are everywhere, even in the malls. I'm sure I miss opportunities even in our low-quality second hand stores here.

  6. I'm not a fan of the mall here. When my kids were younger the mall was the place to be (for them) – and there were a lot more stores in it for me to spend some time browsing while they hung out with friends. Now I rarely go there. Once a year, maybe.

  7. Wholeheartedly agree. Give me a thrift store or boutique anyway

  8. Most mall are so youth-driven that they have little to offer the non-teen set, and even if they do the wares are, as you suggest, generic at best. Some malls in Toronto like Bayview Village and to an extent Yorkdale, are trying to brand themselves luxury retailers, meaning their stuff is pricey, though albeit higher quality. I have worked and written about malls for years, and though I find them oddly fascinating (Paco Underhill's "The Call of the Mall" is still a fave), I never shop them. Etsy, ebay, charity shops, and independent shops are where I hang my shopping hat mostly. Xo

  9. I buy my clothes from major retailers that are at all the malls but I actually do not enjoy going to the mall. My local mall is a tourist destination (they have tours that bring you there) and it's just too crowded for my liking. I typically just go to return things.


  10. I have a regional mall that I like. It's not the most upscale – a vanilla variety Macy's, a Penny's, Target, a JoAnne's and various nail places and teen stores. There is a grocery in the complex as well. I like it because it's almost one-stop shopping.

  11. Oh my gosh! I'm so OVER the mall! Truly, thrifting has ruined me for the mall in particular, and retail in general. The quality just isn't there for the price point and everything is the same. I love my wardrobe more now than ever and it's 99% thrifted. The mall will never hold the appeal for me that it once did.

  12. I am going to be the lone voice on this thread to say…I like the malls. There are still many stores where you can find unique pieces and some of the best prices I found this summer were at the malls….NYDJ for $10 at Dillards!! Seriously, most resale won't beat that. I love to shop the mall, resale, thrift, all of it to find the best out there…and I am not going to discount any of these options. We need them all. There are plenty of stores in the mall with stylish selections for women 40+…you just have to know what your style is and what you want to communicate and you can find it. Thank goodness we have options!

  13. The bad thing about Macy's is that it's all brand names .. so I don't particularly want to advertise for the brand .. I mean, if I bought it .. isn't that enough .. apparently not. I do enjoy shopping at Anthropology (expensive as it is) .. but in general malls are all the same no matter where you go .. no uniqueness.


  14. Its not you, malls the world over look the same, maybe different names but full of uninspiring stuff made cheaply offshore. Give me a small owner operated store or good consignment or vintage store anyday.

  15. It won't be any surprise to you to know that I never shop in our city's shopping centre. The photo you showed of the clothing racks just sums it up for me – uninspiring, everything looks the same, dull, no creativity or flair…. Charity and secondhand shops, vintage, markets, that's where I go for my clothes, and for some interest, variety and individuality.
    Love your watch! xxx

  16. I agree that malls have lost their allure. Used to be when I was a teen we'd go down to the mall to "hang out." That was….eeek! too many years ago to mention. LOL

    Up until about 2-3 years ago I still shopped in them. Now though, I really can't stand them and rarely venture into one. It's all the same. There is no challenge. It doesn't excite me. A good consignment/thrift store, a lovely vintage boutique those get my heart pumping.


  17. Totally agree! In fact I find my soul shrivelling the more time I spend inside a noisy, claustrophobic, crowded, smelly mall. I only venture in for sports goods, kids' toys and fabric! Xo JJ

  18. I avoid Malls at all costs. There seems to be nothing between trendy teenybopper and boring grandma. There's a whole world of style in between, but you'll never find it there. Boutiques and vintage stores in out-of-the-way places are where to find the most interesting pieces.

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