Saturday, October 23, 2010

The retail blues.

I know there are a million land-locked, middle-of-nowhere-dwellers that would kill me for saying this, but I despise the King of Prussia mall. It's a mile away from my house, but I've reached a point where I'm near-protesting its existence. Yes, it's a nice place. Yes, it's convenient and has almost every store you could ever ask for (but seriously, could we get a Zara already? My faith would be restored. Just saying.)

If you aren't from this area, allow me to explain. The King of Prussia mall is [allegedly] the stuff that shopping dreams are made of. It boasts over 400 different stores, eight department stores, and none of that amusement park crap like the Mall of America. This is clean and simple retail euphoria. 2,793,200 square feet of it. That's a lot of floor space.

But the selection inside those walls is totally lacking. I head to the mall every couple of weeks, just to browse around and try things on and see what strikes my fancy. But nine times out of 10, I leave empty handed. I'm an infamously picky shopper, but seriously? Shouldn't a place as famed as the biggest mall on the east cost have something more to offer? If I was, say, an insecure 14 year old with no personal style, I'd be in heaven. Dark wash jeggings, ill-fitting miniskirts, and cotton cardigans in boring colors are everywhere. The mediocre picks appeal to the masses, which I understand is a safe bet for retailers. But while the store buyers are convincing middle-Americans to come in droves, they're simultaneously alienating fashion-forward shoppers. Unless, of course, you want to head to Neiman's and drop a cool couple grand on a few trendy pieces. Personally, I don't have that kind of cash.

Listen, all I want is for H&M to start stocking the awesome stuff that they generally reserve for their urban locations. Some strong shouldered jackets and faux fur, you know? I understand that those pieces don't sell as well, making it financially risky to put on the shelves. I get it, H&M, I do. 

But as the selection in the mall stays consistently crappy, they're going to lose me as a customer all together. I can't imagine I'm the only one around here to feel this way. In fact, I've overheard other trend-savvy shoppers lament about the options in KOP retailers. To compensate, I've begun to do my shopping in better locations -- Suburban Square, flea markets, and, most recently, downtown Philly.

Last Sunday I took the train into the heart of the city and waltzed around Walnut Street before I had to head back to the suburbs for work. And let me tell you, it was way more fun than a morning at the mall. I'm a strong believer that an ideal autumn afternoon is spent in dark denim and a cozy knit poncho. (Ironically, I picked mine up at the H& the mall.)

Hudson jeans, Jessica Simpson leopard flats, H&M poncho

Wouldn't you rather look at this than the inside of a mall while you're shopping?


Fajr | Stylish Thought said...

Hey Sam,
I'm a Philly girl and I too can't stand KOP! We should start a support club! But seriously I agree that the mall lacks character and all the stores are cookie cutter renditions of stuff I can find everywhere else.

If you ever come back into the city, we should hang out and shop down Old City which has a wealth of amazing boutiques all 10x more inspired than King of Prussia.

Loved this post btw!

GlamaRuth said...

Long ago, my husband was recruited by a firm outside of Philly, and one of the perks they told him was that the office was right by the KOP Mall! As a Philly girl, and general mall-naysayer, I laughed when he told me that.

poet said...

Oh, the issues with differently stocked stores depending on the affluence/centrality of the place! As a kid, I moved from a rather small town in the West of Germany to a rather big, but poor, city in what was formerly Eastern Germany. Two years after my arrival the local C&A (clothing chain store in Germany, don't know how wide-spread it is) had stocked up on the same clothes that stores in larger cities close to my former home town had been carrying on-sale when I went away... i.e. those were collections from about 3 years ago... no wonder people there got very frustrated with the differences between East and West. :)


claudia beetlestone said...

I'm from Philly too! I haven't been to KOP in forever! I don't remember it being that bad but then again my style changes and branches out really fast so maybe I just wasn't different (?) enough yet. I love Betsey Johnson but it way to much cash for me (I'm a bit broke...)
Last Saturday I went to Walnut street to really shop for the first time, I honestly am in love. Zara, H&M, and Urban Outfitters, ALL IN A ROW! I didn't go into any of the other shops because like I said, I'm broke.
And Suburban Square, the good stores are UO and Free People but that's it, I guess I'm a bit bored of it because I live two minutes from there and I go all the time.
PS. When I read this post I flipped because I knew what you were talking about! Every single part of it :D.
Claudia (a hardly insecure 14 year old WITH personal style)

Allison Joy said...

I'm so glad you brought it around at the end with a shopping trip in the city. I'm a city girl myself, and I loathe shopping malls. I almost break out into hives if I have to spend too much time in one! H&M is one of my faves but if you can't get to a place like that, I highly recommend stores like TJ Maxx, Marshall's and Filene's Basement for interesting and unique things you might not generally find at the mall. Plus, the prices are great!

Look forward to reading more :)

PS - My latest outfit post is a poncho too! Love them!
MANIC in The City