Home for the holidays? Welcome to the world of blitz shopping, otherwise known as mall madness. No, not the Milton Bradley board game from 1988. We’re talking real life strip malls stocked with Panda Express, Cinnabon and those overzealous kiosk clerks who try to sell you two-tone ponytail extensions.
If you happen to find yourself staring at the mouth of a Hot Topic or the blinking lights of Claire’s, buck up. We’re here to help you navigate the Wild West without losing your mind. After all, a seasoned shopper can survive in even the most barren lands.
Hot Topic: Beeline for the high-waisted denim selection from LOVEsick and Cello, and avoid everything else — at all costs.
Express: Pencil skirts and sweatshirt pairings are the way to go here, and if you’re lucky, you may find a pair of high-heel sandals that you can wear for two hours max. That whole beauty is pain thing is overrated.
Gap: Basics and classic sweaters have always been a mainstay at Gap, but keep your eyes peeled for moto jackets or kicky leather skirts inspired by The Mod Squad.
Aeropostale: Surprise! Aeropostale carries Superga sneakers. Go to town, and mix and match with the retailer’s selection of dainty lace ruffle crew socks.
Buckle: Two words: Nixon watches.
Bebe: Don’t let the embellished clutches blind you. Stay focused, and stick with Bebe Sport workout gear (without the logo). Then get the hell out of Dodge.
Charlotte Russe: Load up on minimalistic accessories from simple crossbody purses to pared-down jewelry, and leave the statement pieces for the teenyboppers lip-synching Taylor Swift.
American Eagle Outfitters: Who knew AE had name brand footwear? Here you can find Keds, Dr. Martens and Tretorn along with a cute range of winter hats and gloves.
Wet Seal: It’s all about distressed jeans and aviators. Just get in and get out before the middle schoolers stampede the screen print tees.
Claire’s: The more adventurous jewelry, like cuff earrings, are on display here as well as all your 90s favorites, including anklets, toe rings, mood rings and chokers. When in Rome…
Delia’s: If you need a pair of Converse sneakers or Sperry flats, by all means, have at it. If not, pop a squat in the food court and reward yourself with a cookie.