Posted by Amy | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 31-10-2011
Shopping for me has always been filled with anxiety. The crazy Fat Girl that lives inside my head gets to live in all her glory when I step foot inside a retail clothing shop. One of my greatest fears in life is to be confronted by a sales person who, with mocking cheerfulness declares “Oh honey, we don’t carry anything in your size”. Can you just imagine? I’m getting the shakes just thinking about it.
I recently had the opportunity to shop completely anxiety free (well, mostly anyway). I’m doing some work for Cookie’s The Kids Department Store and they invited me to their Fulton Street store for a little spree on them!
I have three nieces whom I’m over the moon about. They are the brightest, funniest, prettiest girls on the planet, natch. S is 8, T is 7 and the Baby is OMG almost 2. And I’ll fess up right now, I’ve been a Lazy Auntie when it comes to gift buying. See, they’ve lived overseas for the past 5 years and I could never quite get the international shipping thing right so my gifts were always late. Yeah, that’s right, I was the Lame Auntie with the gift cards. Now that their back in the States, I can shop and gift like there’s no tomorrow!
Not only can I shop and gift, I can actually be in their lives rather than a voice on the phone. I saw them recently and T and S were running around like lunatics, jumping in and out of the pool, rambling about soccer, and swim class and gymnastics and if they were going to take karate. My inner Fit Girl BEAMED. Beamed I tell you, and mentally calculated if there was a soccer team I could join just to be with them in spirit. I was the chubby girl who got pick last for every team in gym class. It was right at this age that I started getting teased and dropped out of things like soccer and swimming. Inner Fit Girl declared in righteous Scarlet O’Hara fashion “As god is my witness, they shall ALWAYS LOVE FITNESS!”
I started thinking, besides the obviously role model stuff of, you know, not equating weight and self worth, how can I be a part of and encourage a healthy lifestyle for my girls? Hm. I live a bit far away to coach soccer or be at their games regularly. I could have them come to races I run. OMG I COULD SHOP FOR FITNESS FASHION! Fashion and fitness have been heavy in my mind lately, but that is another blog post, alas.
So, here I am with the opportunity to do some kiddie shopping and an opportunity to make a difference for the girls. Two opportunities collide! As I walked into Cookie’s, I had my plan – cute fashion to complement their fitness activities. Booya.
Cookie’s is in the Fulton Street Mall. It’s not a “mall” really, it’s not a giant enclosed building subdivided into shops but rather a whole street of just retail shops, blocks upon blocks of retail shops. There’s everything from electronics to high end clothing. And yes, even tho I was on a mission I had to pop into a few shoe stores along the way cause Holy Pumps Batman, there are some cute shoes out this fall.
must not get distracted by shoes. must not get distracted by shoes.
I used to live in this area of Brooklyn a few years ago and, boy, do I miss it. It’s very urban, bustling, noisy, full of energy. Prospect Park is close by, as is Brooklyn Academy of Music and the ethnic diversity, as reflected in the restaurants, is staggering. You can get everything from vegan cupcakes to Southern BBQ.
must not get distracted by food. must not get distracted by food. oh look cute shoes!
I live out in the suburbs now, with big lawns and strip malls and I’m always struck by the difference between urban shopping and suburban shopping and walking into Cookie’s smacked me in the face with that difference. The store is packed!
Tiny aisles and product crawling up the walls to the ceilings. In a suburban mall, especially in the Big Box shops, there’s enough room to pitch a tent and tailgate with a couple hundred of your closest friends in the aisle between underwear and floor cleaner. That’s not the urban shopping experience. Aisles barely exist and you often have to suck in your gut to get through. I have no clue how you would shop in there with kids and a stroller.
Cookie’s is visual over load. There are puddles of color and texture everywhere. Splotches of pink, yellow screams over there, purple busts out on your left. I planned to do a few laps of the store just to get oriented.
Well, that didn’t work well. Cookie’s on Fulton is massive – the main room featuring Girls clothes spills into the Dressy section which leads to another section and OMG there is an upstairs? Wait and a down stairs too? Oh no. I feel a bit of anxiety creeping in now. How am I going to manage all this stuff? Then it dawns on me that I don’t know the first thing about shopping for kids clothes. I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT SIZE THEY WEAR. Quick text to the sister-in-law and I’m saved.
I look around this massive labyrinth of fashion and I don’t know where to start. Then I notice that there are sales people about every 50 feet. When I shop in the burbs, there are never sales people. Never. Which is generally a good thing as I don’t want Crazy Inner Fat Girl getting activated by being called fat by a sales lady.
I get pointed in the right direction and stumble upon a Puma baby tiny track suit and OMG toddler sized yoga pants!
I’m just picturing babies in Child’s Pose. After about a half hour of pawing thru some of the cutest stuff ever, I realize I’m not even in the right section. I’m thinking that a 2 year old, wears “Size 2″ that would make sense right? But after checking with my text, I need to find “24 M”. What the hell does that mean? Helpful sales girl gets me headed in the right direction, again, when it happens.
FORMAL WEAR FOR BABIES?
Yeah, I know kids get dressed up but to see an entire wall of dresses and OMG SUITS just about had me falling over with the C-U-T-E. I mean seriously, is there anything more cute that a little man dressed up in a three piece suit with a tie for goodness sakes. And of course the girl dresses had to be cuter than the suits and I think I lost another 20 minutes ooing and ahing. The Formal Wear department went from babies to young ladies and is crazy extensive in choice of style and color. A few years ago I shopped for Easter dresses for the older girls and was really disappointed by the choices. During a major holiday season there were like 12 dresses to choose from. Here there seems to be hundreds.
STOP THE PRESSES!
Baby shoes as far as the eye can see. Is it wrong to want to have a baby just to buy baby shoes???
must not get distracted by shoes. must not get distracted by shoes.
I finally make it to the Infant section. And I have to be honest, I was a bit disappointed by the selection. Sure the stuff was cute, but the 12-24month section seemed to be the tiniest section in the whole shop. Nothing was really speaking to me. Until I found this mandarin collar hot pink faux leather jacket. Holy Smokes, it went right into the basket. I then took two steps and took it right out again. I did not want a repeat of the raised-eye-brow-horrified-look-what-were-you-thinking reaction like with I bought the Betsy Johnson romper when the oldest was born. Oy.
Then I crossed the aisle and rays of glory descending upon high spotlighting two whole racks of footsie jammies. Yup, I’ll admit it. I own footsie jammies in adult size. And no, I’m not posting a pic of that. After being disappointed that the piggie jammies did not come in the Baby’s size, I settled for penguins and frogs. Not as cool as piggies, but I don’t think she’ll hate me forever.
Now, back to S and T! I was really kind of expecting to find a fitness section for kids. I don’t know what I was thinking. I mean, you walk into any adult clothing shop and there is always a fitness section, of course there would be one for kids right? Apparently no. I guess you go to a sports shop for that? I’m going to have to investigate further. They had a really well stocked dance section, but the girls aren’t taking dance right now so, even though the tutus were calling me I moved on.
S and T are a year apart in age. They’re not twins obviously, but we do tend to buy them similar items. It cuts down on the drama and the “your stuff is cuter than my stuff” issue. Cookie’s just started carrying a whole line of Hello Kitty gear and I found sweat suits in two different colors that they could choose from. And they sparkle, and you can never go wrong with sparkle.
I also stumbled on two different soccer themed T-shirt that I thought would be a great way to tie fashion and sports together. I know they run around in leggings all the time and at $3.99 I wanted to snatch up a pair in every color they had, but settled on pink and black. No need to be greedy.
As I headed up to the register area (which was kind of untidy and confusing. There were pillars in the way so you couldn’t see each register. One of the check out girls kept yelling “NEXT” and I couldn’t see her or where I was supposed to go) I walked by racks and racks of socks, tights and undies. Silver Diva socks and Pink ruffles somehow found their way into my bag. I don’t know how that happened.
As I was piling up all the stuff on the counter, I got really nervous. This was a giant pile of clothes, and I’m kind of working on a budget here. When the final total flashed on the register, I was pretty shocked. $101.90. The last time I shopped for S and T I got like 2 dresses and matching tights for well over $50.
Cookie’s has a great online shop also with toys and school uniforms. I didn’t even make it off the first floor to check out that selection in the store. It’s totally worth a trip into Brooklyn for some power shopping, but I would recommend that you don’t come with the kids in tow. I have no clue how you’d navigate the store with a stroller and with its sprawling disjointed layout, you could lose track of your kids real quick. OH, and this was the most annoying thing ever. They had big screen TVs set up here and there with this video on a loop of a guy in a terrible Halloween mask repeating over and over and over “Come up stairs. We have all the Halloween costumes you need”. It went on and on and on and on. I’m surprised a customer doesn’t go all Texas Chainsaw due to irritation over it. That was as bad as non stop holiday music.
This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias All opinions are my own.