Oh, Old Navy!
I remember when we first met–I was about twelve, and needed flip flops. You hadn’t descended upon the Mall of New Hampshire (no sales tax!) in Manchester yet–an oversight you finally corrected in the mid 2000s to the joy of tweens and new mothers across the region. Anyways, my mom took me to Nashua, and there you were: a giant industrial store with more flip flops, tank tops, printed PJ bottoms, and stretchy corduroy flares than the rest of the state of New Hampshire combined (or so it seemed to me then, puny neo-consumer that I was).
Over the years, my shopping habits and clothing sizes have fluctuated wildly, but I always (to the chagrin of some of my more “fashionable” friends, GO SCREW YOURSELVES!) come back to Old Navy. I don’t know what it is that draws me in– is it the uniform smell of synthetic fabric and disinfectant that permeates every store across the entire US? The giant tote bags they give you so you can stuff two dozen items into it within ten minutes and then get your $30 super cash certificate at the checkout counter? The fact that you can purchase an entire year’s worth of clothes in almost any size for under two hundred dollars?
Oh, right. It’s definitely that last one.
I know that I am a bad person for loving you. I know that your fast fashion is no good for me, nor for the sweatshop workers who make my workout leggings. I know that when I buy that printed purple sundress that it will be in the Goodwill bin within a year. I know that I will regret that gingham jumper thing, because who am I, Dorothy from Oz?
But what can I do? You’re too easy, Old Navy. You’re everywhere, and you open at 9 am on Saturdays. You’re a cheap date, and no matter how many sports bras I buy from you, you never shame me for sitting at home reading a romance novel instead of going for a run. You contain a variety of sheer sweaters and skinny denim that actually fit my butt and boobs. You have a convenient restroom at your flagship store at Powell Station in San Francisco. You sell inexpensive sunglasses and dog toys in the checkout line.
And you know this–you know the hold you have over me, with your colorful linen shorts and Julia Louis-Dreyfus advertisements and TWELVE DOLLAR SHORTS FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY, ALL WEEKEND! Your salespeople smile as I enter your storefront to investigate the sloppy piles of PERFECT FIT TANKS, TWO FOR ONE, and I am lost. I am half agony, half hope, and 100% ready to redeem the cash I earned with points on my Old Navy credit card.
And yet, I can never hate you, Old Navy. Our relationship is fraught at best, but I still love you. At the very least, I need you, because the olive jacket I bought from you last year has a broken zipper and a replacement is only thirty dollars on sale.
Stay synthetic, stay ubiquitous, and stay cheap, Old Navy. You are the store of my heart, or at least my butt, which only fits comfortably into your Sweetheart style jeans, and NO OTHER STYLE.
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