When I was growing up in small-town Levin, clothes shopping meant popping down to the Warehouse. Or hitting up cardholders night at Farmers. This was after DEKA closed down. Remember DEKA? Those were the days, my friend.
There was actually this one shop called ‘Clarks’ where you could get surf/skate wear with proper recognisable designer labels, but the only thing I ever bought there was my school uniform. It wasn’t the sort of place you frequented unless both your parents were sitting on a 6 digit salary.
We used to do the occasional shopping trip into the big city –the smoky metropolis of Palmerston North. Ohmigosh, somany traffic lights, and people EVERYWHERE,and shops shops shops, and parking that required more than 10 cents per hour and WOW. One day, jsut before my 3rd form mufti day, Mum and I set off on one such trip.
Mufti days at high school are a big thing. It’s one of the only times in the year where you actually get to express your in-di-vid-u-a-li-ty. Everyone would turn up in their flashest gears, their blingest bling, their coolest kicks. It was a day to be noticed, to say “Hey, look at me. I know where to shop. I am cool”
I admit I was a bit of a tomboy and I wanted a hoodie – a red hoodie. And some denim shorts. SO we found this place on the square called Hallensteins. It seemed nice, the salesman was friendly ( he may have been thinking ‘what the heck’, but he held his vibes very tightly and I never picked them up). I bought a nice baggy hoodie, my shorts, and even one of those orange belts which tightened with a silver buckle and are often worn by boys with their shorts around their knees. This is experience speaking now. At the time, i had absolutely no idea – I was probably overwhelmed by the sights and sounds of a city store. All I knew was that I was shopping at a cool shop, Iwas buying cool clothes, and I was proud.
I clearly remember talking to two of the ‘popular girls’ in my form class. We were talking about what we were wearing for mufti day and I just happened to mention that Mum and I had been shopping at Hallensteins for the big day. Just like, whatever. No big deally really, just casually. They didn’t say anything, and it wasn’t till much later that I looked back on this moment with a flood of realization and a tinge of embarassment.
I enjoyed my moment in the sun. Mufti day arrived in all it’s glory and I proudly paraded out in my Hallensteins gears. I felt good. and although this memory comes with a bit of cringe factor, it mainly comes with a laugh and a 'good times' factor. It's good to be a girl.