I Think I've Officially Aged Out Of Bebe

It's a definite sign of getting older when your brand loyalty changes.
Publish date:
April 15, 2013
clothes, retail, nostalgia reality check

Remember bebe? It was like Rampage's impossibly fancy older cousin from France who would smoke funny cigarettes with Wet Seal, wear lace unironically at Charlotte Russe's pool party and then convince you and Express that your best friend since middle school, Forever XXI, wasn't cool enough and that Hot Topic was screwing your boyfriend?

Man, bebe was my JAM back in the day. I remember it being the poor post graduate's answer to everything. Birthday party at that trendy new spot with the shelf life of a moth? Get thee to bebe. Grown up dinner with the 'rents of your latest hanger on? Bebe can do that. Need some work out gear with random rhinestones so you can really stand out at the gym? Girl, you know they got that at bebe.

Over the past decade all my bebe loot has gone the way of the charity donation box, buried deep underneath more subtle options from J. Crew I'm sure. Deep v-necks, asymmetrical anything, hems that hit mid thigh and hugged too tight just weren't on my grab and go list past 2005 (most likely because instead of the club a night out usually included my couch).

I hadn't set foot in a bebe store since I woke up from the spell of wearing thongs with jeans, so we're talking like years. That all changed yesterday when while on my way to Anne Taylor Loft (shut up!) I thought I spied a "summery" dress in the bebe store that might work for my St. Croix trip next month.

Ya'll know I need glasses right? But the crazy thing (besides the fact that I somehow manage to get around without being able to see shit) is that every single item of clothing in the store looked like this. Was I in the wrong bebe? Was this bebe bootleg or bebe bargain bin? Was I in a retail-themed very special episode of Sliders?

The real question that haunted me as I backed out of the store quietly, as if I was never there, was simple: Was it always like this? Is that what my fancy looked like for approximately 5 years in a row?

Obviously trends have changed, and thankfully so has my taste level. I remember the first time I walked into an Ann Taylor store to find a "good pair of slacks" as my mother calls them -- never just slacks, or a pair of pants, but "a good pair of slacks." I thought the place was were old ladies went for their boring life uniforms. Now I'm one of them. But come on, what's there NOT to love about a good sheath dress or some pants that cover your booty valley?

The other day I asked a friend, "I mean, is it just me or has Ann Taylor gotten waaaay more cute?" We looked at each other and laughed. Because it is just us. We've changed.