Abercrombie and FIT.

20 Nov

I had never come across an Abercrombie and Fitch store before, so I wasn’t prepared. That’s probably why I did what I did.

Just across the road from Ceconni’s, I had seen all the messy-haired girls and equally messy-haired boys coming out of there, laden with bags with a man’s naked torso on the front, but assumed it was just another jersey-lined haven for prep-school darlings. Embarrassingly I had initially thought it must be a museum or cinema judging by the crowds mingling outside and the amount of people who asked directions to that very spot. I had sorely underestimated what was within those stone walls, through those pillared doors, past the achingly delicious albeit underaged models bidding you a hello and farewell with equal cool ambivalence that made me quiver in sexual ecstasy all through high school and now just makes me tearfully aware of my unfairly unmessy hair.

I was killing time before meeting a friend round the corner, so I ventured in thinking I might find my husband a Christmas present. But as soon as the teenaged heart-throb gave me a killer smile hello (it could have been flirtatious but I’m a realist – it was pitying) and I inhaled the cloud of Abercrombie & Fitch aftershave, I knew I was in trouble. You know that dream where you’re at school, naked? I had that same sweaty upper lip, that same confused expression, that same sense of walking through treacle…

Inside it’s like a nightclub filled with attractive girls and boys. The lights are very low (I bashed my pubic bone on two secretive tables heavy with hoodies), the music is l0ud, and the girls and boys mingle with customers, some bopping, some stroking hoodies beguilingly. And maybe it was my imagination but I’m sure I saw two grinding in a corner. It was like a sorority club in an American Ivy League school had staged a pop-up shop in their hall of residence.

Without a bottle of wine to bolster me, the strut I would have resorted to in such a club situation was more of a skulk, trying to tuck my Tesco carrier bag under my cape, getting suspicious looks from staff presumably thinking I was a shoplifter. So as I lurched from one Jessica Alba lookalike to another, desperately feeling for an exit in the darkness, I stopped to caress some tracksuit bottoms as I had seen others do. When in Rome. The perkiest girl I have ever seen then asked if I needed help – obviously concerned that I might tuck a t-shirt up my expansive sleeve.

“Those are great – they’re boyfriend-style. You wear them really low – good for your butt.” My boyfriend would not wear them ‘really low’ and it’s not good for my butt, sweetheart. But I appreciated the sentiment, especially as she’d picked out a size small to show me. And they really were very soft. But I explained I really just needed an exit. Or a toilet. She smiled sadly, as I used to at girls who had drunk too many Smirnoff Ices and had got sick on their shoes. As I tried to navigate through the throngs of young shoppers and creepy old men looking at scarves/the sales assistants’ legs, I heard someone saying my name. It was the little sister of a friend from University, who, I assumed from the tartan mini skirt and black t-shirt that I’d seen all round the store, worked there. “What are you doing here?” She asked without even trying to hide her incredulity, much to her fellow Fitch bitch’s amusement. “Yuh, I’m just looking for…um, a polo shirt, yuh.” I unexpectedly came over all Kate Middleton. “Actually was thinking about getting some of these rarrrrly nice shorts.” I picked the nearest item to me, a pair of flannel hot pants in a cheery tartan. “Oh right!” She said, sweetly. “In that size, Grace?” I glanced at the label: XS. “Yuh, yuh – extra small yuh.” Sweat trickled down my from my hairline. She clapped in faux excitement. “OMG, they’ll look SO nice. I’ll show you to the tills then.” So off I trotted in her beautiful wake, knocking various accessories off the tables as I went. And so, reader, that’s how I ended up with a pair of XS flannel hot pants in cheery tartan. Did they fit? Of bloody course not.

Everyone who’s ever won a popularity contest, everyone who’s had a perfect ski technique since birth, everyone who’s ever held their unbrushed hair up in a chignon with a biro – they’re all there, god love them. Jealous?! Me?! Yes. 

I’m going back next week to return the tiny pants. But beforehand I’m going to get a blowdry, a mani-pedi and a new coat.  And then I’m going to buy some of those immaculately sloppy boyfriend tracksuit bottoms I can’t stop thinking about. Ha. That’ll show them. They’ll be nonchalantly folding t-shirts softer than kitten ears, I’ll be crying in the corner, scrambling about for an exit, clutching a bag of Tena Ladies to my chest.

(c) Abercrombie & Fitch


4 Responses to “Abercrombie and FIT.”

  1. Tim November 21, 2010 at 12:04 pm #

    Genuinely and truthfully… LOL

    Those track pants are TDF, btw

  2. carrie November 21, 2010 at 12:31 pm #

    I relly wish I could have been there trailing you with hidden camera..

    very very funny x

  3. Claire November 21, 2010 at 5:49 pm #

    This made me laugh out loud! x

    • The Three Graces December 5, 2010 at 6:38 pm #

      Only way to deal with the pain of a crushed pubic bone! x

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