I remember experiencing this somehow silent gasp as my car pulled past the line of trees that were blocking my view of the store my heart was hoping to visit. I’m a mission shopper when I do shop, and this place was the singular bastion of perusing.
Just looking at the colors and patterns and funky designs. And smelling the always light and floral air inside. And, feeling the textures, the weight of things, the edges.
Anthropologie was, for me, the ultimate sensory experience. I never went in there to shop. I couldn’t afford much in there anyway, with the exception of a few things on clearance, which I still had to really think about before buying. I’d look for oddball glassware, funky small plates and mismatching knobs. I found novelty in the strange, the things that didn’t go together classically, and I loved that the store celebrated that loveliness with me.
It’s weird to think that I didn’t go into a store to buy. Over and over again, I didn’t go there to shop. I walked in for the feeling, which was one that without fail made me feel pretty – even during every girl’s five favorite days of the month. Even after a hearty cry the night before left my eyes looking as if they had danced with a pair of boxing gloves. Even when I was broke or sick or had a little spit-up on my shirt from the baby who was on my hip.
Walking through the doors at Anthropologie was like teleporting. To somewhere fancy. But comfy. To a place that washed romance over everything.
And this day, the day the storefront came into view absent its sign, I realized it was gone. Not gone, like off the map, but gone from my ‘hood. I couldn’t just pop in to find that strange thing that I knew only they would have. I couldn’t just do a walk-through any longer, which is not something I do anywhere else. It was exclusively an Anthropologie thing.
I remember getting the catalog and feeling, as I flipped through the book, as if I knew how a certain sweater would feel or could tell exactly how heavy a serving bowl was. And then I’d laugh to myself at how expensive the items were, knowing I’d never indulge to that extent.
When I think about that experience, even though I rarely sealed the deal with a purchase, I wonder if these types of moments are escaping us now. Catalogs are almost prehistoric. Mention the word and most people think of Sears or some other extinct or very-nearly-extinct department store. We don’t really touch or smell or see things as much as we used to. We don’t experience them in the same way.
It’s a lost errand. And I’m not even a shopper (ask my mom). I’m a check-it-off-the-list person, get in-get it-get out. That’s me. Yet I’m somehow mourning the loss of this rare window-shopping habit at a high-end store. I mean, for like a few minutes I was.
Now, we search, click and wait two days for it to arrive – if we’re patient. There’s no fragrance to that. No texture. No feeling. It’s purely a raw transaction. And as a to-do list gal, I should appreciate that.
But, I guess I also appreciate the sensory aspect. The part of not knowing what you’re looking for, except knowing you’re looking for a tiny reprieve from all the outside noise. Just a place that makes you feel pretty, and might allow for you to find a funky little plate that matches nothing you own except the exceptional DNA you have inside you.
That thing. That experience. That moment. I love Amazon. But it’ll never be Anthropologie.