Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Yesterday, while Lena Dunham was finalizing her $3.5 million book deal,  maybe popping champagne corks or eating cake naked on the toilet, I was at the Willowbrook Mall.

Oh joy. I prefer to never leave Montclair, except to go to Paris; however, there are certain things that cannot be purchased in Montclair, such as a suit of clothes for a 12-year-old boy attending a Bat Mitzvah.  And so, we went to the mall. As far as malls go, this one is really depressing, but sometimes one has to suck it up and drive past the hideous parade of chain stores on Route 46 and land in Wayne.

We got our son the dress clothes, plus a pair of Sambas and a nutritious Popeyes lunch to sweeten the deal. Our daughter, whose fully-loaded wardrobe wants for nothing, asked to go into Justice. We had never stepped foot in a Justice, but she's been begging to go there for a couple of years. She had waited semi-patiently, so I acquiesced. The racks were crammed with sparkly, scratchy, complete and utter crap. It made the Kardashian Kollection that we had just walked past at Sears look like Chanel.

I endured a few minutes of browsing under the migraine-triggering florescent light. But when Violet asked for a metallic, zebra-print sports bra, I grabbed her hand, and stalked out. "These are the ugliest clothes I have ever seen in my life," I said (and my standards are fairly low). I felt bad for dissing the fashion she claims "everybody" has, within earshot of the sales staff, no less, but I do have my limits. And also, I like to reinforce that one does not have to do things just because "everybody" does them. If you don't need the tacky Justice wardrobe, then it follows that you don't need to take performance enhancing drugs just because "everybody" is taking them to do better in high school. Nor do you need whatever disturbing body modification the other kids are getting in college. Yes? No? You tell me.

Bling Sunstache FramesAnimal Foil Racerback Sports Bra
Glasses,  $11.50 at Claire's; sports bra, $12 with 40% off coupon at Justice
Anyway, Violet was miffed, but perked up when I agreed to step inside Claire's, which carries the trendy, shoddy accessories to complement a Justice wardrobe. She held up suspenders printed with moustaches. I smiled falsely but declined to purchase them. A plastic moustache was suspended from the frames of a pair of fake black glasses. She tried them on happily. I laughed, but I wasn't laying out the cash.

I am both mystified and intrigued by the viral moustache fad amongst Vi's 9-year-old friends. They don't know why they love the things; they just do. It seems to be the 2012 version of Silly Bands. The arch moustache cultivation of 20-something hipsters has trickled down to an enthusiastic embrace by the pre-ironic fourth grader. Hipsters everywhere must be shaving their moustaches, which, I think, is good news for the girls that age. But maybe not. I no longer pretend to understand the tastes of the youth. We have Lena Dunham for that job. I just sit here and watch Masterpiece Classic.


  1. LOL!! I've had the same experience in Justice--or hell--as I lovingly call it. After being in there less that 3 minutes I was ready to poke my own eyes out!

    Great post!

  2. Okay...I don't want to be contrarian but Justice and Claire's are, not to overstate it, TWO OF THE MOST AMAZING PLACES ON EARTH!!! These stores are where a gay dad can ogle the kind of sparkly, trashy accessories they secretly coveted as little boys...and cause their daughters to rebel a little in the process. True story: More often than not I find myself picking up a small, sequined clutch or furry boa-like scarf in turquoise or hot pink and saying "Oh my God! Isn't this amazing??? Do you want it???" And one or both of my older girls just looks at me as if to say, "This isn't right..."

  3. I grew up in Verona (my family moved from NYC when I was ten).

    As a pre-teen, I thought Willowbrook Mall was great because they had a food court and a skating rink. Two things Short Hills didn't have.

    Then I "discovered" Short Hills in college and that was that.