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A Virgin in Hollister

Being a parent for the better part of two decades, I’ve gotten used to accepting the fact that my kids are attracted to things that I don’t like.

When my son Evan was about four, he was shopping with me in a second-hand children’s shop. Rummaging in the forgotten bits at the bottom of one of those boxes of toys that shopkeepers sometimes keep in the corner to keep kids occupied, he eventually unearthed a shopworn plastic figurine of Hulk Hogan.

SuperEvanIt wasn’t for sale, but we bought it anyway, and the minuscule Hogan, which innocent Evan sweetly named Kimby, instigated a love of larger-than-life heroes, rangers and comic book characters that has stayed with him in various expressions, even now, as he enters the downside of his teen years. In other words, no matter how much I advocated early on for Pooh Bear, he had his own ideas.

The truth is, we all want our kids to like the things that we like, to have the same sensibility, character, and good taste. But they are their own people, which some of them make clear more strongly than others. And, eventually, all parents need to get over the disappointment; we can only shape so much.

I was reminded of this again when my newly minted preteen decided that for her 11th birthday what she really wanted was a new outfit from the mall. Caroline is an inherently reasonable child; she does well in school, she reads for fun, she eats broccoli, and she brushes her teeth without being reminded. In other words, she is not the kind of kid who is prone to outrageous demands. She does, however, get a rush from good clothes.

If the mall were a mega-church to the god of retailing, there would be four demi-gods at the altars of which Caroline and her group of friends would worship: Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle, Aeropostale, and Hollister. Of these, Hollister seems the latest savior.

Hollister is a merchant of California surf-style clothes. Actually – if you are in marketing, you’d call it a “lifestyle brand.” Despite its suggested surfer roots -– its logo is a flying seagull -– its first store opened in Ohio in July 2001 (Ohio seagull population = 10). Weirdly, Hollister is owned by Abercrombie & Fitch, which makes them at once rivals and compadres, caught in some strange mother-daughter catfight, a la Dina and Lindsay Lohan.

So the church analogy ends quickly. Once you step into Hollister, an entirely different kind of institution comes to mind.

First, at the entrance, there’s a giant graphic of a brooding and shirtless lounging male, with killer California good looks. Then there’s the loud music with a boost of bass. And the lack of windows, which makes it hard to know whether it’s day or night. The stuffiness of too-tight racks (the hanging clothes, not on the models). The 53-inch flat screens with a live surfer feed from Huntington Beach. The bad lighting that makes it impossible to discern actual colors or (if you are the one with the credit card) numbers on the price tag.

In short, Hollister is more like a nightclub than a store. The young, nubile girls who work there circulate among the crowd or work the registers like barkeeps. It was 10:30 AM, but I momentarily had the urge to order a cocktail.

It was a brief trip. Caroline made her selection fairly quickly, and—surprise to me when the barkeep gave me the credit slip to sign—it was actually on post-Christmas sale.

It turns out that the place gave Caroline a headache, too. Or so she said. From the way she smiled slightly and walked with an extra bounce in her step when we were finally through the doors, I suspect that she kind of dug the whole scene.Photo booth

She is, after all, 11, and intensely a voyeur of the older generation: the girls of 15 or 16 who come to the mall without their moms in tow, those who speak loud enough to be heard over the crow of Hollister speakers and each other’s din, rather than in the close whisper that Caroline spoke into my ear.

So it didn’t end badly, really. But as we left the Hollister store, we passed another gaggle of girls charging in, all dressed alike and laughing at a thing no outsider could possibly think was funny. And it occurred to me that we had arrived at the brink of a sort of passage, my girl and I. Suddenly, why am I the one who feels like the virgin?

At that moment, Caroline took my hand instinctively–still a little girl, for now at least. Which was nice. And I paused to appreciate what I have while I still have it. Experience tells me that this stage she’s in won’t last, and that’s ok, too.

It’s okay, I tell myself. Just like, I suppose, mothers everywhere tell themselves.

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108 Responses to A Virgin in Hollister

  1. Vahe says:

    Ann, you rule!

  2. Vahe says:

    Ann, you rule!

  3. CK says:

    I am so happy you have a place where you can just be…you. It’s a corner of the universe/blogiverse that’s all yours.

    And you don’t have to talk marketing (that’s what Twitter is for me, an escape).

    Lots of love and lots of joy to you here (and everywhere else you write).

  4. Jim Kukral says:

    Congrats on new blog Ann!

  5. CK says:

    I am so happy you have a place where you can just be…you. It’s a corner of the universe/blogiverse that’s all yours.

    And you don’t have to talk marketing (that’s what Twitter is for me, an escape).

    Lots of love and lots of joy to you here (and everywhere else you write).

  6. Jim Kukral says:

    Congrats on new blog Ann!

  7. Peter Kim says:

    I think you just gave me a preview of my life in 6 years.

  8. Peter Kim says:

    I think you just gave me a preview of my life in 6 years.

  9. Ann says:

    Thanks CK, Jim, and Peter — Thanks for stopping by my new outpost. I feel like a virgin here, too… lol.

    And Vahe — : )

  10. Mack Collier says:

    It’s about time you decided to lose the safety net, you never needed it anyway.

  11. Ann says:

    Thanks CK, Jim, and Peter — Thanks for stopping by my new outpost. I feel like a virgin here, too… lol.

    And Vahe — : )

  12. Mack Collier says:

    It’s about time you decided to lose the safety net, you never needed it anyway.

  13. Ann says:

    As always — Mack as supportive brother! ;)

  14. Tim Jackson says:

    I LOVE the title of the blog! I wish MY name was Ann so I could copy it and/ or just get in a catfight with you and steal it.

    My daughter is almost 7 and I am already mortified to hell that she is already a Femmebot in training. As a Gemini, she is uniquely suited to breaking male hearts (including mine). My son is 15.5 and I am constantly terrified… having been a 15.5 boy at one time, many, many, many, many, many years ago. (On a planet in a galaxy far, far away…)

    As parents, we want them to be better, do better, have more, see more, etc… so long as they have our same taste in clothing, music and literature. The fact that my daughter likes to sit and write stories gives me hope for her. My son is a walking bag-o-hormones at the moment- which means I try to keep him on a short leash (with a choke collar) so he doesn’t make me a grandfather before I hit 40. I’m only half sure it’s working.

    God help us all.

    The image of Caroline reaching for your hand brought a tear to my eye. I only hope I’m that lucky as either of mine cross their various thresholds. I envy that moment.

    Oh… and love the profile pic… nice rack! ;-)

  15. Ann says:

    As always — Mack as supportive brother! ;)

  16. Tim Jackson says:

    I LOVE the title of the blog! I wish MY name was Ann so I could copy it and/ or just get in a catfight with you and steal it.

    My daughter is almost 7 and I am already mortified to hell that she is already a Femmebot in training. As a Gemini, she is uniquely suited to breaking male hearts (including mine). My son is 15.5 and I am constantly terrified… having been a 15.5 boy at one time, many, many, many, many, many years ago. (On a planet in a galaxy far, far away…)

    As parents, we want them to be better, do better, have more, see more, etc… so long as they have our same taste in clothing, music and literature. The fact that my daughter likes to sit and write stories gives me hope for her. My son is a walking bag-o-hormones at the moment- which means I try to keep him on a short leash (with a choke collar) so he doesn’t make me a grandfather before I hit 40. I’m only half sure it’s working.

    God help us all.

    The image of Caroline reaching for your hand brought a tear to my eye. I only hope I’m that lucky as either of mine cross their various thresholds. I envy that moment.

    Oh… and love the profile pic… nice rack! ;-)

  17. Toby says:

    Ann – adding my welcome and “this is one blog I’ve been waiting for” congrats! Love the photo of annarchy as a little girl :-)

  18. Toby says:

    Ann – adding my welcome and “this is one blog I’ve been waiting for” congrats! Love the photo of annarchy as a little girl :-)

  19. Scott Schablow says:

    Ann, What a great story. I’m almost beside myself thinking of my own 12 year old daughter, who can be all dressed up for the middle school dance as a beautiful young lady or sitting on a rainy day playing Barbies with her younger brothers (don’t tell the boys’ friends I said that). It’s a transitional time and I watch with wonder, every happy thought and grumpy mood she has. I am learning how to know when to offer support and when to back away. I think it’s working. Only time will tell. I think you’ve inspired me to start my own personal blog. My marketing posts are lost among the ‘clever clutter.’ Oh and tell me, Mack is NOT really your brother, right? He’s a Twitter bud of mine: sschablow.

  20. Scott Schablow says:

    Ann, What a great story. I’m almost beside myself thinking of my own 12 year old daughter, who can be all dressed up for the middle school dance as a beautiful young lady or sitting on a rainy day playing Barbies with her younger brothers (don’t tell the boys’ friends I said that). It’s a transitional time and I watch with wonder, every happy thought and grumpy mood she has. I am learning how to know when to offer support and when to back away. I think it’s working. Only time will tell. I think you’ve inspired me to start my own personal blog. My marketing posts are lost among the ‘clever clutter.’ Oh and tell me, Mack is NOT really your brother, right? He’s a Twitter bud of mine: sschablow.

  21. Mack Collier says:

    Scott I’m not really Ann’s brother, but don’t tell anyone. And it’s funny because I told Ann the same thing, that reading this makes me think about starting my own ‘personal’ blog. That thar’s some damned fine writin’!

  22. Mack Collier says:

    Scott I’m not really Ann’s brother, but don’t tell anyone. And it’s funny because I told Ann the same thing, that reading this makes me think about starting my own ‘personal’ blog. That thar’s some damned fine writin’!

  23. Ann says:

    Tim — Thanks for stopping by. Caroline has a 16-year-old brother, so I know what you mean about the teen years. Some days, he’s 16 going on 60. Other days, he’s 16 going on 6. (If you are reading this Evan — love you, honey!)

    Toby — You are too kind. Thank you so very much.

    Scott and Mack — Time to start your own blogs that aren’t about marketing. I hear blogging is the Next Big Thing! ; )

  24. Ike Pigott says:

    Who says you can’t have both? My personal life informs my musings on communications, and vice/versa. You just have to be okay with the notion of having no readers.

  25. Ann says:

    Tim — Thanks for stopping by. Caroline has a 16-year-old brother, so I know what you mean about the teen years. Some days, he’s 16 going on 60. Other days, he’s 16 going on 6. (If you are reading this Evan — love you, honey!)

    Toby — You are too kind. Thank you so very much.

    Scott and Mack — Time to start your own blogs that aren’t about marketing. I hear blogging is the Next Big Thing! ; )

  26. Ike says:

    Who says you can’t have both? My personal life informs my musings on communications, and vice/versa. You just have to be okay with the notion of having no readers.

  27. Ann says:

    Thanks for the comment, Ike.

    As I told you on email: For me, I didn’t feel comfortable putting my personal stuff on the marketing blog, because it’s not really MY blog — it’s a group blog I run with many other writers, for MarketingProfs. I think it’s fine to have both in one spot if you “own” both — in the sense that you are the sole (or almost-sole) writer and voice represented. But that option didn’t work for me.

    Anyway — thanks for your two pesos.

  28. Ike Pigott says:

    Sorry, Ann… the comment wasn’t aimed at you. I understand your situation completely.

    It was really pointed at the mindset that personal and professional opinions shouldn’t mix, because it “dilutes” the content. I’ve seen many posts that tout SEO and marketing and positioning that recommend keeping a very tight focus on your content. But what is best for SEO isn’t always best for your readers. In this late hour, I think I shifted mental gears without engaging the cerebral clutch.

    (Is it just me, or does it look like you could put my avatar right above Ann’s and come away with a highly-disturbing composite..?)

  29. Ann says:

    Thanks for the comment, Ike.

    As I told you on email: For me, I didn’t feel comfortable putting my personal stuff on the marketing blog, because it’s not really MY blog — it’s a group blog I run with many other writers, for MarketingProfs. I think it’s fine to have both in one spot if you “own” both — in the sense that you are the sole (or almost-sole) writer and voice represented. But that option didn’t work for me.

    Anyway — thanks for your two pesos.

  30. Ike says:

    Sorry, Ann… the comment wasn’t aimed at you. I understand your situation completely.

    It was really pointed at the mindset that personal and professional opinions shouldn’t mix, because it “dilutes” the content. I’ve seen many posts that tout SEO and marketing and positioning that recommend keeping a very tight focus on your content. But what is best for SEO isn’t always best for your readers. In this late hour, I think I shifted mental gears without engaging the cerebral clutch.

    (Is it just me, or does it look like you could put my avatar right above Ann’s and come away with a highly-disturbing composite..?)

  31. Beccy Knowles says:

    Congratulations Ann! And yes I can relate…but you knew that. I look forward to more…from your blog and this rollercoaster on which we ride.

    LYLAS

  32. Beccy Knowles says:

    Congratulations Ann! And yes I can relate…but you knew that. I look forward to more…from your blog and this rollercoaster on which we ride.

    LYLAS

  33. Great piece, Ann.

    Clothes shopping — it’s in the genes. My wife won’t let me go shopping with her because I become a different person — impatient and grumpy. My daughter, now 30, feels the same way about having me around when she shops.

    Two years ago I thought it would be nice to bond with them as they announced they were going to Lord & Taylor. I thought I was on such good behavior — going through the racks and suggesting my daughter try this or that on.

    Within 10 minutes in the women’s clothing department, my wife and daughter asked me to leave. I found myself banished — very happily — to the CD department in the Border’s next door.

  34. Cam Beck says:

    It sounds like you have a lovely daughter and can be very proud.

    I relate to David’s comment above. I’m much more comfortable at a bookstore than shopping in a mall, and even more so than shopping for things I don’t want my kids to want.

    The answer I give to these things is often “no,” but I would rather bypass those things altogether and not have to witness the look of longing that my son displays when he covets something he knows I won’t let him have. :)

  35. Great piece, Ann.

    Clothes shopping — it’s in the genes. My wife won’t let me go shopping with her because I become a different person — impatient and grumpy. My daughter, now 30, feels the same way about having me around when she shops.

    Two years ago I thought it would be nice to bond with them as they announced they were going to Lord & Taylor. I thought I was on such good behavior — going through the racks and suggesting my daughter try this or that on.

    Within 10 minutes in the women’s clothing department, my wife and daughter asked me to leave. I found myself banished — very happily — to the CD department in the Border’s next door.

  36. Cam Beck says:

    It sounds like you have a lovely daughter and can be very proud.

    I relate to David’s comment above. I’m much more comfortable at a bookstore than shopping in a mall, and even more so than shopping for things I don’t want my kids to want.

    The answer I give to these things is often “no,” but I would rather bypass those things altogether and not have to witness the look of longing that my son displays when he covets something he knows I won’t let him have. :)

  37. Tara says:

    Hi Ann-
    I followed a link to your new blog in Twitter and it’s hard to describe the unexpected delight of finding it to be not about marketing (though I love your marketing stuff) but about YOU! And you are right — it is okay. I, too, have plenty of those feelings about the divergence that happens as a child becomes more and more of himself rather than simply reflecting his biggest influencers — and my son is only 6! But I just keep reminding myself that he’s just doing exactly what he’s supposed to — the adjustment is all about me.

    I’m looking forward to reading more about the life of Ann. :)

  38. All I can say is.. it’s about time the world got to read some of the great writing I’ve experienced in so many of our personal emails! I LOVE the Annarchy photo of you – I SO see Caroline in there…

    Congrats and you are an inspiration…

  39. Tara says:

    Hi Ann-
    I followed a link to your new blog in Twitter and it’s hard to describe the unexpected delight of finding it to be not about marketing (though I love your marketing stuff) but about YOU! And you are right — it is okay. I, too, have plenty of those feelings about the divergence that happens as a child becomes more and more of himself rather than simply reflecting his biggest influencers — and my son is only 6! But I just keep reminding myself that he’s just doing exactly what he’s supposed to — the adjustment is all about me.

    I’m looking forward to reading more about the life of Ann. :)

  40. All I can say is.. it’s about time the world got to read some of the great writing I’ve experienced in so many of our personal emails! I LOVE the Annarchy photo of you – I SO see Caroline in there…

    Congrats and you are an inspiration…

  41. Ann says:

    Ike — No sweat. Actually, I agree with you — that it’s ok to mix personal and business. Might be good fodder for a good future blog post on, say, MarketingProfs.

    Bec — LYLAS too! I’m potentially honored at the prospect that this is your first blog comment.. is it?

    David R — Funny story. I can just see you trying so hard to be into the shopping trip — and your wife and daughter exchanging eye rolls behind your back. (”Mom! Tell him to leave!”)

    Cam — Thanks for stopping by! A simple “no” generally does work. Like if Caroline wanted a shopping trip at Hot Topics… well, that’s a Big Fat No. But sometimes I don’t feel strongly — like in the case of this shopping trip. And sometimes — I might not *like* it, but I get that it’s important to the child, for a reason outside of me. (As in the case of Evan’s Kimby.)

    Tara — Great to see you here! And you are right — you get it. The adjustment is all about us… not them. They are just living their lives as people independent of us. Which kinda sucks, sometimes. ; )

  42. Ann says:

    Ike — No sweat. Actually, I agree with you — that it’s ok to mix personal and business. Might be good fodder for a good future blog post on, say, MarketingProfs.

    Bec — LYLAS too! I’m potentially honored at the prospect that this is your first blog comment.. is it?

    David R — Funny story. I can just see you trying so hard to be into the shopping trip — and your wife and daughter exchanging eye rolls behind your back. (”Mom! Tell him to leave!”)

    Cam — Thanks for stopping by! A simple “no” generally does work. Like if Caroline wanted a shopping trip at Hot Topics… well, that’s a Big Fat No. But sometimes I don’t feel strongly — like in the case of this shopping trip. And sometimes — I might not *like* it, but I get that it’s important to the child, for a reason outside of me. (As in the case of Evan’s Kimby.)

    Tara — Great to see you here! And you are right — you get it. The adjustment is all about us… not them. They are just living their lives as people independent of us. Which kinda sucks, sometimes. ; )

  43. Ann says:

    Andrea — Thanks a lot. I definitely appreciate your encouragement, too.

  44. Rock on, Ann. This space has needed your refreshing voice for a long, long time ;-)

  45. Ann says:

    Andrea — Thanks a lot. I definitely appreciate your encouragement, too.

  46. Rock on, Ann. This space has needed your refreshing voice for a long, long time ;-)

  47. gbgbusiness says:

    Awesome blog…great!

  48. Ann,

    I’m right there with you. Trying to look inconspicuous in AF or Hollister. Close enough to offer an opinion when asked (and of course, to pay) but not too close that I’m hovering or God forbid, some of her friends walk in.

    For the guy commenters — here is some unsolicited advice. Be brave enough to wade into the water. My daughter and I have had some amazing conversations because I entered her world.

    Does it make me less of a dork? Probably not. Today.

    Added benefit — after 14 years of shopping together and me commenting on the appropriateness or lack thereof in some of the clothing options — I have never had my daughter buy something I wouldn’t let her wear. She sees the clothes through both her and my eyes.

    Drew

    PS — Ann, this was a long time in coming. Very nice.

  49. gbgbusiness says:

    Awesome blog…great!

  50. Ann,

    I’m right there with you. Trying to look inconspicuous in AF or Hollister. Close enough to offer an opinion when asked (and of course, to pay) but not too close that I’m hovering or God forbid, some of her friends walk in.

    For the guy commenters — here is some unsolicited advice. Be brave enough to wade into the water. My daughter and I have had some amazing conversations because I entered her world.

    Does it make me less of a dork? Probably not. Today.

    Added benefit — after 14 years of shopping together and me commenting on the appropriateness or lack thereof in some of the clothing options — I have never had my daughter buy something I wouldn’t let her wear. She sees the clothes through both her and my eyes.

    Drew

    PS — Ann, this was a long time in coming. Very nice.

  51. Cam Beck says:

    Ann and Drew -
    Thankfully my daughter is too young to require my entry into that foray, but I’m sure she’ll run me through the ringer in due course. I appreciate the perspectives.

    Right now my son, though, is dealing with some of that. The “Hot Topics” reference was a little close to home. :)

  52. Cam Beck says:

    Ann and Drew -
    Thankfully my daughter is too young to require my entry into that foray, but I’m sure she’ll run me through the ringer in due course. I appreciate the perspectives.

    Right now my son, though, is dealing with some of that. The “Hot Topics” reference was a little close to home. :)

  53. Gavin Heaton says:

    Great story, Ann. Sounds like I have a lot of things to look forward to ;)

    Great to see you putting the Ann in the Annarchy!

  54. romi41 says:

    I am 26 years old, and I bought a few t-shirts at Hollister 6 months ago, but I haven’t been back since. I mean I like me a “brightly coloured t-shirt”, and they were reasonably priced, but the entire time I was in that store, I felt like a mis-placed Golden Girl, you know?

  55. Gavin Heaton says:

    Great story, Ann. Sounds like I have a lot of things to look forward to ;)

    Great to see you putting the Ann in the Annarchy!

  56. romi41 says:

    I am 26 years old, and I bought a few t-shirts at Hollister 6 months ago, but I haven’t been back since. I mean I like me a “brightly coloured t-shirt”, and they were reasonably priced, but the entire time I was in that store, I felt like a mis-placed Golden Girl, you know?

  57. portorikan says:

    Thanks for writing this. I really enjoyed reading it.

    I have no kids of my own and have been married barely one year, but this was a great read. Thanks.

  58. Bethann says:

    As always…. excellent work. Keep it up,
    I am a bit ahead of you in the kid-time continuum – I feel your pain!
    When did we get here??

    Are you SURE that is you??

  59. portorikan says:

    Thanks for writing this. I really enjoyed reading it.

    I have no kids of my own and have been married barely one year, but this was a great read. Thanks.

  60. Bethann says:

    As always…. excellent work. Keep it up,
    I am a bit ahead of you in the kid-time continuum – I feel your pain!
    When did we get here??

    Are you SURE that is you??

  61. Ann says:

    Thanks, all… really appreciate the kind words. Really.

    Bethann — Yes, it’s me, in front of my Dad’s car, according to my sister Pat!

  62. Ann says:

    Thanks, all… really appreciate the kind words. Really.

    Bethann — Yes, it’s me, in front of my Dad’s car, according to my sister Pat!

  63. Bob says:

    The dance of independence and interdependence – I have three grown sons and 7 grandsons and somehow hear the music and see the steps more clearly from the distance of one generation (or so I imagine). ” You can be anything you want to be” ” Colour inside the lines” ” Try it yourself, I am sure you can do it” ” Always be honest” ” Don’t tell grandma she is looking old” Pick out whatever you like” ” Are you sure”.

    Memory acts as a costume designer for our experiences so I am not sure what actually happened when my boys were adolescents but I am enjoying watching them as fathers.
    Thanks Ann for stepping into the scary arena.

  64. Ann,

    Wonderful opening effort. And very timely – I am in the throes of trying to ease into the grave my pre-packaged expectations of my boys (5 of them) and learn to embrace them as they are – which definitely yanks me out of my comfort zone (it is nice that the littlest one still holds my hand).

    Look forward to more of your musings here at Annarchy.

  65. Bob says:

    The dance of independence and interdependence – I have three grown sons and 7 grandsons and somehow hear the music and see the steps more clearly from the distance of one generation (or so I imagine). ” You can be anything you want to be” ” Colour inside the lines” ” Try it yourself, I am sure you can do it” ” Always be honest” ” Don’t tell grandma she is looking old” Pick out whatever you like” ” Are you sure”.

    Memory acts as a costume designer for our experiences so I am not sure what actually happened when my boys were adolescents but I am enjoying watching them as fathers.
    Thanks Ann for stepping into the scary arena.

  66. Ann,

    Wonderful opening effort. And very timely – I am in the throes of trying to ease into the grave my pre-packaged expectations of my boys (5 of them) and learn to embrace them as they are – which definitely yanks me out of my comfort zone (it is nice that the littlest one still holds my hand).

    Look forward to more of your musings here at Annarchy.

  67. B.L Ochman says:

    What a treat to see you writing about you!

    Weird as it sounds, welcome to the blogosphere!

    You’re really a wonderful writer. I felt like I was there with you on the shopping trip.

  68. B.L Ochman says:

    What a treat to see you writing about you!

    Weird as it sounds, welcome to the blogosphere!

    You’re really a wonderful writer. I felt like I was there with you on the shopping trip.

  69. I have nieces and nephews in their teens from Ohio that, when the Christmas list comes up, inevitably there will be a request for Hollister or Aeropostale wear. But I can’t blame them — have you been to Ohio? All there is to do is shop and look like you are from somewhere else (like, oh, California).

    I wasn’t surprised when I discovered that A&F owned Hollister. It’s similar to how Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic are all owned by the same company. The goal is to dress someone from cradle to grave. Commercials touting bargain prices and great fashion for teens (Old Navy) to one’s twenties (you are how old and still go to Old Navy? Grow up to Gap) to late adulthood (I can now afford that $250 cashmere sweater)!. An entire lifetime dedicated to Old Navy/Gap/Banana Republic. “Woot.”

    What amazes me, however, is that Hollister was able to differentiate itself from A&F’s rather niche market of white 12-18 year olds from suburbia. Same shirt-less 20-something models (the clothes are somewhere in that ad), same low-lighting, loud music bar scene, but I guess more surfer-like with less expensive prices. Wait, could it be the Old Navy of the Gap family legend?

    Word of advice for which you didn’t ask: No grown adult would be seen wearing A&F. Ever. Those that do, you simply have to worry. The same goes for Hollister but worse — an adult wearing Hollister is thought to be weird by youngins. Do not buy clothes from there to “fit in” with your child’s crowd. It won’t work and you will cause irreparable damage to them.

    Cherish that hand as long as you can.

  70. I have nieces and nephews in their teens from Ohio that, when the Christmas list comes up, inevitably there will be a request for Hollister or Aeropostale wear. But I can’t blame them — have you been to Ohio? All there is to do is shop and look like you are from somewhere else (like, oh, California).

    I wasn’t surprised when I discovered that A&F owned Hollister. It’s similar to how Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic are all owned by the same company. The goal is to dress someone from cradle to grave. Commercials touting bargain prices and great fashion for teens (Old Navy) to one’s twenties (you are how old and still go to Old Navy? Grow up to Gap) to late adulthood (I can now afford that $250 cashmere sweater)!. An entire lifetime dedicated to Old Navy/Gap/Banana Republic. “Woot.”

    What amazes me, however, is that Hollister was able to differentiate itself from A&F’s rather niche market of white 12-18 year olds from suburbia. Same shirt-less 20-something models (the clothes are somewhere in that ad), same low-lighting, loud music bar scene, but I guess more surfer-like with less expensive prices. Wait, could it be the Old Navy of the Gap family legend?

    Word of advice for which you didn’t ask: No grown adult would be seen wearing A&F. Ever. Those that do, you simply have to worry. The same goes for Hollister but worse — an adult wearing Hollister is thought to be weird by youngins. Do not buy clothes from there to “fit in” with your child’s crowd. It won’t work and you will cause irreparable damage to them.

    Cherish that hand as long as you can.

  71. Mukund Mohan says:

    Hey Ann
    Very nice, I cannot relate yet, but my 6 year old’s going to give me the same sensibility soon, is my guess.

  72. Mukund Mohan says:

    Hey Ann
    Very nice, I cannot relate yet, but my 6 year old’s going to give me the same sensibility soon, is my guess.

  73. Before I had kids, I’d sit in the mall – paralyzed in fear and dread – and watch the teen boys and girls hang out, in various stages of dress and undress as they posed, paraded and preyed upon each other. In some ways I’m overjoyed to have only boys now, although I know that their teen years will bring all manner of different and unexpected obstacles just as having girls must.

    Wonderful to see you blogging in a new format, Ann, and thanks for giving me yet another daily distraction of a decidedly non work-related nature. I added your feed to my Netvibes page before I’d read a single word!

  74. Before I had kids, I’d sit in the mall – paralyzed in fear and dread – and watch the teen boys and girls hang out, in various stages of dress and undress as they posed, paraded and preyed upon each other. In some ways I’m overjoyed to have only boys now, although I know that their teen years will bring all manner of different and unexpected obstacles just as having girls must.

    Wonderful to see you blogging in a new format, Ann, and thanks for giving me yet another daily distraction of a decidedly non work-related nature. I added your feed to my Netvibes page before I’d read a single word!

  75. Ann Handley says:

    Bob, Steve, Mukund, BL, Alan:Thanks for the feedback & support.

    And David — funny thing: We stood next to a 40-ish Mom in Hollister wearing an A&F; tshirt. All I can say is… agreed. It wasn’t pretty.

  76. Ann Handley says:

    Bob, Steve, Mukund, BL, Alan:Thanks for the feedback & support.

    And David — funny thing: We stood next to a 40-ish Mom in Hollister wearing an A&F tshirt. All I can say is… agreed. It wasn’t pretty.

  77. Ann Handley says:

    Alan: Wow… that’s an endorsement. You are the best! How old are you kids now?

  78. Ann Handley says:

    Alan: Wow… that’s an endorsement. You are the best! How old are you kids now?

  79. Yay, your own blog! Glad you got it up and running, and I second everyone’s comment on the title – very fitting : )

    When I finally decide to re-enter the blogosphere I’ll definitely drop in to see what’s what with you here, and leave my 2 (maybe 3) cents of course!

  80. Yay, your own blog! Glad you got it up and running, and I second everyone’s comment on the title – very fitting : )

    When I finally decide to re-enter the blogosphere I’ll definitely drop in to see what’s what with you here, and leave my 2 (maybe 3) cents of course!

  81. Eric Kintz says:

    So you start a new blog and you don’t even tell me? :)

  82. Eric Kintz says:

    So you start a new blog and you don’t even tell me? :)

  83. Nancy says:

    Go Annie!
    If the mall gets to be too much, I’ll send the girls to bring Caroline around. Lib shops at Salvation Army and Christine prefers Nieman’s, Should be interesting! Could have sworn the car was Uncle Tom’s. Love ya!

  84. Nancy says:

    Go Annie!
    If the mall gets to be too much, I’ll send the girls to bring Caroline around. Lib shops at Salvation Army and Christine prefers Nieman’s, Should be interesting! Could have sworn the car was Uncle Tom’s. Love ya!

  85. I’ve been to Hollister too, have you noticed the strange sweet scents they pump into the air? I think it’s a teen derived Pheromone.

  86. I’ve been to Hollister too, have you noticed the strange sweet scents they pump into the air? I think it’s a teen derived Pheromone.

  87. Ann Handley says:

    Jeremiah — Yes, I have… you might be right! It takes a few wash cycles to get the stink out, actually…

  88. Ann Handley says:

    Jeremiah — Yes, I have… you might be right! It takes a few wash cycles to get the stink out, actually…

  89. Bo-nanny -

    I love this post and the weblog!

    It’s simply anntastic! (guffaw!) Can’t wait to read more!

    Leigh (your biggest fann)

  90. Bo-nanny -

    I love this post and the weblog!

    It’s simply anntastic! (guffaw!) Can’t wait to read more!

    Leigh (your biggest fann)

  91. B.L Ochman says:

    Apropos your post, I think you might like this little movie by my friend Gretchen Rubin, whose blog is The Happiness Project. http://www.theyearsareshort.com/landing.html

  92. B.L Ochman says:

    Apropos your post, I think you might like this little movie by my friend Gretchen Rubin, whose blog is The Happiness Project. http://www.theyearsareshort.com/landing.html

  93. Lynn McLoughlin says:

    wow, I loved this one! I was right there with you with my preteen! loved the night club reference – so true…mostly loved your endless humorous twist on the ordinary creating the extraordinary!! By the way, that store freaks me out.
    love,
    Lynn

  94. Lynn McLoughlin says:

    wow, I loved this one! I was right there with you with my preteen! loved the night club reference – so true…mostly loved your endless humorous twist on the ordinary creating the extraordinary!! By the way, that store freaks me out.
    love,
    Lynn

  95. Wow! And I thought I was the storyteller! What a ball for all of us to get a peak into what is really going on inside there! You are inspiring…your thoughts AND the way you convey them. I want more. And I’m reallly beginning to get the idea of what a blog can be…and do. What a wonderful community you are bringing together and creating for all of us. Thanks for all.
    Lani

  96. Wow! And I thought I was the storyteller! What a ball for all of us to get a peak into what is really going on inside there! You are inspiring…your thoughts AND the way you convey them. I want more. And I’m reallly beginning to get the idea of what a blog can be…and do. What a wonderful community you are bringing together and creating for all of us. Thanks for all.
    Lani

  97. S. Russell says:

    Ann, great work for making this blog happen! I loved reading this piece. Your funny, irreverent connections came through so clearly.All so true,- strap on your seatbelt, Momma! Did I ever send you the photo of Caroline and Lee both aged about 3 that I took in the park?
    love&woof,
    -s.xox

  98. S. Russell says:

    Ann, great work for making this blog happen! I loved reading this piece. Your funny, irreverent connections came through so clearly.All so true,- strap on your seatbelt, Momma! Did I ever send you the photo of Caroline and Lee both aged about 3 that I took in the park?
    love&woof,
    -s.xox

  99. Rae Rae says:

    Good God Ann; you have a lot of friends! Love the blog. It’s great to be in your head from time to time. xoxo Rae Rae

  100. Rae Rae says:

    Good God Ann; you have a lot of friends! Love the blog. It’s great to be in your head from time to time. xoxo Rae Rae

  101. Ann Handley says:

    Thanks Rae, Lani, Lynn, Susan and Leigh — some of my most favorite people all in one spot. (Cool for me!)

  102. Ann Handley says:

    Thanks Rae, Lani, Lynn, Susan and Leigh — some of my most favorite people all in one spot. (Cool for me!)

  103. Ad Broad says:

    Glad to discover this blog, thanks to virtual pal Toad. Wonderful story, Ann. Feels like I was there just minutes ago. (My girls are in college.) Buckle your seat belt. Look forward to reading about your ride.

  104. Ad Broad says:

    Glad to discover this blog, thanks to virtual pal Toad. Wonderful story, Ann. Feels like I was there just minutes ago. (My girls are in college.) Buckle your seat belt. Look forward to reading about your ride.

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