When I was in high school, in August every year, my mom and I would trek up to NYC for a few days of shopping and exploring. It was the best. We called it our “back to school shopping trip,” but really we both just loved New York City and knew we could get some really original finds there.
I wish I could say we checked out the Guggenheim Museum, or wondered through MoMA, laid around in Central Park, but we didn’t. How could you have time for that when you dedicate an entire day of your trip to Century 21?
Recently I asked my mom how we discovered Century 21, but neither of us could remember. The first time I stepped foot in there was literally two weeks before 9/11 when I was 14. My mom and I had a croissant at the bottom of one of the towers before going in. Kind of surreal. Even during 9/11 I remembered thinking there was no way Century 21 could still be standing as it was right by the towers, but it was. From that point on, we made it a point to spend an entire day at the store every time we visited NYC.
I like to call myself a seasoned Century 21 shopper, since I’ve been going there for more than 10 years :::hair flip:::. Century 21 isn’t like any other store I’ve shopped. It makes Nordstrom Rak and TJ Maxx look like crying little wusses. If the rumors are true, the Philly store will mirror the NYC store, which means there will be 3-4 floors of insane goodness, which makes me swoon. Literally … I have butterflies like some groupie dork.
You may think I’m being over dramatic, you may think I’m being a little crazytown, but talk to me after your first Century 21 experience and you can buy me a drink for the rad advice I’m about to give you.
Now behold, my words of wisdom to help you get the most out of your first Century 21 Philly experience.
1. Dedicate a day: Especially if this is your first time, give yourself ample amounts of time to shop the store as there’s various floors with various goods: Designer, more affordable shit, accessories … I mean it never ends. It’s so good … it’s all SO good.
2. Fuel Up: Eat a meal and drink your fluids (non-alcoholic) before entering the store. Maybe do some jumping jacks … I don’t know. You’ll only understand once you’ve been there, but it takes stamina and strength, my friends, to score the good stuff. You gotta muscle up when we are talking Dolce and Gabbana for close to nothing. Otherwise you will fade fast and some other lady will get the goods, and no one wants that, right?
3. Dress Appropriately: The fitting rooms in the NYC store didn’t have doors, which was a little mortifying at first, but when you have an arm full of insane designer deals, you really don’t care if some random old lady sees your bits and pieces. I have NO idea what the fitting room sitch is in the Philly store, but if you are more modest, wear appropriate undergarments JUST in case.
4. Be in the Right Head Space: If you aren’t at least 85% in the mood to shop, don’t go. This is a marathon, not a track meet. Lots of people, lots of shit to dig through. When I only had a few minutes in NYC to roam Century 21, I would browse accessories, get frustrated by the people and the chaos, and leave. If you’re thinking, “maybe I’ll hit up Century 21, take a cab ride down to the new Nordstrom Rack, maybe hit up Uniqlo … I don’t know, I don’t know if there will be time!” don’t. Just … no. Don’t. You’ll regret it. Century 21 or bust.
5. Have A Strategy: What are you looking for? Do you want high-end designer goods? Shoes? Accessories? Find out what you want the most and work from there. I always did accessories last because it was less to carry (I’m an accessories whore) and you can’t bring them into the fitting room. I started in the more affordable section, then ended up in designer and was able to filter my finds better. And by filter I mean standing by the register contemplating how I cannot pay my rent that month to afford everything.
Century 21 is where I purchased my first Burberry scarf for $50. Century 21 is where I scored my first piece of designer anything, a pair of Catherine Malandrino jeans. Century 21 is where I got the most original looking things that drove my friends crazy. I can’t explain to you how excited I am that it is making its debut tomorrow in Philly. Seriously … I just … yeah. This:
Side note: Century 21 Philly did not pay me to write this post or bribe me with goods, I’m just a ridiculous super fan of this store. Century 21, if you WOULD like to bribe me with goods, I’m totally available for a conversation. Hit me up, boo.