It was in 7th grade that I was allowed to start hanging out at the mall with no parent chaperoning us. I remember feeling so free, walking around those stores with my $10 and my bff by my side, seeing boys we had crushes on and wondering if it was more worth it to spend our money on candy or PacSun clearance items. There were two popular malls to hang out at in the area of Miami I lived in:
Sunset Place opened up when I was in 6th grade, and it had an IMAX theater in it along with a regular theater. It also had a PacSun, Wet Seal, Hot Topic, Barnes and Noble and several other stores I was into, and overall it just felt way cooler to hang out there. It was probably just as concentrated with youths as any other mall was, but I was convinced it was better. It was new and exciting, and my friend Allison and I would often spend our entire school week planning our Friday night around going to Sunset Place. Her mom would drop us off around 6, and we’d get picked up at 9 right in that spot that you see above.
Let’s talk about some things for a second:
1) Hot Topic was like half cool/half scary to go into. I definitely didn’t classify myself as a “goth” in middle school, but I had some goth-like tendencies. I loved/hated going into Hot Topic because I thought it was so legit, and always felt intimidated by those fully committed to the angry/all black wearing lifestyle.
2) PacSun was maybe the most amazing store in the world to me in middle school. Allison turned me on to the surf/skate lifestyle, and I was hooked hard. We would get surf magazines and look through them like it was the Holy Bible and cut out a bunch of pictures for collages and such. PacSun was the place to go to make all of our dreams come true, except… it was way too expensive. Even the clearance section was too pricey for us, most of the time. But man, I just wanted to wear every item in that store. I remember in 8th grade, getting this amazing baby blue hoodie from the front display. It was at least $40, but that’s what my birthday money was getting me, dangit. On the front, it had a girl holding a teddy bear and a boy holding a skateboard. On the back, the girl was walking away with the skateboard as the boy sat down with the teddy bear, looking like someone punched him. There was nothing cooler than that sweatshirt, and I wore it with my JNCOs and vans in the hot, Miami weather.
3) Seeing my crush at the mall would nearly cause me to go into cardiac arrest. I was not what someone would have called “popular” in middle school, so I didn’t have boyfriends or hang out at the mall with guys. It was hard enough going to school everyday, knowing I’d be seeing the boy I liked (which changed monthly) and also knowing the stars would never align enough for me to date them (whatever that was supposed to look like for a 13 year old). So to see them out in the wild, unplanned and looking hella fly… it would just turn me into a complete idiot.
It’s so much fun to reminisce over these times. Even though I was so terribly insecure during that odd season of life, I really did have a great deal of fun, and the mall is where much of that fun took place.