I’m very used to high street shopping, when my bank balance allows it. I know what size I am in most stores, and which shops do the right length jeans (thank you Dorothy Perkins and GAP). So heading for some of the intimidatingly huge malls in California was a slightly daunting prospect. Some stores are familiar, H&M seems to have subtley conquered the world, and GAP, or The GAP is everywhere but other American brands are less known to me.
The Spectrum outdoor mall, south of LA, is a great shopping experience with plenty of choice and loads of restuarants to break up a marathon shopping day. Forever 21 is my staple all American brand and it didn’t let me down. I purchased a turquoise and orange sweater covered in crabs, which sounds bizarre but is actually amazing, a Hogwarts crest tee (because I just couldn’t resist) and a grey tank top with UNITED STATES OF AMERICA emblazoned across the front, just to prove where I bought it.
Stores like Charlotte Russe are fairly similar to High Street chains you find the UK but the big difference with everywhere in the US is the variety of sizes. I’m a tall girl, so finding things that fit well is a pain, but almost everywhere from Old Navy to Victoria’s Secret does a tall range, not just jeans in a longer length, which means I stock up on clothes every time I visit the US!
Superstores like Target and Walmart are, to me, the classic american shopping experience. The huge aisles, the variety of items and the dollar section all give you a shopping experience unlike anything in the UK. Even the largest Tesco you know of can’t compare to the scale of a decent Target. The main thing that always catches me out in California is tax. The sales tax is added on at the checkout, so always bear that in mind when scraping through your collection of quarters for the right amount of money.
I’d absolutely recommend checking out Target for cute, reasonably priced practical items like socks, swimsuits, tees etc. Think of it like Primark, but if possible, with more choice. Definitely check out the food aisles for some tasty snacks. American candy is a whole other world to British sweets and if you find something you can’t live without (for me, Reese’s) the endless halls of Walmart and Target are the places to go!