I went to Loehmann’s today for the last time and I’m a little verklempt.
Like many an east coast Jewish girl, I grew up shopping in the discount department store known for its great deals and famously communal dressing room. I learned a lot in that dressing room.
A teen boy dreams of seeing a naked lady. All a teen girl had to do was shop at Loehmann’s, where the entire spectrum of womanhood parades before her in all its glory, from perky single girls to nursing moms to blue-veined old biddies. The cycle of life! On sale at Loehmann’s.
I was a late bloomer, scrawny and flat-chested until college, so that dressing room was a little rough on me in my youth. I’d clutch an oversized Cosby sweater to my training bra while gawking at all those real women with their real curves, wondering when and if I’d ever fill out clothes like them.
In young adulthood, I finally achieved my moment in the fluorescent sun as a Loehmann’s exhibitionist, parading around the dressing room in matching lingerie while carrying on long, uninhibited conversations with friendly strangers about whether their slacks were flattering.
Post-baby, I turned to Loehmann’s once again. If I was going to be forced to buy clothing two sizes (gulp) bigger than the rest of my closet, I was doing it at a discount. Now firmly ensconced in the mother generation, I exposed my muffin top with pride to the babes and blue-hairs sharing the dressing room.
Loehmann’s is the only place I’ve ever known where you could go shopping with your daughter, mother and grandmother and all find something to wear. I looked forward to being that grandma someday. But, alas, Loehmann’s is closing its doors, and I am left wondering where I will buy my pastel sweater sets in 30 years. (I anticipate being chilly all the time.)
Farewell, sweet, sweaty Loehmann’s. You taught me so much about fabrics and spider veins.
For some real poetry on the subject, check out Julie Mencher’s Huff Post piece.
And by all means, if you have a Loehmann’s near you, go grab a purse or three at 60% off. I did.