These 19 Favorite Mall Stores Of Millennials And Gen Z’ers Says This About Their Teenage Personality


Mall culture peaked in the 2010s with the rise of online shopping, but prior to that, the majority of Gen X, millennial, and early Gen Z teens lived in the malls.

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Clothing stores in the mall were the centerpiece of past generations of teens’ self-identity and the beginning of their exploration of the fashion landscape.

It was a badge of honor as a teen coming up in the ’90s and 2000s to be able to purchase an overpriced top from a store in the mall because it signified our independence.

Popular stores, that still exist today, were highly frequented by us when we were teens since the themes of those stores resonated with our personal likes and core style — whatever that meant at the time. You could tell a lot about a person by where they loved to shop in the mall. Even now, you can tell a lot about what a person was like during their teen years by learning about their favorite store in the mall during their adolescence.

Here are 19 stores and what they say about someone’s personality during their teenhood.

1.Hot Topic

Hot Topic

Hot Topic was home to the emos, goths, and punks. The dark and grungy interior of that store was a safe haven to anyone that delighted in being anti-anything and basked in individualism. During your teen years, if you spent every bit of your allowance or fast-food paycheck at Hot Topic, then you were probably into The Scene Aesthetic.

Also, you were either a proud one-man wolfpack, or had a small yet mighty group of alternative friends that you didn’t mind being an outsider with. Hot Topic teens back then usually were eccentric, and creative with a dash of antisociality. If this wasn’t you as a teen, then you were most likely just a prep that wanted to feel edgy.

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2.Pac Sun


Surfers and people that adopted surf culture lived at Pac Sun. A notable brand that embodies Southern California philosophy, Pac Sun was often frequented by the chillaxed teens of the 2000s. Millennials and early Gen Z’ers whose favorite store was Pac Sun during their teenhood were mostly likely laidback and rode a wave board everywhere. If this was your store as a youth then you were ultimately nice and level-headed compared to the jocks and haywire skaters.

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Spencer's was straight up for the skater kids and street rebels. If you're a millennial and your beloved store during your teen years was Spencer's then that says to me you spent a fraction of your time in detention in high school and loved tagging property.  You were probably also a popular stoner. Even if you didn't indulge in the magical grass as a Spencer's patron, you often knew where to get it if you ever chose to. 

Spencer’s was straight up for the skater kids and street rebels. If you’re a millennial and your beloved store during your teen years was Spencer’s then that says to me you spent a fraction of your time in detention in high school and loved tagging property. You were probably also a popular stoner. Even if you didn’t indulge in the magical grass as a Spencer’s patron, you often knew where to get it if you ever chose to.

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Those that loved Hollister during their teenage years were like a hybrid of the prep and surf persona. At that time, if you were head over heels for Hollister then you probably kept your grades above a 3.0 and grew up in an upper-middle-class community yet still remained humble and down to earth. You may have also been on your school’s swim team, worn puka shells with polos, and could play the ukulele relatively well.

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If you loved Aeropostale as a teen then your personality back then was just like the Hollister teen, except you were sportier. Soccer or Lacrosse was most likely your jam.

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6.Abercrombie & Fitch

Abercrombie and Fitch

You were a total prep if you adored Abercrombie & Fitch in the 2000s, and possibly extremely cliquey. Most likely, you only associated with those who were able to afford A&F, and always made sure to carry your lunch or school things in the famed A&F bag to showcase that you regularly shopped there.

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This is the store that was more popular for millennial and early Gen Z preteens, however, Claire’s was still popular amongst the teen crowd too. Every cheerleader and super prissy princess lived for Claire’s. If this was your go-to store as a teen, that says to me that you loved anything pink, did your make-up each day before school, and were constantly chipper. Of course, you always did the most when it came to accessories as well.

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9.Wet Seal

Wet Seal

Any teen that shopped at Wet Seal back then thrived to be like Paris Hilton. Think back to any girl that you knew from high school that loved Wet Seal. Most likely, those girls were wildcards with multi-blonde highlights and razored layered hair with bangs. Truly the life of any function, sober or not.

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10.Charlotte Russe

Charlotte Russe

Every millennial and early Gen Z’er that was a Charlotte Russe fan back then was super posh and were the unsolicited school stylist and makeup artist. You were probably an aspiring fashion designer that desired to attend FIDM and most likely wore heels to school. You effortlessly made your school uniform trendy without breaking dress code.

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11.Forever 21

Forever 21

You definitely had a quirky and vivacious personality if you loved Forever 21 during your high school years.

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Hipsters thrived at H&M. Teenagers that exclusively shopped at H&M were truly artsy. Obsessed with anything vintage, H&M teens were always the ones that knew random facts about an older time period and loved to repurpose trash into an aesthetic.

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13.Victoria’s Secret

Victoria's Secret

Girls that loved Victoria’s Secret during their teen years always had a boyfriend and had the best girl advice. You also almost always carried lotion, perfume, gum, and scented sanitizer in the purse that you carried as a backpack in school.

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14.Old Navy

Old Navy

Old Navy was for those that were of a higher IQ. If you thoroughly enjoyed shopping at Old Navy as a teen then you achieved high grades in school and were everyone’s personal tutor. You were either humble about your academic abilities and willing to help those struggling in academia, or extremely judgmental toward those who had low performance in school. There was no in-between.

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15.Barnes & Noble

Barnes and Noble

Before there were e-books, people had to purchase physical books to read. The book game was so lucrative that bookstores were in their prime during the 2000s. Back then, it wasn’t uncommon for the bookstore Barnes & Noble to be on the outskirts of any mall outlet. There was a time were certain avid readers would go to a mall just to get a book at B&N.

If this was your favorite store during your teen years, you were one of those people who was a stellar English student and was always writing a creative story during class. Additionally, you probably either lived for the Harry Potter or Twilight book series and often criticized anyone that preferred the movie remake of your favorite book, dubbing them uncultured for not understanding the specificities of the actual text. I’m sure you also wore glasses too.

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16.Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters shoppers during their teen years were obsessed with polaroid cameras. If you were actively at Urban Outfitters during your teen years then you were most likely on the Instagram wave during its initial years and used your profile to model your forward-looking photography images. You probably always stayed in colorful Ray-Bans, loved ’90s grunge rock music, and indulged in thrift store shopping.

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17.Foot Locker


Sneakerheads loved footlocker. If you rocked hard with Foot Locker then you were absolutely an athlete as a teen. You were either the douchey jock who used your status to harass people or the friendly jock who laid low and solely focused on becoming a D1 athlete.

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18.Bath & Body Works

Bath and Body Works

Anyone who says that their favorite store was Bath & Body Works during their teen years was definitely into anything arts & crafts and was well-read. Furthermore, for some reason, teens that loved Bath & Body Works were always extremely dependable and structured for their age.

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GAP store

If you enjoyed wearing anything from the Gap as a millennial and Gen Z teen then you WERE the drama. Let’s leave it at that…

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