5 Phases All Girls Go Through When Shopping A Designer Collaboration

Today my whole world came crashing down, literally and figuratively, as H&M’s server shutdown and took my dreams of wearing well-priced Alexander Wang leggings along with it.

Fun fact about me: I pride myself on nabbing coveted pieces from affordable designer collaborations: Lanvin and Versace for H&M, Missoni, Prabal Gurung and 3.1 Phillip Lim for Target, Fenton/Fallon for J.Crew, Pierre Hardy for Gap, Kate Moss for Topshop.

Some of my fondest shopping memories are scoring Missoni blankets in a barren, middle-of-nowhere Target in Michigan or spotting a rare, leftover Stella McCartney jacket in a Madrid H&M that's miraculously my size.

These are the fashion thrills I, and many working 20-somethings who can’t yet budget for the real thing, live for.

Half of our excitement isn’t even about wanting the designer duds (with the exception of those Jeremy Scott shoes for Adidas), it’s about bragging rights that we landed the “it” collection.

The art of shopping for designer collaborations makes for a great story. There’s the hype surrounding the announcement and sneak preview. There’s the drama, stress and competition of ensuring you get your hands on that one knockout piece.

And there’s the final act when you realize, just like everything else in life: You win some, you lose some. It’s not unlike "The Hunger Games" of online shopping.

You will invariably be reminded of your sartorial successes and failures in the weeks to come, as the women of your city proudly prance around in their one-out-of-100 Alexander Wang gym bags, beanies and scuba shirts. You’ll curse yourself for not opening more browsers or showing up to the store earlier.

You’ll pat yourself on the back for going straight to the shoes (They’re always the first to sell out!). And then, as the hysteria cools off, so will your urge to wear those trendy harem pants.

But that’s the great thing about designer collaborations, and why we’ll never stop chasing them: You get a big Wang for your buck.

Here are the five phases every girl goes through when shopping a designer collaboration:

Phase One: Preparation

You’re more excited than usual for the Alexander Wang X H&M collaboration because, for once, the clothes are actually wearable. So wearable that you can even sweat in them.

Preparing for launch requires research. You do your homework and scope out the entire collection, study the descriptions of your desired items, decipher what size you’ll be, read up on fashion reviews and, most importantly, set an iCal reminder, Google reminder and an alarm clock for the day of.

You will not be tardy for this party.

Phase Two: Anxiety

This is when the what-ifs start popping up: "What if I should have gone to the store at 7 am instead of 7:30?" "What if my Internet crashes in the middle of check-out?" "What if they’re completely sold out of the boxing gloves and all that is left is the towel?"

Don’t junk up your cart with negative shopping energy. Take comfort in knowing that your odds of wearing Alexander Wang’s knitted dress on Saturday night are the same as every other girl's as you both anxiously refresh your screens and hog bandwidth.

Phase Three: Anger Mixed With Determination

Your heart is racing. Adrenaline is pumping through you, making you crazy and laser-focused on filling your shopping bag with tank tops in two sizes.

You were the first person on the website at 6 am this morning. For the love of Christian Dior, why is the site crashing on you NOW?! As you desperately watch nothing happen to your order, you can’t help but hear that bitchy saleswoman's words when you were trying on size 26 jeans, “You can’t get everything you want in this world.”

That’s bullsh*t. You’ve been stalking this collaboration for months. You’re not going down without a fight, even if you have to resort to size XXL.

Phase Four: Extreme Sadness

You’re upset. You really misjudged how many other people wanted overpriced designer yoga mats. You filled your cart with items you love and items you plan to return immediately, but they felt necessary to purchase because that’s part of the fun and you can.

Wait, how did you end up with $500 worth of merchandise? Isn’t this supposed to be cheaper than the department store equivalents?

Phase Five: Mission Accomplished

The checkout finally processes -- not without a few fallen pieces that sold out in the meantime, though. You breathe a sigh of relief; the hard part is over and now you get to wear your goodies.

You didn’t get those boxing gloves (Who really needs those anyway? You have those free weights sitting in the living room that you never use, remember? Ahh, I digress…), though you did nab the yellow sports bra.

Oh well, there’s always eBay, right?