(Note from the editor: As the title suggests, this article is the first in an A&E series about how  to shop smartly, cheaply, and, yes, stylishly. This week, our brilliant Sofia Villareal introduces you to the fine art of mall shopping. In an upcoming issue, the delightful Monica Clifford will examine the art of thrift shopping.)

As much as I wish my shopping career resembled Carrie Bradshaw’s in “Sex and the City,” my middle and high school experiences at the mall were closer to those of the Canadian popstar Robin Sparkles in “How I Met Your Mother”—only minus the body rockin’ and with much less cute teen drama.

My love affair with the mall has only grown since then, and for the purpose of building a dream closet, I like to visit different malls for different occasions and shopping experiences.

Luckily, San Antonio is not lacking in that regard. As I hope to show you, this city has a mall for every interest and taste.

The Shops at La Cantera are my favorite, just not in the heat of the day. It is an outdoor mall, so during the summer, blood and sweat—but hopefully not tears—will transpire in the process of shopping there, and it will be great.

As one of the furthest malls from campus, it takes a little over 20 minutes to get there, but it is SO worth it.  For sales at Urban Outfitters and Zara, I will gladly risk a heat stroke.

Better yet, as of this summer, you no longer have to travel to Austin for your H&M clothes; La Cantera contains the first and only location in San Antonio.

A close second to La Cantera on my list of favorites is North Star Mall. This mall is most easily accessible for Trinity students. It has mostly the same stores as La Cantera, minus some higher-end designers, but with more variety.

Located just off of Loop 410 on San Pedro, North Star takes less than 15 minutes to get to by car, but you can also take the bus. If you’ve ever passed a humongous pair of cowboy boots on the highway, you’ve seen North Star Mall.

If you are looking for a place to shop while downtown, Rivercenter Mall is located on the River Walk. This shopping area is more of a tourist trap and has fewer stores than North Star and La Cantera, but it’s still fun to visit.

Plus, if you want the tourist experience, you can find San Antonio Riverwalk-themed merchandise in almost every corner of this mall. This is a great place to take out-of-town visitors.

In my efforts to achieve the aforementioned dream closet, the mall has become that magical, material place where I can—and do—justify buying a new pair of shoes instead of the groceries I planned on buying. For now, I will settle for treating the mall like Cher from “Clueless.”

You see, in a desert of stress and due dates, a mall can be a great oasis. When I’m stressed, matchmaking my professors, or just in need of a new outfit for going out, the mall is my haven where all of my worries melt away with every sip of a venti iced white mocha.

Best of all, the mall provides the essentials for survival: clothing, shelter and food. All you have to do is shop, eat and repeat.  In fact, that’s not a bad mall shopper’s mantra.

After all, who needs real, nutritious food when you can be elbow-deep in a Cinnabon cinnamon roll, after hours of searching the mall for the perfect outfit?

And with that I leave you to your mall adventures. Go get ‘em, shoppers!