Sunday, February 25, 2007

Forever 21: the pros outweigh the cons

I had to run into the city (that's New York City for my newer readers) on Friday for some errands, and the combination of the stress of deadlines, the steely grey sky and freezing wind, and mild boredom while I waited for my project to be finished, made is a perfect day for a little retail therapy. Unfortunately, I didn't (and still don't) have a lot of cash, nor did I have time to amble from shop to shop while searching for something fantastic to lift my spirits. The necessity of cheap and prolific left me with two choices: H&M or the sometimes dreaded Forever 21. I can go to H&M any time, so I decided to take a gamble.

And actually, I was pleasantly surprised. Forever 21 is about as cheap as you can get in the world of fast fashion, and sometimes, it's a bit of a disaster: the stores are crowded and messy, the service sucks, the music sucks more, and pieces that looked perfectly innocuous on the hanger can make even a happy, confident girl want to lose 15 pounds when on. Still, I'm happy to announce that there are some ways around these disasters, and some cute pieces to be found for very little money as well. As far as the music and service go, you just have to suck it up; embrace the tacky dance tracks, and give yourself time to do some digging and searching on your own, because you probably won't get any assistance. The badness of the clothing, however, can be remedied. Don't buy anything in your size, unless you like the shrinkwrapped look; the proportions of the clothing can be weird and a little off, so buy a size or two up, and whatever you get will be more forgiving. Also, try EVERYTHING on--don't ever assume that because something looks cute on the mannequin at Forever 21, it'll look cute on you, too. To put it plainly, the clothing isn't constructed well, so you have to experiment with fit. Still, if you can embrace the inconvenience of it all, you might find some cute things for very little money. Some guidelines:

Stay away from: anything in polyesther; childish patterns; anything see-through; flimsy, thin jersey pieces that lose shape; anything too tight; things with too many annoying colors; things that look as cheap as they are

Go for: cotton or silk pieces; large-scale, especially geometric patterns; structured pieces; items that are lined; things that fit well; solid, subltle colors; things that look more expensive than they are; trapeze dresses; blouson tops; high waisted, wide legged pants, patent shoes

Also, keep an eye out for some sweet Anna Sui-esque patterns. Actually, that's an overly-kind euphemism; they're more like blatant Anna Suit knock-offs, but I suppose nothing's ever truly original in fashion. Besides, Forever 21 used to be knock-offs of the knock-offs, so the more direct immitation probably shows an increase in quality. . . or something like that.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I def agree. Years ago I abhored Forever 21, but now whenever I go in I can easily find like 5 pieces I love. I do think that the branches in large cities like Manhattan or SFran are better than the ones in the suburbs, but usually even then I can find more things than say in H&M, which I also love, but can be really hit or miss.

8:52 PM  
Blogger La Principessa said...

I dunno if I've ever been to a Forever 21 in the suberbs, but after my recent F21 experiences, I definitely would!

11:52 AM  

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