{Fashion Finds} Forever 21

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Most of us could walk into Nordstrom or J.Crew and put together a great-looking outfit. But not all of us can, or like, to drop that kind of money for every item in our closet. I prefer to mix things up, and have pieces not seen by everyone in a catalog. The great thing about Forever 21 (or 'In There Forever' as Mr. Sugarplum calls it), is each item is limited, so it's likely you'll never see it on anyone else. That, and you can buy a bag-load for $100!

Granted the store can be overwhelming, and most of it is geared towards the younger (no curves) crowd. But with a little time and some handy tips, you can flush out the golden nuggets. I tend to focus on trendy pieces and flattering silhouettes.

For instance, this top has special touches like a pleated bottom and cuffed sleeves, with a flattering neckline and banded waist. I'd wear this with black pants and big gold earrings.

Pleated Top, $19.80
I love how this studded collar contradicts the prim silhouette of the sweater. I'd wear it tucked into a high-waisted skirt, or casual with dark skinnies and leopard flats. When you're spending $20 for a top, you don't have to worry about liking the trend long-term.

Studded Collar Sweater, $22.80

I don't think I'll ever tire of polka dots, but would be ready to ditch this bow-tie after a week. Just check to see if it's removable, or easily cut off. This top would be adorable with every color in your closet.

Polka Dot Shirt, $19.80

Always a fan of stripes, especially in black and white, I'd pair this with a floral skirt and bright, solid-color blazer.

Striped Satin Top, $14.80

Their tops are great for layering under jackets and cardigans.

Waterfall Tank, $19.80

I am pear-shaped, so I go for dresses and skirts with an a-line, and lean towards solid colors or simple patterns because they look richer.

Essential Colorblocked Dress, $19.80

Essential Circle Skirt, $15.80

 Wrap dresses are great for creating a more custom fit.

Retro Print Wrap Dress, $24.80

Two years ago I went against my better judgement and tried on a pair of their skinny jeans (I never buy their pants). So imagine how shocked I am to still be wearing and loving them today! I had to try on a lot of frogs to find my prince, but I do that with jeans that cost 15 times as much!

Classic Skinnies, $10.80
Once you find your fit, pick up a cropped pair for easy tucking into knee-high boots. And I always stick with a dark rinse...it's most flattering and gives outfits a more polished look.

Classic Denim Capris, $10.80

I asked two of my most stylish blogger friends to weigh in on their Forever 21 tips.

Natalie at Designer Bags & Dirty Diapers said,  
"The main thing I look for while shopping at Forever 21 is solid colored items. I feel like their prints can get cheesy and cheap looking. For the most part the solids are great basics to mix in with your higher-end wardrobe items. Case and point, I just bought this blush colored blazer for Fall. It was a great solid neutral color and only $29.00. Score!"



Chassity of Look, Linger, Love has a similar opinion about mixing.  
"It goes without saying that you have to dig. I bypass anything that looks cheap or teen-ish. But once you do discover a great find, don't be afraid to put it with your designer items in your closet. It's all about pairing your high and low end items together in a way that creates an eclectic and layered look. Here I've paired my F21 horse print blouse with some better quality items from my closet."
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"F21 is also a great place to find seasonal trends that you want to participate in but may not want to invest much in. This past weekend I dropped in to my local F21 and found this acid washed jean tunic. As you can see I'm uncertain at first (and I can see your side eyes), but for $29 I'm willing to give it a shot this fall."
 Pictures35

There's no question both these ladies will work those pieces, and no one will know their real price tags.

Here are some more tips for helping you navigate Forever 21, both in-store and online:

When shopping online, look at every picture of a potential buy. Many of the pieces will be cute from the front, but have a shocking cut-out in the back, or crazy bat sleeves.

Check the material content. Nothing is going to be silk or quality cotton, but if you're buying jeans or something fitted, you'll want a bit of spandex or lycra. 

Skirts and dresses look best when lined.

Don't judge the fit by the picture. The majority of the models are 5'10", so a skirt that falls mid-thigh for them, might hit you at the knee.

Check the measurements for the best fit. I tend to size-up in everything but their more 'luxe' Love 21 Collection.

If you like it, get it. Because it won't be there when you go back.

Unless you're built very straight, stick with shapes more forgiving of curves...like flowing tops and a-line bottoms.

When shopping in store, check out the mannequins. The merchandisers usually put the best looking pieces on display.

If you like it, try it on! You may be surprised!

Don't force it, half the time I walk out empty-handed.

Don't forget about their amazing accessories department! 


Still not convinced? Check out some of my favorite outfits with F21 pieces here, here, here, and here. Do you shop Forever 21? What are you favorite buys and tips?


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35 witty retorts:

  1. AWESOME PICKS LADIES! And I feel like a total jerk, I totally got your email and figured I still had time to respond. Oops! Well y'all sure did a great round up!

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  2. Love this. At 23 years old, Forever 21 is getting TOO young for me but I like that I can still find some decent pieces to mix and match with better things.

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  3. Great post Cassie and so true! Thanks for having me and I am not kidding I might just head there today to get my shop on!

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  4. Forever 21 has just arrived in the UK but agreed it is a bit overwhelming - however their accessories department is fab!! xx

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  5. LOVE all your picks and great tips! btw, their jewelry is also amazing - i cant find pieces under $5 and mix it with my other pieces for a luxurious look!

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  6. I have found a dress there this past summer for my Mexico trip. It was a strapless dress that was perfect, and I can put it with a cardingan this fall.

    But other than that, I never have luck in that store. I'm not a teen, so I have curves, and it's so difficult to find anything (well, not just there, but everywhere!). Just last night I went shopping for jeans. I usually am a size 4 or 6, but damn, not everyone is built like a 12 year old boy! Jeans need some curves y'all so we women can fit them!

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  7. I totally agree with you! Its hit and miss with F21 for me. You can really score some great pieces if you just take the time to search. I ten to get overwhelmed in there because searching can be exhausting! I like organization and F21 is anything but that. It's worth the hassle for the price though!

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  8. Great tips! I however get completely overwhelmed in that store, and really have a hard time shopping in the same place as my daughters! LOL

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  9. I've never bought pants there...I'm afraid I'm a bit too curvy. I would also be wary of shopping online. I like to check out the quality and sizes in person at F21, because sometimes they're not quite what I expected. That being said, I LOVE buying skirts, dresses, and shirts there, but tend to stick to solids and things not too teenybopperish. Great accessories too. I might have to pick up that jewel-collared sweater. Great picks ladies!

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  10. I always feel weird shopping in F21 (i'm 32), but I usually always find something to bring home...a scarf, belt, trendy cheap top...love that others are on board with mixing and matching!

    www.lifelovelarson.blogspot.com

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  11. Great tips! Will have to go check out our giant one asap!

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  12. I just recently started to find things there again...I just bought a blouse that looks pretty much *identical* to a J Crew one I've been drooling over, but instead of $120, it was $19 (c: It's definitely a process, but they have some gems!

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  13. You did such a fun job on this post, Cassie. I'm glad I could be a part of it. xoxoxo

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  14. My linen pants are from Forever 21 and I get tons of compliments on them! I have paid wayyy tooo muchhh for linen pants before and no one ever noticed. My $20 pair seem to be working just fine :)

    I LOVE that light pink blazer. Adorable!!

    --Sarah

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  15. Great advice - to not force it - that's a good point for all shopping - wait to find the right piece. Their accessories department is my crack - seriously I could open my own jewelry shop ;)

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  16. So many great tips! I just found out about Love21. Who knew? And I agree...it's overwhelming to go in there but they always seem to have some great finds once you start digging!

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  17. Wow, amazing post! I always see friends & bloggers w. such cute things from F21 but I never have much luck. Mainly bc if I don't go to the store when it first opens it's a disaster and I don't have much patience to dig. And their website - every time I attempt to shop online I'm overwhelmed and can't find what I'm looking for. I tend to do better when I have a direct link to sth I like on their site and go right there and snatch it. Glad you linked to everything bc you found some real jewels. And I love the striped button down in the pic w. your beloved skinny jeans. Thanks for sharing!

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  18. I love F21. It can definitely be hit or miss. But when it hits...its oh so good and makes all those other trips worth it.

    No one beats their accessories dept pricing and they usually have some spot on trends.

    Shockingly, I purchased a mustard silk {real silk} dress from there about 6 years ago and still have it.

    xx. Patience

    whitelacquer.blogspot.com

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  19. Awesome post! I have to ask..where can I get the leopard shoes? I so want them, they seem to be the perfect height.

    xoxo
    Yaniradelvalle at aol dot com

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  20. I love forever 21, however I usually try on 100 things and only 1 works..but you just can't beat the price!

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  21. Cassie, did you ever use a company that can put photos on canvas so they look like paintings? Saw that somewhere and I thought it might have been one of your great ideas. Thanks for the great suggestions using F21!

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  22. People always have such great finds there! I just can't get over the weird feeling of shopping next to 12 year olds. So after 25, I've never stepped back into a F21!

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  23. Fantastic post! I haven't been in Forever 21 in, well, forever! Looks like I need to go shopping! :)

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  24. I love mixing F21 pieces w/ higher-quality pieces. Am a total fan of your style (you make it look so easy & you know how I like easy.....wait) & love this fashion breakdown.

    Now let's talk about how I never feel forever 21 when I'm in there. I kinda always want to ask one of the miniskirt wearing chickadees to please turn down the music b/c it's too loud for my baby & me. There are so many things wrong w/ that sentence.......

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  25. Hi me again....
    Before anyone thinks I'm a washed up old biddy--I used to manage an Abercrombie store & we had LOUD music. Seriously we cranked that shizz UP.

    But that was a decade ago......this isn't helping my case is it?

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  26. I picked up a darling double breasted red coat from there last year. I think it was $20 and was super cute for winter. I like random things like that and if I get tired of it no big deal. Super cute post.

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  27. When in doubt, go straight for the accessories. It doesn't matter if you strike out in the clothes department b/c there is ALWAYS a necklace or bracelet to walk out with.

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  28. I too was reluctant to try their jeans, but pleasantly surprised! F21 & H&M are great for inexpensive denim!

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  29. I really love this post! I need to apply your tips next time I go. And it would serve me well to not try to go on a Saturday afternoon, which is usually when I find myself there. It is far too overwhelming then!

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  30. Cass... I loved this post! My "Mr. Sugarplum" calls it "Forever too long". Because... well... I'm in there for that long! Ha ha! I am so happy you wrote this blog. I'm totally sharing it with him. I am a 28 year old mother of 4 children ages 5 and under. I am 5'2 and weigh 110. I know... roll your eyes or drop your jaw. We have to budget every single dollar... diapers aren't cheap dude! I love shopping at F21 because I can still pick up a few trendy pieces without breaking the budget AND I am totally guilty of the $10.80 jeans line! HA! I live in Hawaii and everything costs an arm and a leg... so you can only imagine the satisfaction I get outta saving some buckeroos. AND...they fit me well. Thank you Jesus! Loved that tip from your fellow blogger friend about picking up solid colors and staying away from teenage-ish prints. I'm a sucker for their accessories too! SO FUN! It's amazing how a set of accessories can change the entire outfit! Oh and their $3.80 tank tops are great for around the house or at the beach. Our local F21 just brought in a plus line too. I have many friends and relatives that don't fit the F21 sizes. They are ecstatic! There are SO many great pieces in the plus line that don't come in the F21 line. I'm tempted to pick them up and alter them at home! Thanks again Cass... love your blog posts! :)

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  31. LOVE the pink studded top and the peachy blazer!!
    xo,
    jamie
    http://www.candystilettos.com

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  32. I can't tell you how many times someone has complimented me on something I'm wearing, and when I tell them it's F21 they can't believe it. It's all about the mix, and finding those diamonds in the rough that don't make you look like an 18 year old at the club (aka, inappropriate) :)

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  33. YOU ARE THE F21 QUEEN of making everything you buy look HIGH END!!!!! I need you as my personal shopper!!! Can I fly you in? Hair trade?! :)

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  34. Love this post! All great tips about how to navigate F21!

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  35. I just spent a couple hours in F21 last weekend! Got a lot of stuff, including some tall riding boots for a total of $75! Can't beat that! www.styleoyster.blogspot.com

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Your comments are like crack, or popcorn with milk duds, I just can't quit them. And unfortunately, because of insane amounts of spam, I've had to disable Anonymous comments for awhile. I just didn't need any more information on penis enlargements! But you can always email me! xoxo, cass