After several years of our annual Easter shopping spree (care of our generous grandparents), I have learned a few things that help make the process easier and more successful. Trust me, we've whittled down the trip from 4+ hours to 2 hours (I know this sounds ridiculous, but think about five girls selecting and trying on 15-20 pieces each and then deciding on five items each to take home).
The reward: trendy, fun pieces that can be worked into your wardrobe... at a very low price.
My EIGHT tips for a successful shopping trip to Forever 21:
1) Move through the store in an orderly fashion. Shop by section or area, moving from front to back and side to side. There are lots of hidden treasures that you don't want to miss!
2) Browse quickly and grab any patterns, colors or fabrics look appealing. Pull out the hanger to get a good look and assess whether you want to try it on. Keep an open mind—sometimes something that looks blah on the hanger can look amazing once it's on a person's body.
3) Check the length of dresses (I often ask, is this a dress or a top? Not sure if it's a tall girl problem or a Forever 21 thing). Slide a hand inside tops to make sure they aren't completely sheer, another common issue with cheap clothes—unless that's the look you want (maybe with a cute cami underneath?). If it's too short or too see-through, don't even take it to the fitting room.
4) Choose the size that you think will fit you based on how it looks. I could be a small, medium, or large—all in the same shopping trip. It totally depends on the way a specific piece of clothing is made and how it fits my body.
5) Pick out a whole bunch of items to try on (I tried on 18 pieces this year... some were fabulous, some were okay, some were completely ill-fitting and gross once I tried them on). You never truly know what will look good or how something will fit until it's on your body. The line for the fitting rooms are usually long, so browse the whole store and load up so you'll only have to wait in line once.
6) They only allow 6 articles of clothing at a time in the fitting room, so the associate working the fitting room will place the rest of your selections on a rack. Make sure to keep an eye on the rack and switch out your "no's" as you go. (One heartbreaking year, the store associates had taken my additional items that I wanted to try on and accidentally started to redisplay them in the store... and we all know how long it takes to go through the big, busting-at-the-seams store).
7) Be critical. Just because it's inexpensive and looks okay doesn't mean you have to buy it. If you aren't sure or think maybe if this part could just be a little different, don't buy it. Use the same criteria as you would for any other purchases: Do I love it? Does it fit? Will it work with the rest of my wardrobe?
8) Remember that Forever 21 allows returns for store credit or exchange, not for full refunds. I believe accessories and jewelry are final sale.
And here are my five items from this year's shopping trip:
Orange Maxi Dress
(not currently on the website)
Rory Beca for Forever21 Spring 2012 lookbook
Blue dress: second from left
It's not quite so sheer in real life!
Blue dress: far right