The Evolution Of A Forever 21 Shopper

When I first met Forever 21, I had just graduated high school and was transforming from an Abercrombie gal to something more “edgy” (whatever the eff that meant). I remember purchasing a tube top dress that had apples all over it thinking it was quirky and “out there.” See below? Yeah … I don’t know what I was thinking either.

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F21 was there for me when I needed something spectacular to wear for my 21st birthday and had little to no money to my name. The dress I bought I deemed “F21 couture” simply because it cost more than $30 and was sparkly.

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And below, yep, this is basically what I wore every night out in college. A sultry “going out” top from Forever 21, boot cut jeans, no coat in the middle of the winter, and heels. Uh huh … I bet you’re enjoying this.

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When I graduated college, I moved back home and was completely lost in life. I was making money, but thought luxury was being able to buy everything and anything at F21 since for so long I had to make $20 go far. I also did NOT take care of my clothing (it literally all lived on my bedroom floor). Oh yeah … and I also wanted to be Lady Gaga … desperately. You can tell by the sunglasses I bought at … you guessed it … F21, duck face, and sparkly shirt I’m wearing below (I actually still have that top). (Good God, self). 

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For the past two years or so, I’ve taken a break from Forever 21, simply because there wasn’t one close to me, leading me to explore other stores and my sense of style. Not to mention Philly has really upped its shopping game adding a Century 21, which, quite frankly, made me the happiest person on the planet. 

I started investing in “pieces” and better brands. I became friends with dry cleaners and cobblers, and started to take an interest in my closet organization. Never again did a piece of my hard earned clothing ever take refuge on my bedroom floor (unless I was hungover)

But this past weekend I went back to my old stomping grounds of F21. It was kind of like visiting my alma-mater. The familiar overwhelming feeling of being faced with racks and racks stuffed with too many clothes warmed my soul. 

Instead of collecting everything and anything that caught my eye to try on like I did once upon a time, I found myself feeling the fabric, looking at the quality, and seeing if the piece was “timeless” instead of “trendy.” 

A camel-colored coat caught my eye, so I tried it on. Me five years ago would have purchased it and thought she resembled Kim Kardashian. But modern day me was too caught up in how the fabric looked wrinkled and cheap, something a camel coat should never be, regardless if it was $60, so I passed. 

After trying on 14 items, I walked away with one. One. A plain jane sweater that was snuggly and something I needed to go with a dress I already owned. What had happened to me and F21?

I was certain that when I turned 30, 40, even 50, I would still be shopping at Forever 21. But as I walked out of the store, I kind of felt like I was turning around and saying, “it’s me … not you!” I knew we were breaking up … and it made me incredibly sad. 

People like to hate on Forever 21 and say it’s cheap and silly. I know for a fact without it existing, I could have never explored and found my personal style so easily. And I’m not saying we broke up because I’m so fancy now and only shop at Saks Fifth Avenue and wear Manolo Blaniks and turn my nose up at it :::hair flip:::. Hell no. I have the highest respect for F21. I just think my taste has grown-up a bit. I’m 28, for crying out loud, it happens.

With all of this being said, would I re-think the apple tube dress? Meeeeeh probably.

Size 9: Always Out Of Stock

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 12.53.38 PMI remember being the young age of 10 when I became a size 9 in women’s shoes. It was mortifying, to say the least. I was a monster walking around tiny people who still resembled actual children, when I was well on my way to the “Women’s section” in stores, which made me feel super awkward. My height was something I knew I didn’t have control over, but my feet? Well … I did everything to make them not look like Big Foot’s relative … including squeezing my foot into shoes that were way too small for me.

Regardless to say, I have some foot problems now. I won’t go into the gritty details … but lesson here, kids is … rock your proper shoe size, no matter if it looks like you have clown feet and have to start shopping in the Women’s section of Payless that no longer offers cool Disney-inspired velcro shoes. 

Now … as an adult who has become one with her size 9 foot, I’m actually convinced everyone is a size 9. Want to know why? Because every time I find a sandal that I like … size 9 is gone. “Oh … do you want us to email you when they come back in … IF they come back in?” No. I want them NOW, dammit, NOW! 

My issue is I hate paying a lot of money for sandals. I always look forward to summer because no longer do you have to worry about purchasing $200 a pop pairs of boots, or $100 pairs of heels. Sandals, because of the less material factor, should be cheaper, right? RIGHT?!

Well … depends on where you go. Hence why my jam are websites like Forever 21. I’ve been buying my sandals there for years. It was my secret spot to get on-trend styles for like 20 bucks. Sure, they don’t last as long, and yes a pair of mine once broke whilst walking to the train (super fun day), but they get the job done for the most part. 

Nothing thrills me more than going onto for the first sandal buying event of the year. That was, until every style I immediately fell in love with was out of my size. Ummm come again? What in living hell is going on here? 

My mother, who has the perfect size 8, found her shoes, clicked and bought them. No problem. No wanting to punt her laptop like me. “Oooh I LOVE those” … size 9 unavailable. “Those are to DIE for!” Nope … size 9 unavailable. “I would literally stab someone to wear those sandals.” Welp … looks like I don’t need to, because size 9 is, you guessed it … unavailable. 

What gives, Forever 21?! Do you keep like 10 pairs of each shoe in stock? Or does everyone and their mother just know about my secret spot for cheap and stylish sandals? Like, I’m happy for you that people are buying your shit, but my God, can a sister just get ONE pair of sandals she desires? And no … I don’t want to be on a “waiting list” because who knows, by the time they come I may not even want them. Call me Veruca Salt, but I WANT THEM NOOOOOOW, DADDY! 

Apart of me wishes I had baby feet or gigantor feet … because good styles are ALWAYS available in size 6 or size 11. That isn’t just in Forever 21, that is everywhere. If you are a size 9 … forget it. The good styles never make it to the sale section, and the websites never have the styles you’re lusting over. Sigh. 

What I’m saying is, now that I’ve become one with my size 9 foot, I want to decorate them in the seasons best styles, and not have to pay an arm and a leg for them. Okay? So Forever 21, please get more quantities of your style in stock ASAP. Mama needs a new pair of shoes. 

One Shoe Blues

ep50_carrie_tripping_runwayThis weekend I started doing an audit of my shoes since it’s almost boots season (eeeeeeeeeee), and I noticed that some, if not all, of my flip-flops and sandals need to be burned. Clearly I did some walkin’ this summer. Which brings me to what I call Life Sucks In A Strapless Bra story time. Gather around, kids … this is a story about probably one of most monumental wardrobe malfunctions of my summer:

As a preface, I would like to state that I was 87% sober when this event occurred. 

Picture it: Labor Day Weekend 2013. Made in America concert. Well … outside of the Made in America concert. My friend and I made this genius assumption that since there was only an hour left until Beyoncé went on stage ticket prices would absolutely be lowered from $150. Genius. Until some intimidating sales person told us, “NOPE still $150, ya comin’ or goin’, ladies?!” Cool. I wasn’t too bummed, though. The sea of trash trucks blocking off streets like something out of Batman (Christian Bale Batman, not Michael Keaton Batman), concert goers wrapped in American flags, girls who looked like Urban Outfitters threw up all over them throwing their iPhones at me to snap a pic of her and the beeeeeeessssssssssties in front of the Made in America sign … um yeah … let’s just say we backed away slowly.

So we decided to walk on down the Parkway for a nice stroll. A stroll that ended up us pretty much walking around the entire city, but I digress. More importantly, a stroll that my Forever 21 sandals that I had worn for two summers clearly couldn’t handle.

Now before you guys roll your eyes at me and say, “listen, I totally know where this is going and you are a damn fool for buying shoes at Forever 21,” I would like to say to you … CHILL OUT, MAN AND LET ME FINISH MY DAMN STORY!

Ahem, where was I? Ahh yes, the Parkway. It was a lovely humid evening, and the farther you got from the concert, the more the city felt completely abandoned. I found myself looking at black SUVs and wondering if young Blue Carter was inside with Momma Bey. Checking out the beauty of the museums. Enjoying light conversation about where to find margaritas close by with my friend (I told you it was really humid out). And then it happened. Mid-sentence I, out of nowhere, trip. In slow motion (at least in my head), my sandal literally folds in half as I lean forward preparing to fall (I probably made a really awesome face during all of this, too). Luckily my cat-like reflexes stopped me from actually falling, but when I looked down, I found the thong part of my sandal hanging on by a literal thread. How poetic.

There I was. At the end of the Parkway with my one sandal in ruins, picturing myself walking around the city barefoot, contracting numerous flesh-eating viruses as onlookers pointed and laughed, and desperately praying that Payless would pop up magically.

Since I had one thread holding my sandal together, I decided to use what the Gods gave me … and walk on, with my head held high. Well … I’ll use the term “walk” lightly. I ended up having to do this really strange swagger, and no, words just wouldn’t do it justice. I’ll let you use your imaginations for that one. Enjoy.

So the point of all of this is that I want to give Forever 21 a slow clap, and at the same time I would like to do a touchdown dance in front of all the Forever 21 shoe haters, because that sandal that was hanging on by an actual thread didn’t break for the rest of the evening. The little guy stayed strong. I was in awe. Sure I had to walk like an idiot for the rest of the evening, but at least I didn’t have to go barefoot and die. Am I right?

So the moral of this story is, Forever 21 shoes are not only cute, cheap, and awesome … but can pretty much withstand anything with a little hope and a lot of awkward swagger.

The end.