Jesus Christ Really Wants You To Buy A Statement Necklace (Or, The Unofficial Guide to Shopping at Forever 21)

A few of my best tips for shopping at everybody's favorite low-cost retailer.
Publish date:
September 11, 2012

There are a lot of people out there who hate on Forever 21. Personally, I love the retail giant, and, if you think that makes me a bad person, then you should really set the bar higher on what you feel constitutes a bad person.

More than anything else, what I like about Forever 21 is how wide their variety is. I’ve gotten everything from job interview attire to this insane zipper dress I wore to the after party of my senior prom. It was literally just a small piece of tight black cloth with a giant zipper going down the middle. It looked really slutty. I miss high school. It’s also where I get all my workout wear. Seriously, they have every type of garment you could desire. Well, except maybe a really well made one, but we’ll get to that later.

I know I’m riding the Forever 21 train pretty hard right now, but that’s only because I’ve managed to pick up some tricks of the trade on the dangerous streets of my local mall that make it actually manageable to shop there. Listen up:

Don’t be an idiot about their return policy: Straight up, their return policy sucks. And there’s no way around it, even by becoming that person who yells shamelessly at a retail manager in broad daylight. (There is a very special place in hell waiting for you and yours, by the way.) You will never ever get your money back. In order to receive store credit or exchange the item, you have to return it within 21 days with the receipt and the tags. This is only applicable for clothing. When it comes to jewelry and sale items, that shit is yours forever.

Shopping requires effort: Yo, you’re not in a boutique. You’re not going to just waltz on in and have some fashion student pick out a great outfit for you based on the five things they carry. This is Forever 21 -- even the small ones have, like, 50 stories. Be prepared to sort through racks.

Know how to navigate the store: If you don’t understand how Forever 21 is organized, you’re likely to get real irritated trying to circumnavigate the store. Things aren’t organized by the kind of item they are. Instead, each section of the store is for a different kind of style -- preppy, sporty, clubwear, boho, trendy, the list goes on. A super swaggy Forever 21 has a room for each of these looks. Realizing which look you’re shopping in will make it easier to find items that match your style.

You get what you pay for: Oh, the $25 winter coat you got isn’t keeping you warm? How weird! Forever 21 isn’t magic, y’all. Things cost literal pennies there (nothing costs literal pennies there) because it’s not expertly made. I’m pretty thrifty with buying clothes, but there are some things I think it’s worth spending more money on (see: jeans, coats). When it comes to those items, I’m not going to go to Forever 21.

After you’ve made your purchase, wear Forever 21 with higher-end pieces: I love shopping at Forever 21 for of-the-moment jewelry, and I like to pair those statement pieces with more fancy items. This helps ensure your crazy cheap look doesn’t look crazy cheap, thus ensuring that everyone is SUPER JEALOUS OF YOUR AWESOME OUTFIT.