We don't have a Forever 21 here but I've heard a lot about it. When I went to Vancouver for work in June, I met up with a friend for dinner at IHOP (another thing we don't have) and we hit up a big city mall. Since I'd heard good things about Forever 21 we decided to brave it and see what we could find.
The answer was simple: terror. We found terror.
Walking into Forever 21 was like walking into the mind of a fourteen year old girl. It was crowded, fluorescent, and shiny. Lots of leopard print, lots of shiny, lots of preteens and their moms. "Forever 21" felt like a dyslexic typo. Forever 12, maybe.
We lasted maybe a minute before we decided that it wasn't a store for us, her nine months pregnant and me in the market for business casual clothes. We left and didn't look back. You don't try to revisit traumatic things like that.
This past weekend when Mom and I visited Bellingham we came across another Forever 21. I still had a bitter taste in my mouth but the store looked so pretty, so white, so bright, and had a bunch of colourful shoes in the window with $17 price tags on them. So we took the plunge.
Forever 21 round two was a success! It turns out you don't have to be 21 (or significantly younger) to appreciate what they have to offer. In the case of Mom and I, you can be 24 or 54 and still find things you like. Not only that, you can appreciate both the clothing, accessories, and prices.
I spent just over $50 (normally my entire clothing budget but I was given a US shopping trip bonus) and got a pair of flats and two sweaters. Normally I try to do better, but at $17 for the shoes, $23 for one sweater, and less than $15 for another I felt pretty good about the results.
Mom also picked up a necklace and cardigan for less than $30. Score.
After that the only other store we ended up having buying success was at a Gao outlet. It was weird. I never buy anything at the Gap because it's generally over priced and the quality just isn't what you'd hope for with a $50 t-shirt. Not that I ever buy $50 anythings, but there you have it.
I ended up getting Karl a much needed belt, a Mustang t-shirt, and myself a top, coming in around $75. In retrospect that number seems pretty high for three things so I'll break it down for you. Both Karl's belt and shirt were about $17 each (not too shabby for Gap wear if I do say so myself...), and my top came in at a whopping $35. I know. In a store where everything is on crazy sales I had to go for the one thing that wasn't.
Normally I would never spend $35 on a shirt but I was in shirt love. I decided that, since I was wayyy under my $200 clothing allowance and we were wrapping up the shopping I could do it. Why not? I put a sweater back that was the same price (on sale) as the shirt because I didn't love it nearly as much. Sometimes, you know, you've just got to buy the $35 dollar shirt and roll with it.
Mom had some success at the Gap, too, and bought herself some capris a storm trooper shirt from the men's section. It was the same price as Karl's Mustang shirt and looks great. She got two compliments on it before lunch time. From men. Go mom!
Here is everything we got, laid out on the king size bed in the hotel. And the grand total was? Less than $180. Because we're bargain hunters and awesome.
Clockwise: Mom's capris and storm trooper shirt, my Forever 21 sweaters and shoes, Karls belt, Mom's Forever 21 sweater and necklace, Karl's Mustang shirt, and my Gap top.
Since most other bloggers would include a photo of themselves modelling their swag, and I'm not sure how I would feel about that, plus I'm at work and not about to ask one of the programmers to get some model shots, I give you this completely natural and not at all posed photo of Mom and I preparing Thanksgiving dinner in our new duds.
Why, yes, that is a dead bird Mom is caressing in the sink.