Monday, April 30, 2012

Shopping Post: How to Shop at Forever 21

Ok- so looking at this title, you might be like what the heck? I walk in the store, look around and check out, duh. That's how you 'shop' in a store.  But the whole reason I am writing this is to give people clues on how to be successful when shopping at Forever 21.  People ask me all the freaking time where I get my outfits, accessories, clutches, and sometimes even shoes- and about 85% of the time my answer is Forever 21, which people then respond to with 'Really? I can never find anything in that store!' The thing is, walking into a Forever store is sometimes pretty overwhelming (especially the new store here in Louisville, KY).  There are clothes literally everywhere, nothing seems to be in a logical order, and it's usually cluttered, crowded and playing obnoxiously loud music.  Once you get over all of that though, it becomes sort of like an adventure to find the hidden treasure, in let's face it, a lot of junk.

Here's the secret to most of my success in shopping at this store: take FULL advantage of their website! I know some people are intimidated of shopping online, but seriously it is sooo much easier than shopping in the store.  It's organized really well, and the best part is, they update it almost every day with new items.  Sadly, I look at it enough that I even know the basic schedule of when they start to put up new items for the day.  Around 4 pm (EST) they will have at least a few new items up for that day, and usually by around 8:30 that night they will have everything uploaded in the New Arrivals section.  They have New Arrivals almost every day, sometimes Saturdays and Sundays you get nothin' but Mon-Fri there are always multiple items added.

Another reason a lot of people don't like to shop online is the annoyance of paying for shipping.  If a website doesn't offer some type of 'free shipping' offer, you can bet I am steering clear of it! The awesome thing about is they always offer free shipping when you spend $50 or more.  For most people, that is really not too hard to do.  Here's my personal technique for shopping online: throughout the week, I will check the New Arrivals, and if there is something that catches my eye, I will go ahead and add it to 'my bag'.  I have an account on the website already (duh) so it automatically saves the items in my bag (until they are out of stock) for the next time I sign in.  I continuously check the website when I have a few minutes, and then when it gets to Saturday I can usually make a decision to order what's left in my bag for the week or not, because I know there aren't going to be any more new arrivals until Monday night. I obviously do not order a shipment every week, that would be more than a little ridiculous.  Helpful hint: if you LOVE one thing in your bag, I guarantee there are thousand of other girls that will love it too.  If something is super popular, it will sell out FAST.  So my tip to you is if you love it, order it that day.  Otherwise it may be gone by the next time you check your bag.

"My Bag" in the upper right hand corner of the website

But, if you are the type (which many people are) to be afraid that something is not going to fit or look right if you order it online, don't worry- you can still get some helpful tips from this blog.  Even if you don't plan on ordering it, you can still build your 'bag' and  use the website almost as a tool to know exactly what you are looking for when you walk into the crazy, cluttered, overwhelming store itself.  A lot of times I will pull up my account on my phone, and go to my shopping bag to remember what I'm looking for specifically.  Then I at least know what colors, types of fabrics, prints, and clothing types I should be keeping my eyes open for.  Since most of the Forever stores are separated into sections like Basics, Heritage 1981, Accessories, Style Deals, Love 21, and even types of clothes like lace, neon, clubbing etc it's easy to narrow down where your item may be.  If you have been in your town's Forever 21 a few times you can easily get a feel for where these sections are and figuring out where what you're looking for becomes a tad bit easier.

If you are still lost at this point, you can even ask a store employee if they have seen the item you are looking for, and if you have it pulled up on your phone- you could even give them the item description number and they may be able to look it up for you on their own computers.

A few quick tips if you do in fact decide to brave the scary idea of ordering a shipment online:

  • If you're questioning what size to order, look at how the item fits the model.  I know I am bigger than any model they photograph, so if it fits her correctly and it says below the picture 'model is wearing size small' I know I probably need a medium.
  • Be careful when ordering jewelry online- pay attention to the measurements because a few times I have ordered earrings that I thought would be small and dainty, and they arrive and they're an inch and a half in diameter.  Accessories are final sale, so make sure you love it before you buy it!
  • Know that you can return anything (other than sale items and accessories) to a brick and mortar store.  You don't have to go through the annoying process of mailing anything back.  You can just return it to the closest Forever 21 within 21 days with your receipt and you are able to get store credit.  I have never personally had to send anything back, I always just take it to my nearest store.
  • Try on things at Forever stores to get a feel for how their sizes work.  I know generally their skirts run small, so I usually have to go up a size in those.  I also know that I like my shirts baggy so if it looks like it may be tight, I may order up in that as well.  I also know what size I usually wear in their pants- they run in sizes like 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, etc.  Try a couple pairs on in a store before ordering online so you have a general idea of where you're at especially if you've only ever bought jeans in size 2, 4, 6, or 8.
  • For the plus size girls out there: They offer Forever 21 + in some stores, but they don't have it available in all of them yet (hopefully they will soon!).  Luckily, they do have a section online just for you.  My sister has found a lot of skirts and accessories and even a couple dresses through Forever 21 + and I am pretty sure she said they also run a little bit small, so if you're thinking you're a 2x, it might make more sense to try a 3x.
  • Lastly, the "Style Deals"are always hot items, and they go SO FAST in stores.  I would always advise to order these online.  They're usually really inexpensive basics that you can build your wardrobe around- and they almost always end in .50 instead of .80.  Some great examples are jeans for $10.50, colored jeans for $15.50, denim shorts for $12.50, and bathing suits for as low as $4.50 per separate! 
Style Deal section of the website
Anyway, I know this is long but I hope it is helpful to some of you all out there that may struggle with finding things that you like in the kind of overwhelming environment that this store can sometimes bring with it.  I love to shop online, but there still is a part of me that loves to walk around in a store and physically try things on, so I kind of combine using both strategies.  I do always have an idea of what's in my bag online when I am shopping in the store, but sometimes I get lucky and find something that I wasn't looking for that I love!

Shopping is not supposed to be stressful, it's actually supposed to be the opposite.  So I hope you put some of these tips to good use and enjoy yourself when you're getting good deals and great clothes! :)



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