Toronto earned it's very own Forever 21 a couple of years ago (in the old Gap location at Yonge and Dundas). I should have been happy. Like when H&M came to town and I lined up at Fairview Mall to get first dibs. But somehow the name - Forever 21 - was foreboding. How could I, a "woman" a decade older than 21 really show my face in the shop? I felt like a bloody geriatric.
But, when Halloween came around this year, and my quest for red short-shorts and thigh-highs came up short, I caved. If any shop was going to carry what I needed (at a decent price), it would be Forever 21.
Well, they didn't. I elbowed my way through impossibly young and thin girls grabbing at insanely cheap minis and platforms and costume jewellery, and still I didn't find what I was looking for. I felt irritable and conspicuous. But when I came upon an adorable navy and red striped jersey skirt for $8, my heart jumped.
A couple of years back, while gainfully employed, I started to limit my spending on cheap, trendy pieces when I realized that I was just throwing away money on things that didn't last. My new strategy was investment pieces: quality craftsmanship, classic silhouettes, trustworthy brands and easy-care fabrics. But while my wardrobe budget is in the dumps (read: $0), an under-$10 find like this skirt was too good to pass up. I need to inject a little dough into my closet, just to avoid feeling like a complete bum (and, like SO last season). I bought it, sans guilt.
I've already been back to Forever 21 again. I picked up a grey jersey top, a wooden heart pendant necklace, a chunky ring and another stripey mini (this time in taupe and green). Total outfit cost: $34.
I know they won't last forever, but it feels good to be able to shop even when I'm verging on broke. I am rediscovering thrift stores, H&M, and Joe fresh. And I may have another new go-to, if I can get over feeling like a senior citizen every time I shop.
I do have one request, though, please: can the creators please consider a spin-off brand? Forever 31 has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? (Annnd, if I had to be one age forever, I'd for SURE pick 31 over 21.)
p.s. I've been doing a TON of fashion coverage for blogTO these days. Check out my work here.