Forever: Then and Now

There was a time in my life when I’m pretty sure certain I ran around Austin scooping up every slinky knit jersey dress that was to be found.  If it had a low front, low back, or was a spandex blend, I’d find it.  See Exhibits A and B:


And for every devotee, there is a mecca, right?

(Angels singing)…..Forever 21.  Originator of, I swear, at least 75% of my closet throughout college, and master of the slinky knit jersey dress.  But whether its due to age, improved fashion sense, or increase in wobbly bits, my love of knit jersey has gone by the wayside.

Though today, I’m proud to say that Forever is no longer my one-stop shopping destination, it is still a great source for diamonds in the rough.  I have to dig more, inspect closely, and many times I leave the store empty-handed, but occasionally there are real gems to be found.  Tops and dresses that people never guess are from Forever when I’m wearing them.  Like this beauty from the new, more conservative (read: not meant to fit a 14 year old) line:

100% silk for only 29.80??? Sold.  (Actually, I ordered this and I’m keeping my fingers crossed it comes in time to style it up with a brown woven belt and hit the town for my birthday this weekend).  Which brings me to my Forever 21 buying rules of today:

1.  Material. This is number one for a reason, and you have to be careful here.  Occasionally they do all-silk pieces, which are always sure to be mistaken as non-Forever, more expensive wear.  Generally, avoid all polyester, rayon blends, and certainly knit jersey.

2.  Details. Sometimes Forever pieces look great in the front, and then they will have totally skimped in back, doing some lousy spaghetti strap where continuation of the one shoulder front should have been.  Or, they will give themselves away by those obviously cheap buttons or ragged seams.

3.  Fit. I don’t know who the fit models for Forever 21 are, but I’m fairly certain they are 13 and malnourished.  At this store I must be diligent in watching for hemlines that are too short, skirts that are too tight, and armholes that cause a bulge.  I refuse to allow myself to succumb to the siren song of the $13.80 price tag when I look like a sausage poured into its casing.

And with those rules, anyone can transform Forever 21 into their own Mecca for “I can’t believe its from Forever!” pieces to love.

Shop My Closet

When its 2 a.m. and I haven’t written a word of my seminar paper all day, having discovered the wonders of etsy.com and about five billion new decorating blogs, what’s a girl to do?  Oh, that’s right–try on clothes.  Except today was one of those days in which I actually discovered something new.  Brave uncharted wardrobe territory in the form of a dress gifted to me by my beautiful cousin two Christmases ago, but yet to be worn.

Said dress has a super cute BCBG-esque pattern and great colors…

But the shape just never seemed right for me (not-so-long-and-lean pear shape that I am).  You see, the billowing sleeves and low V with empire waist and polyester/spandex blend fabric made me look (1) dowdy and (2) failed to show any hint of a figure.  I love the pattern of the bottom, I just wasn’t crazy about how the top fit me.

‘Twas time to improvise.

The stretchy polyster/spandex blend fabric allowed me to put the dress on as-intended, then pull one of the sleeves actually over my head and onto the other shoulder.  After tucking the in-place sleeve into the pulled over sleeve and twisting a little, voila! Grecian-inspired one-shoulder dress, styled with my black Franco Sarto gladiators and perfect for a casual summer party.

For Look #2, I actually tucked the whole top of the dress under the elastic waist band (this is an old trick, and works with virtually any dress that has stretchy fabric and a somewhat tight waistband).  After belting with my lavender J Crew skinny belt (first time owner of one of these, but immediately an addict), I have a new going-out dress right from my closet!

Lesson learned that sometimes one (or two) new outfits are right there hiding in my closet.  And who says I didn’t accomplish something today. 🙂

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