Penny Pincher Fashion HOW TO SHOP: Fast Fashion | Penny Pincher Fashion

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

HOW TO SHOP: Fast Fashion


My site always has been & always will be focused around saving money & finding affordable fashion.  But, I've learned through the years (sometimes the hard way) that you haven't really scored a good deal if the item you come home with looks cheap or falls apart after only a few wears/washes.  

We all know that Forever 21 is an amazing source for fast fashion - they have trendy styles at low price points with an overwhelmingly large selection.  However, with the good also comes the not-so-good.  I've personally fallen victim to buying pieces there, only to regret it later on because it didn't last through even one season.  But, on the other hand, I have also found items that have held up for years and are still some of my most favorite to this day.  After taking time to evaluate the difference between those that last & those that don't, I decided to share with you my findings & advice for how to carefully select pieces that will go the distance.  

My first tip is to stock up on accessories! I have tons of costume jewelry from Forever 21 that looks so much more expensive than what I actually paid. During last year's NYFW, no less than 5 people asked me about my sparkling collar necklace: "It's Dannijo, right?".  To prove my point, I've rounded up some of my current favorites from their site, which all look higher-end than they really are (no one will ever know!):




In addition to being accessory-focused, here are the other rules that I now follow to ensure I'm making a wise purchase when navigating their site/store:

1) Don't settle - If the fabric looks cheap, the seam shows signs of puckering or it isn't comfortable, put it back.  Stay away from half-lined skirts, too-sheer polyester & anything with more than 50% acrylic in the label.
2) Alterations are key - If the fit isn't exactly perfect but everything else is good, smaller problems can easily be fixed with the help of an experienced tailor (waist nipped in, new buttons sewed on, sleeves slimmed, hem let out an inch).  These little changes can go a long way towards making an affordable item look much higher-end.
3) Beware of faux - Make sure it looks & feels as much like the real thing as possible.  Avoid vegan leather that has a super-shiny finish or faux fur with a straw-like texture.
4) Structure counts - I've had the best luck with pieces made of more substantial fabric like denim vests, chambray shirts, tailored blazers & wool-blend coats.  The fit tends to be better & they also hold up more nicely after multiple washes.  To that end, I've included a few of my top picks from Forever 21 that you can wear now + into fall, all under $40:


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29 comments :

jenn~the stylish housewife said...

OK....I want both lucite pieces like NOW. Off to check them both out! Great round-up. I haven't shopped F21 in quite some time. But I have been VERY lucky in that 99% of what I have purchased has held up VERY well. I think it is because I tend to mostly shop their Love21 line which seems to be made much better (and runs more TTS than their regular jr sizing).

XOXO, Jenn The Stylish Housewife

Ashley said...

I really enjoyed reading this post. Thanks for sharing this. I will definitely think twice the next time I buy something!

Xo,
Sincerely Miss Ash

Natali said...

Great tips! I agree with all of them!

http://lartoffashion.blogspot.com

Cory said...

Bought that striped chambray after seeing it on your Instagram and I LOVE it! Probably my favorite chambray ever, which is saying a lot since I have at least 6 of them!

Sofia Donatelli said...

Love this post! The accessories look more than $30! Love the clutch!

Sofia

stylishlyinlove.blogspot.com

Niki Whittle said...

Excellent advice! Everyone always forgets that clothes can be altered. It’s super hard to get the perfect fit off the peg and taking the time to alter its nearly perfect is so worth the effort!

Cathy, your Poor Little It Girl said...

LOVING that canvas shoulder bag...so cute!!

xoxo
Cathy, your Poor Little It Girl

TaraMixandMatch said...

The polka dot scarf is the cutest! Great tips!

Amy Shaughnessy said...

One of my very favorite pieces (my white blazer) came from F21. I can't believe how nice it is and I only spent $25 on it. They are finally opening one up in my town so I won't have to shop online all the time. SO excited!!

Amy


Fashion and Beauty Finds

honestly, b. said...

I am a huge Forever21 lover. It seems as though I like it more and more each year, too! I like having a lot of outfit options, so Forver21 is good for my wallet!

xo honestlyb.com

sarahsreallife said...

One tip I would add is skipping anything polyester that has wrinkles in it. It is almost impossible to get wrinkles out of polyester at home, so if it's already wrinkled in the store, you're just going to end up paying to have it steamed and pressed at the cleaners. By the time you add up that extra cost, it's better just to get a better quality piece to begin with!

~Sarah of Sarah's Real Life

Kristina said...

I'm loving that utility jacket! I agree with you about going for accessories there, I bought a $15 bag that people often mistake for chanel.

Kristina does the Internets

smk053078 said...

A girl after my own heart...half of my accessories & clothes are from F21...people need to realize that they DO have some quality stuff...and I have pieces from there that have lasted years! Proof that you don't have to spend a lot to look like you did! :)

Olga Borinski said...

Great advice! Just saw your ad for Almay in the new lucky mag! Congrats! Read your blog a few times a week, it's excellent!

Tiffany said...

*stalks that clutch*

Tiffany
http://www.domesticdysfunction.net

Rachel Lynne said...

This is a really great and helpful post! I think we have all fallen victim to this at some point... because it is so easy to be like MORE MORE MORE now. It makes more sense to buy things that will last whether they are from Forever 21 or somewhere else! Love the pieces you've chosen for fall!

Lisa { Showered With Design } said...

Love the ideas! & I totally agree F21 comes up with amazing items very similar to designers, but for a huge fraction of the price! Most of the items I have bought have lasted me a while too!

Showered With Design

Alina Dunbar said...

Fantastic post, thank you! So helpful to have everything sorted out. I love F21 jewelry, but find the store scary (the closest one to me is the Flagship store on Michigan Ave - definitely waaaay to crowded & busy for me to venture in!). Faves are the golden triangle necklace and the lucite bag.

elizabethashleyphoto said...

I agree accessories are the best at Forever 21, and I always get compliments on my stuff from there. I picked up that Marled Zipper Top a couple weeks ago and wore it on a recent Alaska cruise with skinny jeans or leggings, and I LOVE it! Can't wait to wear it for fall. I think I've already gotten a lower cost-per-wear on it than most other items in my closet.

Chelsea Davis said...

I think only a handful of items I have purchased fell apart, some just look old after one wash. But I do love there accessories, especially hats and costume necklaces.

XO Chelsea http://shesaidhesaid-fashion.blogspot.com/

Hannah Rosette said...

All good advice! I agree with the "no settling" part especially. I have gotten alot pickier and not donating as much clothes anymore because of this rule.

www.TheRosettePortrait.blogspot.com

Style Isle said...

I want all of these amazing accessories

Tash xo
www.style-isle.blogspot.ca

pja6 said...

Thanks for the tips! I'll definitely keep them in mind on my next F21 visit!

Abigail Sterling said...

Hello! I just wanted to say I recently discovered your blog and I love it! I have a blog as well and it is about fashion and style for the girl on a budget. I shop at Forever 21 and definitely try find pieces that look more expensive and will last through multiple seasons! You have great advice :)

x the fabulous life of a natural disaster

silvergirl said...

Love that lucite cuff
You are absolutely right in saying some of their things are super and some are super crap
I always feel great when I come across a super great piece
Brett

Alison Coglianese said...

We seriously need a Forever 21 shopping party. I just bought that acrylic clutch the other night haha! We're totally on the same wave length ;) Loving all your picks...as always (and as evidenced by my purchases haha!).

XO, Alison
www.ChainStrapPurse.com

Ashleigh said...

I love the bag and the necklace you posted. Two of my favorite chiffon dresses are from forever 21. (Both polka-dot.) I've had them for three years and can't picture life with out them!
-Ash
www.thestylizedwannabe.com

Anastasia Quiqs said...

It's amazing how you can mix cheap things into expensive look! Thanks for sharing your tips:)

Ngozi M said...

Very useful tips. I avoid Forever 21 as much as I can, now I know what to look out for.
Thanks for sharing!

dressed2dnines.blogspot.com

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