How to Shop Forever 21

Sure, you love Forever21 as much as the next fashion obsessed, financially stressed woman, but the store can be utterly overwhelming. If you’ve got time to spare, shopping in store at Forever 21 can be a blast- racks, stacks, hooks and shelves filled with new fashions. But, if you’re strapped for time and find yourself puzzled as to how they fit so much into a single space, maybe you should try shopping at

How to Shop Forever21

Know Before You Go. One thing is true of all things Forever 21– quantity reigns high over quality. You can get ten tops for about 100 bucks if you try hard enough- but don’t expect them to last forever. One of the biggest problems with low quality items is finding a good fit. Always, always, try everything on when shopping at Forever 21. When shopping online at, any returns will cost you big time (see the wretched return policy below). Therefore, it is absolutely crucial to know your body and what clothing styles work well for you before making any purchases.

Understand the Brands. Forever 21 has expanded their line of trend-friendly low-cost clothes to include Heritage 1981 and Twelve by Twelve brands. Looking for something a little more casual? Heritage 1981 channels casual wear with a homely retro feel, sort of like a cheap Urban Outfitters. Twelve by Twelve, the higher priced brand available only in select stores and online, is a bit more fashion forward with designs heavily influenced by the runways.

Be Sure to Snoop on Sale Items. It doesn’t hurt to check out the Forever21 sale bins. When shopping online, the sale link in the upper right-hand corner will take you to a large listing of the recently reduced.

Accessorize Your World. One of the best things about Forever 21 is the sparkling accessories section, with scarves, hats, bags, wallets, clutches, belts, jewelry, etc, etc, etc- you can find it all at F21. The store also has a shoe section, think a more fashion forward Payless, with prices around the $25 mark.

A Shout-Out for Outerwear. Though winter is nearly past us (thank goodness), Forever 21 is a great place for on trend outerwear at low prices. Coats, jackets and blazers in every style, pattern and color. While, the coats aren’t really warm and probably won’t last into next season, the low price allows you to get your full cost per wear.

The Return Policy. If there was one “catch” to shopping at Forever 21, this would definitely be it. The return policy. Scratch that. The exchange policy. Forever 21 doesn’t allow in-store returns. Period. Have you ever tried to physically return something at Forever 21? The salespeople are ruthless. Instead, Forever 21 offers exchanges only within 30 days of purchase for most items (emphasis on most). Gift cards, cosmetics and jewelry items are all final sale all the time, in store or online. Which is why we advise shopping online, because you do have the option for a return- but must foot the shipping fee. Otherwise, exchanges for online purchases can be made at any Forever 21 or sister store. The lesson to be learned here? Check, double-check, triple-check your cart before cashing out.

For Style Inspiration, Shop By… Take an e-shopping short-cut with the Shop by Outfit and Shop by Trend options. A great wardrobe starts with an initial inspiration- and there’s no need to spend much moola on fashion mags to find it. Click on either of the Shop By links to find items that fit in with the season’s trends. Pick and choose from the pieces you love- just don’t fall into a trap of needing it all. Forever 21 does a good job with their visual merchandising. Keep an eye on those dressed to impress mannequins for that extra boost in inspiration.

Shop the Daily 21. Click on the Daily 21 Specials tab on the Forever 21 homepage for 20% off 21 different items every day. Just a reminder- the prices at Forever 21 are already pretty cheap, so, 20% won’t seem like a major discount on a $9.98 shirt, but a penny saved is a penny earned, making the Daily 21 worth a peek.

Subscribe to Save. Sign up for the Forever 21 online newsletter to have discounts delivered to your inbox. Click on Subscribe Now for simple set-up and choose to include Forever 21, Heritage1981 and/or Twelve by Twelve.

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    Catherine Brock

    As a Southern California transplant now living in the Midwest, Catherine has turned layering into an art form and accepted that UGGs actually do have a place in the stylish lady's wardrobe. She's been featured in Woman's World Magazine,, Refinery29, and has made appearances on ABC7 Chicago, FOX2News St. Louis, KCAL9 Los Angeles, Fox19 Cincinnati, WGN TV Chicago and WCPO TV Cincinnati.

    Blog Comments

    You forgot the biggest tip of all – avoid Saturday and Sunday afternoons at all costs!! Unless you love waiting in line for 45 minutes for the fitting room, getting bumped and jostled by hoards of 14-year-olds, wading through heaps of miscategorized clothes and tangled hangers, then waiting another 45 minutes to pay, that is! (Maybe your Forever 21 is less chaotic than mine – I live in NYC)

    I completely second CaitlinV’s comment.  Forever 21 is always completely trashed on weekends (and I live in Minnesota, so I think it an across-the-board problem.)  It isn’t much better during the week, either.  I always see people wearing cute stuff from F21, but I think I’ve only bought 2 things there.  Their return policy stinks, and I’ve seen thrift stores with better organization.  I wish it was nicer, because they do have some cool clothes, if you are willing to wade through the store.

    i don

    forever 21 is a great place to find bargins but customer service eis NOT something they should be proud of i have had many unpleasent experiences with that store be shore to try before you buy ANYTHING they dont refund and dont expect to have a pleasent time getting credit for your item of exchange the chances of getting a helpful and NICE person serving you are scarce

    I dont think the lines for F21 are really that bad here, I live in Illinois. The only time I had a bad experience with the lines is when I went to the F21 in Chicago. But I do agree the exchange policy sucks, they only give 21 days for returns now. I usually spend so long in that store that I dont have time to try everything on so then I later find that the clothes I bought dont fit right.

    i need to know more about the exchange policy. i bought this dress that i thought was cool but it turned out to be downright unflattering. i bought it for 17 bucks and i really want to exchange it for something else

    The weekend may be the worst, expecially where i live on the border of mexico but i must honestly say its the best time to shop. Forever21 has their best sales on the weekends. My favorite are the 50% off the already 50% off stuff in the sale corner. its unbelievable how much stuff i walk out with for under 30 bucks.

    hi, has anyone here actually returned an online purchase to the returns address? how much did it cost you?

    I Love Forever21. It’s best though to go on weekends; that’s when all of the sales just magically appear (“Hint,Hint”). And also, don’t forget to go to the website first. This really helps you decide on what you want. For instance, if your thinking of buying a nice pair of leggings, click leggings, then choose ‘sort by: low price’. You’ll save yourself money, energy, and time; plus, you’ll find a great pair of legging for cheap. I’m just saying..

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