not Forever21 anymore

the day i realized i had to stop shopping for cheap clothes was a depressing one. i remember it like it was just yesterday (it was last Sunday). it was dark and cold outside, the wind was blowing something fierce (it was completely sunny and really warm). i knew deep down that today wasn't the day to shop - the mood wasn't right and i had gained 5lbs overnight from my binge drinking and eating that had happened that previous day for St. Patrick's Day (because what good Jew DOESN'T celebrate that holiday in full?). alas, i ignored my intuition and made my way into the mall, ready to find some much needed Spring items that had been on my shopping menu for some time. that's when it happened. that's when all my hopes and dreams of buying trendy things while simultaneously saving money came to a screeching halt.

for the first time in my life, i felt old inside of Forever21's walls. what used to be a surefire shopping experience full of $3 jewelry and $15 dresses suddenly became an awful, ugly reality. i was surrounded by teenagers. and not even college-aged teens - HIGH SCHOOL teens. 15-year-olds with zero percent body fat and zero percent titties. bitty bops with super long, fine hair, in school t-shirts, browsing the racks of cut-out tops and acid wash jeans. suddenly, i felt 20 pounds overweight and as though i should be sporting mom jeans and straight bangs with my curly hair - I.E. i felt super out of place.

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and it got worse. i thought it was bad enough when i realized me and one of the said 15-year-old notits were browsing the same exact rack, grazing our fingers over the same exact items. i cease and desisted almost instantly and made my way to the dressing rooms to (knowingly) further this awkward and semi-depressing experience. and that's exactly what i did.

i didn't understand. the configuration of every article of clothing i had nabbed to try on was laughably ill-fitting. i thought FOR SURE that at least the plain as day black maxi dress would work some wonders, but no. Forever21 has this incredible knack for misplacing just one slight line or stitch in the clothing item to fuck it all up. just when you think it's the perfect knock-off of that $100 dress, the waistband is just ever-so-slightly off kilter and ends up putting your love handles on display like you're actually proud of them or something. a typical dress-up session in a Forever21 dressing room plays out something like this:

okay, this next top HAS to be cute. it looks exactly like American Apparel's chiffon button downs, only half the price.

::begin putting top on::

hell yes. this is gonna look perfect! i can feel it.

::finish putting top on::

AH! I LOVE I...wait. what the FUCK is this random ass pocket on the BACK of the shirt and this awkward lop-sided hem?

exaggerated? maybe. but still pretty accurate. it's as though they have to keep us just inches away from too good of a knock-off. either the floral pattern somehow looks heinous or the "cold-shoulder" look is completely wrong on all levels. to these designers, we don't even deserve the closest possible, next best thing. it's a daily reminder that you're poor and you won't ever be able to dress the part exactly how you want by shopping so cheaply. their clothes aren't good enough and NEITHER ARE YOU.

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but that's all besides the point. the issue here is that i made the awful and heart-breaking realization over this past weekend that cheap clothes are not made to accomodate curves. Forever21 doesn't care about your boobs, they don't care about your ass, and they DEFINITELY don't care about your hips that don't quit. they want their customers like they make their clothes: small, cheap and not very sturdy.


i walked out of the store that day with my head hung low. "i guess that's it," i thought to myself. "my days of shopping on the cheap are over. i have to ACTUALLY care about the quality of the material now and spend legitimiate amounts of cash on 'staple' pieces that make sense to own. i mean, sure. i can go back in there if i'm ever in need of a cheap sun dress, but the chances of my tits fitting down into it are slim to none. i hate teenagers."

but it makes sense, i guess. i'm turning 26 in a matter of weeks and i'm not sure i want to be an advocate for mid-20something girls walking around in these types of clothes anymore. at this point, i'm not even sure that a few cheap tops here and there to mix and match with other wardrobe pieces is safe. it could be, but as for claiming Forever21 and stores of the like as your go-to shopping destination... well, i think those days are long gone. at least for this body. maybe not for yours. bitch.

go forth and make wise spending choices, friends.

- emma

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