Hello Ladies & Gems...
I recently took a trip after work down the mall to Forever 21 to find some retro/vintage-inspired looks. I was pleasantly surprised, and slightly horrified, all at the same time. I found some interesting items, made it alive out of the dressing rooms from hell (turquoise is NOT amenable to taking pictures; neither is being bloated) with the mean girl associates and waaaaaaay too many high school girls getting ready for the new school year. (It's funny to me - whenever school was starting when I was younger, I had to go school shopping with my mother or grandmother - or both - and try things on in front of them; now, apparently, girls go shopping with their girlfriends and make an entire day out of it. I wonder how I would've done as I didn't have any girlfriends to go shopping with when I was younger... but, I digress. Sorry bout that!) Ok, here we go... off to Forever 21. I hope you find something useful & helpful in the post; I'm posting the links that I can find to my items listed - I assume that if I can't find it online, it may be a store only item (which means that if you want it, you'll have to call your nearest F21 and ask them if they carry/have it in stock) *NOTE: I have gone through waaaaay too many of F21's pages trying to find the same items I photographed and they are not there. This is frustrating beyond all belief. But, to compensate, I am also including some online items that I have found during my search that I think may be interesting. The very nice thing about the online 'catalog' is that it includes the model's measurements and size that they are wearing, which would be helpful in trying to pick the correct size for you.* I'm also showing you all size Larges (unless otherwise specified), which vary GREATLY across the F21 line - and I mean A LOT.
As for the basic info, I don't find all of their clothes to have the same level of craftsmanship as you would find at a different store; A LOT (if not all) of their items are made in foreign countries where the sizing differs greatly from American sizing. Also, the clothing lines at F21 are geared towards younger women - high school & early college age would be my guess. They are not shooting for women my age (35 if you must know ;) ), and if they are, then they need new marketing people & designers. This is a fabulous place to pick up accessories - I have spent $10 and gotten some really cute stud earrings (especially the resin-look roses that are so popular right now!) and hair accessories! I think what terrified me the most whilst I was shopping was the way they took vintage and retro-inspired shapes, colors, and patterns and hipsterized them (I don't know if that's a real word, but if it's not, I just made it one). There were so many more items I would have picked up to try on but they just hit me as more hipster and less vintage-inspired, which is not what I am looking for in my look. Don't get me wrong - there are items that are quite cute (which I have pictured) and will work (with a little appropriate accessorizing, hairstyling & make-up influence), and some that I think are definite items to add to your closet for the days you don't want to wear your PUG Couture (are there any days like that??) or repro-items.
To be fair, this is how I started off (I wanted you to know what basics I was working with underneath), and this is what my measurements are: B38 (bra is a DD cup), W34, H42:
As you can see, I'm trying to get a little fancy-dancy with my photo-editing skills. Please let me know if it detracts from the pics. Also, you can also get a slight glimpse of the turquoise in the dressing rooms, casts a *lovely* hue over whatever is being shot inside of the room. *sigh*
Let's begin with the tops/blouses...
Ok, there is no link to this one (out of 124 pages of tops... ugh. The F21 Website definitely needs a new search function... "white sweater" pulled up all kinds of white ITEMS, none sweaters). I also think I tried on either a size Medium or Small, but they did not have a large at my store.
(sorry ladies... was trying to strike a pose)
Anyway, I do like this sweater, particularly since 1. a smaller size fit me like a glove (without cutting off circulation anywhere) and 2. it is extremely versatile - the flower is attached, but can easily be removed, making it even more versatile. It would be fabulous tucked into a full circle skirt, a pencil skirt, high-waisted pants, or like this, with only your body slimmer on! (Try walking around the house like this... so much fun! Unfortunately, I think my job may have a *slight* problem with me showing up like this. One other note about this sweater, and about almost all of F21's blouses/tops this fall season: sheer is the word. Almost EVERYTHING is sheer, so be sure to have a set of camis to wear underneath them (or if you're going out and feeling adventurous, a very cute bra!).
More tops/blouses I found (with the links that I could find):
They only show this blouse on F21's site in cream and black, but in store, I found it in this lovely antique-y faded rose color. I like it because it has both the classic 3/4 sleeve, as well as the pussy bow. I tried on a Large, I believe, and this is how it fit on me:
This is my only real complaint: it is a tad tight when you bend your arm like so, but this can be relieved by unbuttoning it. Other than that, this would be great under a suit (pencil skirt & jacket).
This blouse I love... it is a peachy color and the pintucks are graduated, giving a lot of interest at the top of the blouse. Again, a size Large. Peach Pintuck blouse
This I did not try on because they did not have it in a large. But I like that it is a round, high neck, a cap sleeve, and I have a thing for polka dots. The top panel (which is being pulled funny because of the security tag) is sheer, where the rest is more of a satiny material. I would also recommend this under a suit, or if it's a fitted enough top for you, with a circle skirt.
This one I can't find a link to, but it is a baby pink (very very light) color with the black lace detailed faux peter pan collar. Again, no large for me to try on (you are noticing a pattern, no??).
Ok, why they don't have a link for this one is beyond me!! I <3 this blouse!! It is swiss dotted sheer, but for going out, I think the way it looks over my black & white polka dotted bra is totally fun and flirty. For work, I would definitely wear this, with a cami underneath, of course. This is what the sleeve looks like:
It is elasticized, and feels snug, but I think after a couple of wears, it would loosen a bit.
<3 this bolero also, but yet again, no link on the site!! (I am getting frustrated at this point!)
On to the bottoms:
This is the closest link to what I'm wearing above. It is a definite cross between a bodycon & pencil skirt, and the high-waisted makes it more retro. In fact, I could actually pull this up higher under my tatas if I wanted to go higher. The red belt that comes with the one I found in store is a simple, cheap, will not last belt, and I would personally replace it with a thicker belt. This is the side view:
I am wearing a body slimmer, and this dress follows your every contour. It is a thicker material, and is not pure spandex, although there is spandex in it, it does have stretch and walking is not a problem (even without a back slit). This is a size large on me.
This romper is extremely cute, despite the fact that I am holding it closed behind my back. It is a size large that I tried on, and although I managed to shimmy my way into it, I was NOT able to zip it up. But I love the sweetheart neckline, the khaki color (which makes it so versatile), and I did the bend-over test multiple times and it did not even hint at hoo-ha peep showing. If you can find this and actually try it on prior to buying, it would be a great outfit for the end of the summer season, as well as for a trip to Viva next year (you know, cause Vegas is in the desert and all). If this had zipped up, I would have bought it. I'm still trying to talk myself out of it, since I am still losing weight, but not going to do that to myself. *sigh* So, someone else buy it and show me the pics of you in it so I know it went to a good home!
This is a basic khaki shift dress (I didn't even bother looking for the link...). It would hit about mid-thigh on someone my height (5'2"), but I couldn't get the size large with both of my legs in it to pull it on, let alone close it. This runs VERY VERY SMALL. Be warned. But this would be an easy go-to to dress up or down for work. Those are slit in pockets on the front corners, right under the waist band.
Finally, we have a couple of accessory pics:
SHOES!!!! PRETTY SHINY RETRO STYLED SHOES! In a very pretty nude color, rows of them. They were all stiletto platforms, so if that works for you for a photoshoot or for work, I would definitely check out the shoes!!!
A pretty square crocodile print (faux of course) chocolate brown purse. Right next to the retro shoes. Kisslock top, single small handle.
Now, since I've been on the F21 site looking for all of these links that were not there, I did notice some items online that would be very cute. Let's see...
Very cute high-waisted romper with tie belt and buttons down the front. If the length is correct, this should be about mid-thigh like the romper I did try on. As this one has an elasticized waist, I think the fit of a large might actually work for me, and for under $20, this is something that would be inexpensive, cute, & versatile for a beach outing, pool party, or any other summer event. They also have these other cute rompers: Hawaiian print orange bow back (which I think is a little shorter than the yellow & khaki), open back denim (which is very cute, but on the short side), and a structured strapless romper that has both boning and pockets.
This skirt I am adding, although I was hesitant. I am not sure about the faux leather waistband (the orange-y colored strip at the top of the skirt). BUT, in it's defense, it does appear to sit at the natural waistline (as opposed to just above the butt-crack) as well as go down to the knee. It seems that the Essentials Line is the place where most of us want to shop. (This skirt is from that Line).
This sweater, also in black and royal blue, is also from the Essentials line. And as I browsed through the line again, these are probably the only two items to recommend it. This sweater was also given rave reviews by those two people who bothered to review it online.
This peplum top is very 40s, and could easily work into an office with the model's look in the photo - a pencil skirt with a nice pair of heels. It's only in cream, but that is basic enough for just about any color additions you want to add on the bottom. Personally, I can't work the peplum (which is currently back trending this season) because I loathe the extra "weight" around my hips. I prefer a sleeker silhouette to work my hourglass figure. But if this is your look - or you would like to add the extra to your hips to enhance and create a more hourglass figure - peplum is the way to go.
This blouse I like as well. My only concern when wearing it would be the sleeves (and the cuffs) fitting my arms. But this is very office appropriate, very modest (minus the sheer, which is solved with good undergarments), a neutral color, and very retro looking with it's cutouts at the neckline. It would look fabulous with a pair of high-waisted pants, a pencil skirt, a full circle skirt... just about anything you already have in your closet that you already wear to the office. If you are just now coming out of the closet (so to speak) in a pinup girl or retro fashion, this is a great transitioning piece - not too much, but a start in the direction you want to go. This blouse is also a great office piece; again, use a great cami or undergarment, but it can be paired with any number of bottoms. This sheer green blouse has all of the details you want, is short-sleeved and a great pairing item - BUT it is very very very sheer. Like my black one that I fell in love with above, if you are going out at night, a cute bra may make for a cute outfit. But if you want to wear this to work, you absolutely must have a cami underneath it. I could continue on, but there are way too many tops and not enough time in the world. If you like the examples I posted, by all means, click on the "Tops" tab on site, and I would recommend going to the bottom of the page and clicking on "View 100" so you don't go nuts. We're talking like 21 pages of tops, blouses, tees, and other items.
Overall, I would say that F21 is an ok place to buy some pieces, but not a lot of pieces, for your vintage inspired wardrobe. Right now is a great time to buy because the retro patterns - in both color, style, and actual prints - are very hot. You can find some very cute tops and sweaters here and spend a little money, just be careful when you assemble your outfit - unless it's your personal style and you have it figured out, you could end up looking hipsterized. But, if you have a figure anything like mine, I would stay away from the dresses and bottoms (unless they are like the ones I pictured above) just because the sizing doesn't give way to having any waist-to-hip variation. And, realistically, if you are a slender, smaller gal, you are going to have an easier time buying items here than a gal with a larger frame or figure. This does bother me in that young girls are trying to squeeze themselves into these clothes because that's what's hot, or what their friends are doing, or whatever, when they have so many other options out there. Oh, and the dressing room attendants at my F21 - they bothered me too, but it could've been PMS. We'll find out the next time I go in to check out the selection.
Did any of this help/appeal/make you laugh? Do you have any suggestions for any part of this blog that you would like to see changed? Any questions? If, for whatever reason, you cannot seem to leave a comment on the blogspot page, please do on my facebook page or on the PUG Style link... Comments are always appreciated and I do read them and take feedback and information from them.