While we're on the subject of Forever 21, here are some tips for the wear 'n' care of their apparel, which we think has an undeserved reputation for shoddy workmanship (you gotta shop smart, no matter what the price point!):
- Pick items that look good on the rack. If it's wrinkled or covered with lint on the hanger, it ain't gonna get any better when you take it home.
- When shopping online, use the "Search" feature to find items made with higher-quality fibers. For example, a search for "cashmere AND cotton" returns 8 items, including a 92% cotton, 8% cashmere scarf and sweater. It's not a lot of cashmere, but it's just enough to make these items soft and warm, and c'mon, we're talkin' Forever 21 here, not Saks.
- Go for dark and/or neutral shades. On the one hand, Forever 21's prices are so low that you can afford to take risks with bright colors and quirky styles which were hitherto impossible for frugal fashionistas. On the other hand, sticking to dark, neutral shades (including red) ensures minor flaws in the stitching or fabric go unnoticed.
- Always layer a cotton tee beneath any blouse or sweater to prevent perspiration from touching the outer garment, thereby buying you additional time between washes.
- Drape garments over an armchair and let them air-out overnight. Don't stuff them back into your closet or into a dresser drawer as this can trap moisture and odors.
- Machine wash (or better yet, hand-wash) clothes inside-out in cold water using baby shampoo or a mild detergent like Woolite, or eco-friendly laundry soaps from Seventh Generation or Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day.
- Lay garments flat to dry (or hang items such as jeans or cords to air-dry). This will not only increase their lifespan, it will also save energy and money.
- Don't just dump your clothes when they no longer suit your fancy. Donate them to charity, sell 'em on Ebay, or recycle/repurpose them for crafts.