Over Thanksgiving weekend, we made a pilgrimage to what shall be henceforth known as the mecca of all budget fashion shopping destinations: The new XXI Forever at Old Orchard shopping mall in Skokie, Illinois.
Old Orchard is definitely one of the best malls in Chicagoland, with anchors like Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's, Lord & Taylor and Macy's - and just about every specialty / accessory store imaginable in between. But it's never had a reputation for being a budget-friendly place to shop - that is, until now!
When you add a Forever 21 store to a chichi mall like Old Orchard, the result is sheer magic. First class all the way! (Let's face it, not all retail stores are created equal - so much depends on location, location, location.) No piles of clothes to sort through, no disorganized shelves - just a gorgeous layout, astounding selection, and plenty of sales associates to help a girl out!
Funky decorative elements, pleasant lighting, and loud music (good or bad, depending on your pref) creates the ultimate shopping atmosphere. They even have a separate section for the "couture" collection TwelvebyTwelve (stunning!), an entire room devoted to jewelry and accessories (super fab!), and a men's section (loves it!).
We felt quite literally like a kid in a candy store and shopped til we nearly dropped. It was glorious. Word to the wise: shop early or at off-peak hours because even this humongous store managed to get packed full of voracious shoppers. Dressing room started to get a little chaotic, me-ow!
Clearly, Forever 21 is doing something right and business is booming. Meanwhile, nearby Bloomingdale's was barren - we walked through on our way back to our car, and it was so quiet and empty you could have heard a pin drop. Hmmm, wonder where all their customers were... oh, that's right - Forever 21!
So pack light the next time you visit the Chi - which, btw, is one of the best cities in the world for shopping (no joke) - and be sure to hit up the biggest, bestest Forever 21 EVER! Scroll down for lots of pics. (Sorry for the photo overload, we got a little trigger happy!)