When I was in high school and college and living on a record store clerk’s budget (RIP FYE), Forever 21 was my fashion mecca. Fast forward to the present, and you won’t find my going-on-30 self shopping there almost at all. Repellants include: hoards of tweens live texting their shopping experience, the notorious flimsiness of its super cheap clothing, those piles and the fact that I haven’t successfully tried on a F21 dress that actually covers my butt on my 5’9″ frame since I was 16 years old. But there are big changes in play at the fast fashion retailer that aim to woo back the over 21 set, and I have to admit: so far, they’re working on me.
The changes all have to do with Forever 21’s offerings, which have been broadened to appeal to older millennials’ tastes. According to a Wall Street Journal report, part of that initiative includes “adding more forgiving fits and more sophisticated looks” to their arsenal, like the styles in its current Contemporary collection. While still on the pulse of the latest trends, the line feels more grown up — it’s defined by clean lines, easy-going silhouettes (barely a body-con number in sight) and rich neutral colors. Need an outfit for your first big job interview or something to punch up your power look for that big weekend conference? Forever 21 now has you covered.
The second part of Forever 21’s strategy is all about teaming up with people you would traditionally never associate with the brand, including hundreds of indie designers who make small-batch clothing, accessories and home goods that you can now pick up online in its recently minted Branded Shop, as well as 30 and 40-something celebrities. Diane Kruger, Jennifer Lopez and Charlize Theron — the last two, moms — have all been snapped wearing a standout piece from Forever 21. The street style inspo (versus seeing the same garments on young things like Kendall Jenner or Zendaya) feel a little more relatable to an out-of-college crowd.
Forever 21 is just that latest teen-favorite retailer to tap into a more grown-up audience. Upon stepping in for Dov Charney as the CEO of American Apparel earlier this year, Paula Schneider was vocal about the brand’s plan to design cloths for more than just the “party girl” by introducing looser silhouettes and more professional-leaning styles into their hipster mix. ModCloth is also broadening its range of offerings beyond cutesy vintage-inspired clothing with more laid back silhouettes and office-appropriate styles. Basically, now is the time to revisit the stores you once considered go-tos. Limited Too, we totally hope you follow suit.
Do you still shop at Forever 21? Tell us about your favorite places to shop — then and now — in the comments below.