When F21 first came into my life in 9th grade (circa 2001), nearly everything in the store (save for anything in the painfully tacky camouflage/fishnetty-zippered-goth/glitter princess/printed baby tees sections which, in my local F21, occupied much of the left-side of the store) begged for me to buy it with my folks' hard earned cash - and I never even broke the bank. My past purchases from Forever 21, while not extremely high quality, were typically above and beyond their under-$20 price tag. I'll be honest: I still own some of the pieces I speak of, which is another testament to how great F21 was, way-back-when.
I don't think I'll ever turn my back on Forever, because I can always find at least one worthwhile item to wear for any occasion when nary can one be found elsewhere. The extensive assortment of trendy, modern styles is more than I can ask of most other 'affordable' women's clothing stores at the mall (ie; Charlotte Russe and stores like Vanity & Rave that occupy random spots in the mall for just a split-second's time before disappearing.) Sadly though, as I mentiond before, I've had only small successes lately in scoring wardrobe-worthy duds at the ol' $10-$20 price points. F21's price tags almost seem as though they were assigned to items completly at random - very obviously low-quality items sometimes cost $30-$40, while other, better quality pieces (like the soft-as-cashmere cardigan I bought today) are tagged at $15 and under. Such confusion is matched by the chaotic atmosphere inside the store - especially on weekends - with racks and racks of disheveled clothes, most of which are out of place or have been ripped and snagged by ferocious deal-seekers or the last flippant girl to try them on. (And by the way, why do they re-hang that stuff?! It's just going to go in the desolate sale-section at the back of the store, forever into the abyss of unwanted apparel.)
I will credit Forever (and it's XXI counterpart) with having brought in some unusually sturdy bags, a collection of fashion-forward shoes that rotates seasonally, and a separate section of higher quality items. And to emphasize that I haven't completely given up yet, I'd like to share my excitement in having found three awesome, big-ass rings rings today from among NINE brimming bowls full of them. Not a single one of the hundreds of rings for sale was left unturned as I held on hope that I'd find at least one diamond (read: plastic) in the rough. I actually found a few more, but I'm not much of a pinky-ring wearer, and their disproportionately large selection of size 6 rings will only fit on that one. Size 8, plz! And keep 'em coming!