Today I Stop Shopping at Forever 21

*Cue the heavens opening. A beam of golden light shines down upon me. Angels flutter down and hand me a certificate that says “Best Human Ever Award”*

Today I went into Forever 21. I needed a new sports bra and figured this would be the cheapest, quickest way to get the job done. I left the store about 30 minutes later with two sports bras, gym shorts, a tank top, a blouse, and a sweater. What could have cost me less than $10 ended up forcing me to sell my grandmother’s prized family heirlooms on the corner. Not really, but almost. 

I have been in a complicated relationship with Forever 21 for as long as I’ve been dressing myself. The store is an overwhelming sensory experience of glitter, nonsensical pop music, things with cats and/or pineapples on them, surprisingly cute underwear, jewelry that leaves your fingers green, and stuff that could actually pass as not being from Forever 21.

Above all: it’s cheap. Disgustingly cheap. As in, I am fairly sure I have paid less than $1 for more than one thing there. When something is that cheap, its origins are instantly undeniable. A quick Google search will link you to tons of reports on completely unacceptable labor practices used by Forever 21, H&M, Zara, and basically anywhere else a college student will tell you she got her outfit. 

Yet we’re all able to suppress the idea that an 11-year-old kid made our Floral Crochet Vests because this kind of shopping experience is addicting. Checking a price tag on a cute top and seeing a teeny-tiny $6.00 is a rush, especially when your total clothing budget is $20.00. Holy cow, I can get three of these puppies! I might as well get that unicorn-shaped necklace too!! And why not a new skirt?!! Don’t act like you haven’t been there. Also, don’t act like you haven’t gone home and realized half of the things you got aren’t even that cute. Hell, I already dubbed that tank top I bought earlier as “Officially Fugly.” 

For people who are struggling to clothe themselves, inexpensive clothing can be a real blessing and I fully acknowledge that. I am thankful I am not in this position and have the choice to be mindful about how and where I spend my money. Of course, making this kind of decision doesn’t automatically mean the Human Rights Fairy is going to bless me with infinite monies to purchase higher quality, more ethically made clothing. As it turns out, there are so many resources for finding affordable, ethical, slow fashion. This list is a great jumping off point. 

So, I’m done with it. Forever 21, Zara, H&M can kiss my overused credit card farewell. I am tired of foolishly compromising my morals, my budget, and my style (and my skin to all these synthetic fabrics, psshaww!) for the sake of a temporary shopping high.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas for new places to shop!



Kate Hudson Convinced Me to Buy Exercise Clothes And…

My teenage anarchist self would be so pissed if she found out that Kate Hudson convinced me to buy activewear, via an advertisement on Facebook. But $25 for a complete outfit? Anyone who has ever set foot in a Nike store knows you could buy about one boob’s worth of a sports bra with $25. 

That in mind, it’s not hard to figure out why my workout wear consists largely of beat-up Soffe shorts left over from high school Ultimate Frisbee, paired with any t-shirt I ever got for free. It’s a perfectly acceptable look, certainly, but lately the wedgie-inducing shorts and suffocating polyester blend tee’s have been getting to me. So, when a 45º angled Kate Hudson invited me into a world of affordable compression and support, I shrugged and clicked. 

Now on, I was directed to a fancy lil’ quiz, asking me how and where I liked to work out, and what I thought about a bunch of unfortunate color palettes. Following the quiz, I was presented with my own “personalized picks” featuring gear that best suited my needs.

The introductory $25/outfit offer applies to a specified selection of outfits, but there was still plenty to choose from. I, personally, chose the “Indio” outfit, as it had three pieces, while most had two and, as we already established, this entire mission was of the more bang for your buck variety. 

The Indio ensemble features the Barbados Tank, the Salar Crop, and Joliet High Impact Bra. You can pick and choose from several colors, but I went with the standard pink and black.

It’s worth noting: make sure you check the size guide before ordering. There’s some seriously weird vanity sizing going on. I chose my usual size in everything, but then some celestial inspiration came down upon me and provoked me to check the size guide, where measurements revealed I should actually order a size up. (And after trying everything on, thank the lawd I did!)  

Less than a week later, and my shiny new clothes arrived at my doorstep. I unpacked each piece and all I could think was “damn this is soft.” Everything was so cute I was inspired to go running right away. I put everything on, it fit like a glove, and hell yeah I looked good. Certainly an improvement from the usual reflection of a sweaty “2006 Middle School Field Day” variety. 

From the top down: the Joliet High Impact Bra was without a doubt the most hardcore support I’ve ever experienced. I generally don’t need that much support in that area, but wearing this made a noticeable difference in comfort, even for me. Bonus: it’s multi-layered, which means I was able to stash my keys and iPod in it. 

The Salar Crop was also lovely. Essentially, they keep it tight with nary a hint of a muffin top. I have seen the errors of running in yoga pants! 

Finally, the Barbados tank topped everything off really nicely. It’s ultra-drapey and doesn’t cling to the body at all, even when you start sweating hardcore. For those of us who hate the feeling of wearing a tight shirt/anything with sleeves while exercising, but also haven’t transcended to a mental state where we can be okay in just a sports bra, this top is the perfect medium. If (and I assume this is true) all of their similar tops are of the same material, I want 10 in every color. 

So yes, I am down with Fabletics. The clothes are cute. Quite cute at that. Most activewear follows a similar model, regardless of brand, so it’s more or less variations on a theme. But some of those variations are really quite rad. Some of my favorites include the Switch Back Tee, the Salar Capri, and the Sicily Top. Not too shabby, right?

Of course a well-priced pair of pants isn’t going to knock a minute off of your mile or make you able to lift five more pounds, but I found that I genuinely felt good working out in these clothes. I wasn’t bothered by the hinderances of modified street clothes (see aforementioned wedgie) and this made for an overall experience that was more fun and more productive. And best of all, I felt cute while doing it! Hot dog, I even wore a bracelet! 

So, would I recommend Fabletics to a friend? Sure! Am I going to order from them again? Probably! Especially if they give me a coupon for writing this. 


Help! What Do I Wear With My Ridiculous Nike Leggings?

The last time I was in Los Angeles, I begged my boyfriend to take me to the NikeTown store in Beverly Hills. I figured that was the perfect place to jump-start my “I’m a cool, carefree West Coast Gal who makes sportswear look like couture” lifestyle. There, I went a little crazy and seriously splurged on a pair of leggings (pictured above) that I was certain would make all of my dreams come true.

Months later, and I’ve worn them maybe twice. I’ve put them on a couple times, admired the rear-view in the mirror, and then taken them off after realizing I have no idea how to wear these into the world.

“Wear them with a sports bra and cut up t-shirt and feel the burn, fool!” Yeah, yeah. I didn’t incur credit card debt to buy something I was going to sweat in.

Perhaps you’re in the same position? Did you go overboard with the rainbow yoga pants at Lululemon and now they are gathering dust? Or perhaps you indulged in Stella McCartney for Adidas and your world is crumbling before you? Come, sit down my legging-clad babes–let’s solve this problem once and for all.

Silky camisoles are almost always a foolproof solution to any outfit needs. The collarbone exposure is universally flattering, but the wispy fabric keeps your outfit from being too clingy and restricting. Choose a pattern or print in accordance with your respective ridiculous leggings. Or, if you’re feeling particularly Coachella that day, try something trendy like a crochet cami.

Consider going full-on Assassin’s Creed with a badass variation on the concept of “tunic.” Also particularly handy for when you don’t care enough that day to figure out what’s going on with your Visible Pantyline (VPL) situation.

Peasant blouses and anything with a cropped, box-cut style is going to flatter your socks off. They’re so floaty and romantic and will keep you from venturing too deeply into Health Goth territory.

If you’ve already spent your paycheck on a pair of spandex leg-casings, don’t go overboard with the footwear. Heels, dainty flats, and any variation of booties need not apply. Keep it simple with Teva-esque sandals, sneakers, or slip-ons.

Ahh yes, I can see it now: we are all blossoming into perfect little polyester flowers. At the end of the day, we all just need to ask ourselves the same question: WWSSD?

What would Sporty Spice do?


Current Obsession: Mori Girl

I used to be really into Japanese street fashion. And I mean really. In my early teen years, I saved up months of pithy minimum wage paychecks in order to afford the lifestyle of a Gothic Lolita. I fell out of the style after a few years (much to the joy of my bank account) but I more or less maintain the belief that Japanese teenagers know everything there is to know about looking sweet as hell. 

Via the World of Tumblr, I’ve discovered my latest style aspiration: Mori Girl. According to Urban Dictionary, Mori Girl can be defined as “a fairly new (2007) Japanese fashion/lifestyle trend, dedicated to living a cheerful, simple, natural life of a girl in the forest.” Essentially, a Mori Girl is 50% flower, 50% sweater. 

One of the best things about Mori Girl style is its flexibility and room for creativity. There are no set rules or brands to be worshiped; it’s more about a girl’s individual experimentation. Rad!

Naturally, my train of thought eventually returned to knitting. Mori Girl is basically the dream aesthetic of any knitter or crafter. I mean, do you know how hard it is trying to update your “soft-grunge” wardrobe with knitting patterns? Puh-lease. Mori Girl on the other hand? We’re talking antique lace shawls, chunky oversized cardigans, fingerless gloves…the list is truly infinite. I can’t wait to compile a list of patterns to share with you!

If you’re looking for me this summer, I’ll be somewhere in a tree wearing a nightgown!

Image Credit: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6