(Warning: Content heavy! You may want to grab your reading glasses. Sorry, I had to!)
I love me some J Crew and Nordstrom just as much as the next girl...trust me! But I am a college student on a serious budget and if I bought everything I crave I would have no savings and be eating Mac and Cheese every night. So, for me, shopping at stores like Forever 21, H&M and Nordstrom Rack has become second nature. Giving up my shopping addiction is not an option, so combining fashion with affordability is an absolute must! I also know that going into a store like Forever 21 or H&M can be really over whelming and more "work" than fun. \So here are a few tips that I use to help when sorting through the seemingly never ending racks of clothes!
1. Set A Goal: Going into a store that has literally hundreds of options and styles with no idea what you are looking for is only good if you are looking to revamp your entire wardrobe in one trip. Unfortunately, all too often you get lost or distracted by how cute something is, then when you get home you realize you have the same thing in red or that you really did not need it. So go with an intention! I can't stress this enough...know what you are looking for before you even go in the front door! This will save you time and money.
2. Budget, Budget, Budget: Like knowing what you want, know how much you are willing to spend. Cheaper stores like Forever and H&M are actually easier to over spend in because you don't think about the total cost as much when grabbing things. Don't let this fool you!
3. Try Everything On: Some people might not agree with this, but in a mass produced store it is safe to assume (in my experience, anyways) two things...1) No one size fits the same for every piece of clothing (ESPECIALLY because these are juniors sizing, so don't feel bad, you're not alone) and 2) Nothing looks the same on as it does on the hanger! <--- No, really, I know this for a fact!
4. Don't Rush: Going into a huge store and coming out with quality things that aren't going to fall apart after one wear or that are things you want and need is based on being meticulous. I give myself at least an hour to go through the store and try things on. I have to look at everything and really see if it is worth the buy or if I am just loving the sequins. So give yourself time to look, I prefer going alone so I never feel rushed by a friend.
5. Talk Yourself Down: This is very important. You are in a huge store, looking at all sorts of cute things that you feel that you "have to have" or you might cry. I know the feeling, trust me. But being able to ask yourself if you "need it" or simply "want it" is key to being a good shopper. If you need the black dress for a party and it can function again at another event, get it. If you are going to wear the red skinny jeans more than 5 times, get them! But, be careful...if you just like the look of the bright pink heels, ask yourself when you will wear them, how much are they, how many times will you wear them, and are they even cute? Sometimes there are things worth getting just for fun, but most of the time you don't need it and will regret it. So be realistic!
6. HAVE FUN! Some people have told me (including a lot of my close friends) that they get too overwhelmed in Forever 21 or H&M that they never find anything and in time they hate going in there. I tell them to do these things and try again because it really is a shame to never go to these stores. I love quality clothes and definitely buy them often as well, but for things that go in and out as quick as they came, or some cheap, cute items that you can't splurge on, these are great places to look! There are a lot of good pieces that follow the recent trends! So give it a shot and don't get discouraged :)