Has anyone else noticed that Forever 21 has stepped it up, big time? That’s not to say you can’t find the silly, overly trendy, achingly tweenaged stuff the store’s known for (to wit: a PJ set that reads “some of my closet friends are snacks!”), but yesterday—during my life’s mission to accumulate as much cheap crap as possible—I noticed a hefty chunk of the merchandise has gotten really, really good. Like, high-style good with a very obvious minimalist bent.
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And it’s not only the selection of stuff that impressed me, but it’s the styling on the site, too. The retailer is famously press-averse, so finding out whose behind this on-site makeover of sorts isn’t really an option, but it’s clear the brand realized that—in order to succeed in a Zara-filled world—creating expensive-looking clothing that appeals to more style-aware demos than mallrats and cheerleaders is a must.
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Because Forever 21’s website has so much inventory, it’s been allowing users to search by style, and within the “minimalist” category, I was pretty floored by the fact that I basically wanted everything. Black mules with a chunky heel, culottes, boxy white cotton shirts, dainty gold earrings, athleisure staples like marled joggers and slip-on sneakers, black minidresses, and more.
Honestly, I’m not someone that exclusively identifies as a minimalist—I gravitate toward kitsch in a big way—but I appreciate stylish simplicity too (which often gets a reputation for being expensive—thanks, Céline), and it’s thrilling to me that I can now turn to F21 for those types of pieces instead of always relying of spots like Zara, Need Supply, and & Other stories—all of which are absolute gems, but usually require an upwards-of-$80 commitment for items I may not love next season, even if they’re in neutral colors.
To prove that Forever 21 is a viable option for stylish women like you, I’ve rounded up 40 killer pieces in neutral colors and sleek cuts that you can mix and match all spring and summer long—and each is under $50. Proof, yet again, that you don’t need a ton of money to look insanely stylish.