The world of fast fashion--it's completely high energy and it's accessible for all. We are now finally experiencing a new era in fashion where you can actually afford to be stylish. Cheap clothes are no longer drab and boring like they were when I was growing up. Stores like Forever 21 and H&M offer an abundance of pieces that are not only chic, but actually have a boutique (and sometimes even a designer) feel to them. But when it comes to fast fashion and your budget, there are a few rules to live by. So without further adieu, here they are:
- Designer collaborations are, in fact, awesome. This may be your one chance to own something that's made from a designer! H&M typically has the best designer collaborations, while (in my personal opinion) Target's collaborations aren't the best. Although I'm proud of Target for collaborating with some fantastic top name designers, I've also seen their clothes end up at salvage shops for a few dollars, which really just ruins the whole thing.
- If you like it now, buy it now. Your favorite piece inside Forever 21 probably won't stay there for more than a few days--hence, fast fashion. However, make sure you really like the item before you get it. It is a waste of money to buy anything only to wear it one time. (Full disclosure: I am guilty of this.)
- Inspect the garment. Most of these items aren't made with quality in mind, per say, but at the same time if you find an amazing top for $19.80 and you have to reinforce a button, I still think it's totally worth it. That being said, don't just inspect the garment for quality. Inspect it for trendiness, too. A reinvented white sheer button up is going to be in style for a while, but a zebra print blazer might phase out in a few seasons--or even weeks.
- If you own a fast-fashion item for more than three years, you might as well call it "vintage". Okay, all kidding aside, I have several fast fashion pieces (actually most of my closet is from Forever 21 and some H&M) that have lasted me for more than two or three years. But the truth is, these garments get old fast--not always because of lack of quality but because of the changing trends.
- Don't expect to find something "unique" or "one of a kind" or "different". One of the things my coworkers and I hear at Forever 21 a lot are customers wanting something that no one else has. I fully support the idea of having your own distinct style, but these items are mass produced. If you want a unique piece, go to a local boutique or find an online store. You can also shop vintage or on Etsy. After working at Forever 21 for a while now, I've learned that it's how you wear the mass-produced garment that will set you apart from other people with the same piece.