Cheryl shops...Forever 21
To make up for the fact that I was extremely lazy yesterday (i.e. no postings), I'm introducing a new feature here at Cheryl Shops called, well, Cheryl shops... It's a more clever way of saying "Cheryl reviews," basically. Since so many new stores open here on a regular basis, I'll, of course, be reviewing them. I'll also revisit places that have been around for awhile, just to see how they're doing. Hey, it's an excuse to go shopping as "research."

So, first up, I went to the brand-spanking-new Forever 21 store (on 34th St. between 5th & 6th Aves.). Forever 21 started in--where else?--California in the '80s and, after much national expansion in the mid- to late-'90s, is finally hitting Manhattan. (I believe the 34th St. store is the first to open in Manhattan, and one in Union Square is coming soon.) To sum up the store in one sentence, I'd say it's Bebe style at sub-H&M prices. That's right, I said sub-H&M prices. I did not see one thing in the store that cost more than $20, and, believe me, I looked. However, as I can tell you from having worked at Contempo Casuals for two summers, cheap prices come at the cost of fabric--i.e. the clothes are freaking tiny. I'd say 90% of the stock is sized small/medium/large; I'm a size 8 in big-girl clothes and I was, shall we say, straining many of the larges. Also, I had butt-cheekage in several skirts (seriously, who wears 14-inch-long skirts?). So if you're a size two or four and petite, jackpot for you!

As for the store and what's actually in it, there are two floors, with a third still under construction. The first has a lot of black club-type clothing (halters, backless tops, slinky fabrics) in the front, and a section best described as "Juicy knockoffs" in the back. They have a pretty good rendition of the linen tie-dyed ruffle skirt, the velour tube (although their version--I hope--seems more like a top, too short for a dress), and various tees and tanks. The second floor has lingerie (microscopic underwear, definitely too small for my ass); handbags, most of which are vinyl, but cute; accessories, of which they have a much better selection than H&M, at even better prices; a pretty big denim section (which is where I found clothes with actual numeral sizes); workout-type clothes; and some dressier clothes. Way in the back, it looks like they literally raided my closet: sheer button-down shirts, frilly camisoles, pleated skirts. They also have a rather impressive selection of ponchos for $12.80, which is an unbeatable price, especially in light of its trendiness. I also spotted some Ella Moss-type striped tops, skirts, and dresses, and, as you can imagine, they have a big selection of cropped cargo pants.

I didn't buy anything (I was a bit pressed for time), but judging by the lines at the cash register, their business was not hurting. I do want to go back for a few tops and maybe some accessories, though. Forever 21 is a virtual goldmine if you're tiny; for the rest of us, it's a good bet for trendy, disposable clothing at ridiculously cheap prices. Yes, that sounds a lot like H&M, but, hey, at least now we have options.

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