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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Turning the Corner

Hello everyone! After our three day weekend it seems like it's been ages since we blogged. Now that Labor Day has come and gone, and this morning in Washington there was a nip in the air, we feel like we can finally wistfully tuck our Lilly into the back of the closet and officially embrace fall fashion.
Over the weekend I happened to be at a suburban mall that I had never been to before (but their Pottery Barn had the last of the burnt orange towels I was looking for, so I decided to venture out). I intended to pop into Pottery Barn and be done with the excursion, but I could not help also ducking into the ginormous Forever 21 (or "XXI Forever" as it appears to be called these days) across the way. My intentions were innocent enough- to take a quick look at the jewelry and see if perhaps they had an inexpensive version of the boyfriend blazer (which is looking to be uber-popular this fall).

Image via The Beautiful Life
The store was enormous- two stories- it even had its own escalator. Very reminiscent of the huge H&M's you see in New York and other major cities. The decor was also pleasantly surprising- with its black and white floor and lucite chandeliers, it looked a lot more like a Bloomies inside than it did a teenybopper clothing store.
Of course after looking around for a few minutes I realized that one can never spend just a few minutes inside a XXI Forever store. Sure I was the oldest person there (aside from the moms back to school shopping with their daughters), but I didn't let it get to my head. After all, I was too busy rushing around checking out all of the inventory. There are SO many clothes in those stores, it's daunting. There is no way that you can possibly see it all. Clothes on the walls, clothes on tables, clothes on round racks, clothes on horizontal racks, clothes clothes clothes! After wandering around for nearly an hour and trying about 20 things on, I came up with some favorite picks.

In retrospect I'm sad I did not purchase this pea coat. Aside from coming in a variety of lovely colors, it actually fits really well for the price. I think that after replacing the buttons, you'd have a hard time telling whether this cost $50 or $300. I've put it on my "to get" list as the weather gets I just need to pick a color.

I loved this gingham silk shirt. I feel like I'm seeing a lot of plaids/checks for fall and that this is right in step with this trend. I am also a sucker for a ruffle placket. When I tried this shirt on I figured it was polyester given the price...only later when I looked it up on the internet did I realize it was 100% silk. The one that got away!

Loved this tangerine-colored top also. And much to my surprise, it is 100% silk also! Most of my favorite items in the store were from the "Twelve by Twelve" line, which is a more sophisticated collection than the XXI brand. I was really surprised by the wonderful designing behind this collection. A lot of it reminded me of what I'd find at the contemporary section of Saks or Bloomies.

I grabbed a pair of gray jeans on a whim. I tried them on and liked them, but wasn't sure if I wanted to purchase them until I saw the price tag. $12.50. Sold! (No, they do not look this tight on me!)

I loved this dress (from Twelve by Twelve) the moment I saw it. The gray knit body and chiffon details on the top was very Chanel-esque to me. Only problem- when I tried it on it looked like someone had lopped six inches off the bottom! I'm by no means super tall (about 5'6"), but it's apparent that XXI cuts their clothing more on juniors proportion. I had this problem with a couple of items- even though they fit fine, proportionally they were too short waisted or short in length. For this reason I'd really emphasize the importance of trying things on. It's very hard to eyeball fit/size at these stores.

Loved this dress too (also Twelve by Twelve)! Looks like something Theory would make for $498, doesn't it? The only problem was that this was indeed polyester. And the construction just wasn't meticulous. I knew that despite the great price I just wouldn't end up wearing it.

There was an awesome selection of cardigans that I didn't get a chance to try on. They looked to be of great quality too- a lot better than the ones from Target tend to look. Doesn't this one remind you of Milly?

I went a little nuts on the jewelry, I must confess. But it's hard to do severe damage when all of the jewelry costs under $10!
I scooped up this necklace (which is much more striking in person).

Loved this chain necklace too!

Today at work I am wearing this beauty! Very Lanvin-esque.

I have been wanting a multi-strand chain necklace for a while, and I actually picked up two of these necklaces to wear together to really pack a punch.

I didn't see the bib necklaces until I was leaving, but they are fab in person.

Jeweled Linked Plates Necklace, $7.80
So, next time you find yourself in the vicinity of a XXI Forever, I'd highly recommend stopping in. I bet you won't be able to come away empty handed! I highly prefer this store to the typical Forever 21 store- it's a much more pleasant shopping experience, the stores are roomy and airy, and surprisingly well-decorated. No, you won't love everything there, and you do really need to try things on, but it's virtually impossible not to come away with a bargain. Check it out and let us know what you think! Oh, and ironically after all that looking, I never did find my boyfriend blazer! The search continues...


Chic Coles (Cole Design) said...

I love their stuff! I just went to the one in New Orleans, and it was awful. I love the one in New York City, it is so big!

Jaime said...

Love the necklaces and petal cardy! I also find that half the clothes (esp the dresses) don't fit me right since it's juniors sizing. The dresses are always OBSCENELY short, so I have to not purchase... lol

Erin said...

That yellow pea coat is so cute!!! I would never even think to change out the buttons. Great idea! The jewelry there is fab and so reasonable. I find the clothes overwhelming to look at though...there's just SO MUCH, EVERYWHERE! I might have to go back and take a peak at the pea coats though!

The Matters of Style Girls said...

Erin- you are right about the fact there are SO many clothes. I'm sure if I visited the store tomorrow I'd discover a ton of great items that I didn't even notice on Saturday. From a business standpoint I bet their sales would actually go up if they cut out 1/3 of their inventory!

Jamie- I am glad to hear I'm not the only one who has a problem with their clothes being short. Which is a shame, since I feel like aside from the length issue the Twelve by Twelve stuff is very sophisticated.

Haven and Home said...

I am a big fan! Love their stuff!

central bark designs said...

I need that peacoat in turquoise! And for under $50 - I can make it the weekend Central Park - dog adventure coat and not worry about it!

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