Don’t you hate when you’re shopping and you think you see a cute basic dress or top, but upon further inspection you notice that it has an unnecessary ruffle, or a bunch of ugly studs on it, weird dip dye, or some nonsensical word or phrase like “I Love Me” or “PIZZA” on it? Forever 21 is usually responsible for this, like, a lot; somewhat more than H&M and Urban Outfitters, stores that have also fallen for these trends more as of late.
Listen, don’t get me wrong: Forever 21 has some cute, affordable clothes. It’s hard to resist popping in whenever you’re at the mall, right? But the day will come when you’ve had it up to here with that $10 dress that loses its shape after one wash, or your fruitless attempt to find a basic white top that doesn’t have some corny slogan on it. The day will come when you’re willing to spend a little more on a slightly higher quality garment, when you’ll want to shop somewhere that you know you can buy clothes that don’t scream “I’m a Trendy Teen.” Forever 21 (and similar stores) will always be a great resource for cheap clothes, but you won’t be into shopping there…forever (sorry). Check out these eight stores you should check out once you’ve outgrown Forever 21.
ASOSASOS is my favorite online store at the moment, and here's why: They have such a huge variety of styles and sizes and most of the clothes are reasonably priced. Plus, it's pretty easy to come by some killer sales, especially during seasonal shifts or holidays. I'm talking real sales of 20 percent off and up, none of this 15 percent off nonsense that a lot of stores try to get away with. The selection can be overwhelming if you're just casually browsing, so it helps to have an idea of what you're looking for--a pink mini skirt, a printed wrap dress, blue mom jeans--and then keep it movin'. Buy this at ASOS
UNIFIf you love bold colors and daring/alt adjacent looks, you'll love UNIF. From their chunky sweaters, to their cute mini skirts, to their killer boots, you'll find something to die for. UNIF definitely has a playful aesthetic, but the clothes are really solid, albeit somewhat expensive. But their sales are usually in the 30 percent range, so you can usually cop something you really want for a steep discount. Buy this at UNIF
UniqloEver since my favorite store, American Apparel, went belly up, I've been desperate for a place to buy basic, solid colored clothes for layering purposes. Uniqlo is perfect for that, and they're incredibly affordable too. From collared tops to joggers, you'll find some really cute finds for not a lot of money. No awkward studs or stupid ruffles here. Buy this at Uniqlo
ZaraZara really stepped their game up, and it shows. They're the perfect transition of you love Forever 21 but want to look a little more put together and refined, and are willing to spend a tiny bit more to do it. Their price range is pretty mid-level, though you'll find some surprisingly cheap tops and skirts from time to time. Plus, their sales rule; just make sure you jump on 'em fast, because they sell out like crazy. Buy this at Zara
EverlaneEverlane is all about transparency--from its pricing to how its clothes are made--so if you're looking for a store you can shop at relatively guilt free, this is the one. The site is full of great, affordable basics from maxi dresses, to sandals, to sweaters, to blouses. They're definitely on the minimalist side, so you won't find bold colors or patterns anywhere. But if you want a place to buy a basic mustard sweater or a navy blue dress, this is the place. Buy this at Everlane
MadewellMadewell is on the pricier side, but if you're looking for a solid pair of jeans, shoes, or accessories, this is the place you want to go. If you're over buying cheap jeans that fade and lose their shape after a few wears, give yourself an upgrade with Madewell's denim. They're known for it and they have a ton of variations to choose from. Plus, they usually have really good sales, so if you're not ready to spend $100 on jeans right now, hold tight for a sale and buy 'em for a huge discount. Buy this at Madewell
NordstromBelieve it or not, Nordstrom has some pretty affordable clothes, and when you're pining for an item that isn't so affordable, their sales are usually pretty hefty; that'll do the trick. Plus, their return policy is super gracious, so if you rock something and don't like it, you can return it stress free, even without a receipt. Buy this at Nordstrom
What other stores do you like to frequent? Tell us in the comments!