How to Extend the Life of Your Forever 21-ish Purchases

Recently a few beauty and fashion bloggers were sitting in Neiman Marcus at a press event, where inevitably, our conversation turned to being fashionable on a bloggerʼs budget. My contribution was more along the lines of how to keep your modestly priced purchases looking good longer….here goes!




I wish I could regularly shop at Neiman Marcus but with my current finances that would be suicidal. Stores like Zara, H&M, Forever21 and Marshallʼs are a mecca of trendiness that fit into my budget. While I do recognize that I get what I pay for with these stores, I have my ways to extend the life of clothing and accessories purchases. In fact, some of these tips are good for all clothes — no matter the price tag.

  • Check fabric and craftsmanship. Pull on seems, buttons and zippers. Check linings and any attachments to finished garment. I reinforce all buttons, especially on outerwear and double stitch (on my sewing machine) anything that looks a bit flimsy. I do a loop stitch at the end of zippers to reduce incidents of breaking. I also have a
  • needle and thread in my wallet. (Judging me yet?)
  • Buy a good detergent. Pre hand-wash high stain areas such as under arms and wash clothes on gentle cycle. Tumble dry on moderate heat. I use Tide for regular wash and Woolite dark on the gentlE or delicate cycle for everything that may fade with washing.
  • At home 5 minute dry clean with Febreeze fabric refresher. Spray garment lightly and pop the garment in the dryer for a few minutes. Remove propmptly and hang. This works really well for blazers, cardigans and sweater dresses.
  • Iron everything inside out. This reduces the likelihood of shining of fabric, especially polyester blends (a favorite fabric at the H&M’s and Forever21′s of the world.)
  • Buy a fabric shaver. This bad boy works wonders on fabric pills and fuzz on sweaters and outerwear. I’m not sure how I would make it through winter without my fabric shaver…it’s almost as essential as a snow blower. I use this one from Walmart.




Letʼs face it, the right accessory can take an outfit over the top. While I do pay attention to accessory trends I tend to wear the same accessories forever (real or fake.) For those pieces that are susceptible to tarnish (metallic tones) I use toothpaste. Coat the item, let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse with lukewarm water while brushing with an old toothbrush.

Bottom Line: I want to be fashionable on a dime and the tips above help me get the most out of my purchases. I hope they do the same for you.

Posted on February 17, 2012 .