They’re All Made Out of Ticky-Tacky and They All Look Just the Same: Why and How I’m Quitting Forever 21

They’re All Made Out of Ticky-Tacky and They All Look Just the Same: Why and How I’m Quitting Forever 21

forever21
Oh how I wish the second half of this post’s title was “Why I Don’t Shop at Forever 21”. But I can’t write that yet. The earrings I’m wearing right now were purchased from the Christian sweatshop giant. So were my jeans.

I am well aware that Forever 21 and other throw-away fashion dynasties are not paying their workers enough, that cheap labor goes hand in hand with cheap fabrics and poor construction, that they steal their designs from others, and preach with their bright yellow “LOOK AT ME I AM A CONSUMER” plastic bags. And yet, I still find myself wandering in semi-regularly, and often wandering out with some mass-produced somehow already cliché thin-as-a-tissue article of clothing I will only wear a few times before it either rips or bores me because I’ve seen a version of it on sixteen other girls in one day. My point is, I know better. I’m embarrassed that I do it. I beg them not to bag my purchase and instead surreptitiously stuff it into my purse, which I also purchased at Forever 21.

But then I’ll get compliments when I wear these items, which also shames me to no end. I admit my folly in an Eeyore voice with my head hung low, unintentionally advertising for them, which makes me feel even worse. One would think that after all of this remorse, I would have enough self control to stop shopping there. So why do I keep going back?

Well, I’m poor as shit and I want to look cute.

Always the first excuse. I live in Los Angeles. Everything is expensive here, and though some are just fine with riding the bus to the laundromat in sweatpants and holey socks, I am not one of those people.

And I know I could buy used clothing. Thrifting has been in my blood since I was a below the poverty-level 6th grader. But back then, I’d drop $20 for several Grocery Outlet bags full of awesome 70′s blouses, flowing maxi skirts, and kooky wooden parrot necklaces. These days, the only “vintage” stuff you can find at Goodwill (at least in LA) is from the mid-90′s and almost as expensive as it was when it was new. And sorting through the mounds of stained, synthetic, cargo-pocketed nightmares for that one gem you just know is in there somewhere is exhausting and time consuming.

Excuses, excuses, right? I could make excuses all day. But being broke does not a saint make. Sure, I’m broke. Most of us are. But buying “affordable” new clothes is such a waste of money in the long run. Not only are these purchases physically not going to stand the test of time, Forever 21 and its competitors release so many new collections a year that by the time their cutesy 21 day return policy runs out, your adorable new jacket is already “out of style”.

I could also go on a diatribe about how even the name of the company is unsettling, how the focus on eternal-just-of-drinking-age youth is enforcing that “little girl in the form of a woman” stereotype I so despise, dismissing the idea that there is any point to life if you aren’t young and attractive, but I don’t want to get angry. Again, WHY do we (I) keep going back?

We (I) forget.

It’s the first warm, sunny day of spring. You weren’t prepared for the weather, since you left home early this morning. Now you’re off work, which happens to be right next to the mall. You have a date later and the thought of bare legs on a balmy beachy afternoon with your lover sounds too divine to deny. You could go home to change, but there are at least 150 different brand new dresses in one store 30 feet from you that could be yours right now in exchange for the meager tips in your pocket. And even if thoughts of sweatshop labor and copyright infringement pop in to your head, hey, its only one dress. And three necklaces. And four pairs of tights. There are so many adorable items at your fingertips (that someone else designed first and that were sewn by workers making less than minimum wage)! And this dress is only $19.95! And this is the last time you’ll ever shop here. You swear.

Every little bit adds up. And if you’re like me and you impulse buy when you have a spare few bucks, you end up with a closet full of mass-produced junk.

If only I put that petty cash away, I could afford to buy quality clothing. I’m not talking about overpriced just-because-its-designer items, but a few well made trend-proof pieces that will last. Jeans, versatile dresses, jackets. Sure, they’re a little pricier, but that’s because the company who made them thought enough of their employees to pay them a humane wage.

Buy quality staples, and if you’re craving seasonal pieces and good deals, don’t lazily duck into the mall. Shop like you mean it. Take the day and drive out to estate sales, where all the awesome vintage shit is in pristine condition. Or hit up thrift stores in weird little mountain towns, where they haven’t been picked over and the dresses are only six bucks. If you must stay in the city, visit buy-sell-trade places, where everything is still cheaper than at the mall, but the mountains of junk sorting has been done for you and you’re still recycling!

I am making a resolution to never buy from Forever 21 again. And if you’re reading this, I hope you’ll join me. Consider it spring cleaning for your conscience.

Even though the number of ethical reasons for making this stand is out of the ballpark, the main reason I’m making it is that I don’t want to be a cookie-cutter American Millennial. In high school, I showed up to school one day in the same shirt as a classmate’s and something in me snapped. After that, I prided myself on dressing “different”. I came back after winter break wearing layers of my dad’s discarded 70′s clothes, mixed with weird pieces I made myself before I really knew how to sew. I may have looked bizarre, I may have been acting out, but I was 100% me. My style has since balanced into a neutral heavy, travel inspired, vintagey-modern, subtly feminine mix. I don’t have a concept of my style. We’ve all seen those “what’s your personal style?” quizzes that only have like 5 outcomes. Why do I have to be categorized, I wonder? Because then I can be put into a target market and advertised to. Please join me in saying a very ladylike “fuck that”.

Don’t let anyone tell you what you want to wear. And the next time you find yourself staring in the window of a Forever 21, watching three cloned girls with ombre dye jobs try on the same dress, you can proudly turn your back because you are trend-proof. You are uncategorizable.

I’ll leave you with this bit of brilliance:

When I ask for a garment of a particular form, my tailoress tells me gravely, “They do not make them so now,” not emphasizing the “They” at all, as if she quoted an authority as impersonal as the Fates, and I find it difficult to get made what I want, simply because she cannot believe that I mean what I say, that I am so rash. When I hear this oracular sentence, I am for a moment absorbed in thought, emphasizing to myself each word separately that I may come at the meaning of it, that I may find out by what degree of consanguinity They are related to me, and what authority They may have in an affair which affects me so nearly; and, finally, I am inclined to answer her with equal mystery, and without any more emphasis of the “They” – “It is true, they did not make them so recently, but they do now.”

-Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Now go change into something “weird”. If you feel like it.

687 comments to They’re All Made Out of Ticky-Tacky and They All Look Just the Same: Why and How I’m Quitting Forever 21

  • Hey there, I think your website might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog site in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, wonderful blog!

  • Greetings! I’ve been following your web site for some time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Huffman Tx! Just wanted to mention keep up the great job!

  • Hey! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any trouble with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing months of hard work due to no backup. Do you have any methods to prevent hackers?

  • Howdy just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know a few of the images aren’t loading properly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different internet browsers and both show the same outcome.

  • Do you have a spam problem on this blog; I also am a blogger, and I was wondering your situation; we have created some nice methods and we are looking to exchange solutions with other folks, be sure to shoot me an e-mail if interested.

  • It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d definitely donate to this brilliant blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to brand new updates and will share this site with my Facebook group. Chat soon!

  • Greetings from Ohio! I’m bored to death at work so I decided to browse your website on my iphone during lunch break. I love the information you present here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m surprised at how quick your blog loaded on my cell phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, very good site!

  • It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d definitely donate to this excellent blog! I guess for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to new updates and will talk about this blog with my Facebook group. Talk soon!

  • Greetings from Florida! I’m bored to death at work so I decided to browse your site on my iphone during lunch break. I love the knowledge you present here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m amazed at how fast your blog loaded on my cell phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, very good blog!

  • Awesome blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere? A theme like yours with a few simple tweeks would really make my blog jump out. Please let me know where you got your theme. Many thanks

  • I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz reply as I’m looking to create my own blog and would like to find out where u got this from. thanks a lot

  • Hey there! This is kind of off topic but I need some advice from an established blog. Is it difficult to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty quick. I’m thinking about making my own but I’m not sure where to start. Do you have any ideas or suggestions? Cheers

  • They’re All Made Out of Ticky-Tacky and They All Look Just the Same: Why and How I’m Quitting Forever 21 « Painfully Hip
    abomngsdhc
    [url=http://www.g275q709om8ez2y8k6109hpprkv45y2ms.org/]ubomngsdhc[/url]
    bomngsdhc http://www.g275q709om8ez2y8k6109hpprkv45y2ms.org/

  • Hi there I am so glad I found your website, I really found you by mistake, while I was researching on Digg for something else, Regardless I am here now and would just like to say thanks a lot for a tremendous post and a all round entertaining blog (I also love the theme/design), I don韙 have time to read it all at the minute but I have saved it and also included your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read more, Please do keep up the awesome work.

  • I was curious if you ever thought of changing the layout of your blog? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or 2 images. Maybe you could space it out better?

  • Hey there! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could locate a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having difficulty finding one? Thanks a lot!

  • My partner and I stumbled over here from a different web page and thought I might check things out. I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward to exploring your web page again.

  • They’re All Made Out of Ticky-Tacky and They All Look Just the Same: Why and How I’m Quitting Forever 21 « Painfully Hip

  • They’re All Made Out of Ticky-Tacky and They All Look Just the Same: Why and How I’m Quitting Forever 21 « Painfully HipS

  • They’re All Made Out of Ticky-Tacky and They All Look Just the Same: Why and How I’m Quitting Forever 21 « Painfully Hip

  • Have you ever considered writing an e-book or guest authoring on other blogs? I have a blog based upon on the same subjects you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information. I know my readers would value your work. If you are even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an e-mail.

  • Greetings! I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Lubbock Texas! Just wanted to say keep up the good job!

  • This design is wicked! You certainly know how to keep a reader amused. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Wonderful job. I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

  • Hi there excellent blog! Does running a blog such as this take a lot of work? I have no knowledge of programming but I had been hoping to start my own blog in the near future. Anyways, if you have any recommendations or techniques for new blog owners please share. I know this is off topic nevertheless I just had to ask. Many thanks!

  • Woah! I’m really loving the template/theme of this blog. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s tough to get that “perfect balance” between superb usability and visual appeal. I must say that you’ve done a amazing job with this. Also, the blog loads very quick for me on Opera. Superb Blog!

  • Hello there! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I truly enjoy reading through your blog posts. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that cover the same topics? Thank you so much!

  • My spouse and I stumbled over here from a different web address and thought I might check things out. I like what I see so now i’m following you. Look forward to looking into your web page repeatedly.

  • I am curious to find out what blog system you are using? I’m experiencing some small security issues with my latest site and I would like to find something more safe. Do you have any solutions?

  • Hello, I think your website might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog site in Ie, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, awesome blog!

  • Hey there! Someone in my Facebook group shared this site with us so I came to give it a look. I’m definitely loving the information. I’m book-marking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Excellent blog and excellent style and design.

  • Incredible! This blog looks just like my old one! It’s on a entirely different topic but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Wonderful choice of colors!

  • I do not know whether it’s just me or if perhaps everybody else encountering problems with your blog. It looks like some of the text within your posts are running off the screen. Can somebody else please comment and let me know if this is happening to them too? This might be a issue with my browser because I’ve had this happen before. Appreciate it

  • My partner and I stumbled over here from a different web page and thought I might as well check things out. I like what I see so i am just following you. Look forward to going over your web page for a second time.

  • With havin so much content do you ever run into any issues of plagorism or copyright infringement? My website has a lot of completely unique content I’ve either written myself or outsourced but it appears a lot of it is popping it up all over the web without my permission. Do you know any solutions to help reduce content from being stolen? I’d definitely appreciate it.

  • Hi! I’ve been reading your weblog for a long time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Lubbock Texas! Just wanted to mention keep up the excellent job!

  • They’re All Made Out of Ticky-Tacky and They All Look Just the Same: Why and How I’m Quitting Forever 21 « Painfully Hip

  • They’re All Made Out of Ticky-Tacky and They All Look Just the Same: Why and How I’m Quitting Forever 21 « Painfully Hip

Leave a Reply

 

 

 

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>