Special Feature: Dear Diabolina
A million years ago, AT wrote:
Hey there! First off, I wanted to say that I really enjoy your blog and have it marked as one of my favorites! I love checking it out for some fashion advice. I have a question for you. I have recently been a little obsessed with ordering from Forever 21 (there isn't one anywhere close to me so I have to do the online thing). Would you mind recommending some good pieces from their website? I have ordered a few things but it's hard to pick things without trying them on. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
The Dear Diaboina Answer:
After profusely thanking AT for her kind words I promptly started fretting about getting her the "right" answer. After all, I just don't shop online. Cannot. do.it.
Can count the number of times I have on one hand. The Armani Exchange dress at right is the only thing last year.
I miss out on alot of great designer sales being this non-savvy way but I just can't seem to get into it. I enjoy the actual visceral experience of shopping too much. Love the hunt and the high of it all. Also like to feel up the goods, if you will. And closely analyze the fit on my rather difficult to fit body.
To make her question extra tough, AT threw my beloved Forever 21 into the equation. When you add the inherently hit or miss nature of more cheaply made clothing then I'm really at a loss. The fit and material can be sooooo off soooooo often with mass production. Plus online photographs can be very deceiving when it comes to material and detailing.
So I am hoping some of you can help a sista out. I know many of you are ninjas at online shopping. So please feel free to give some of your online shopping do's and don'ts in the comments. Lurkers, this is your chance to delurk for the good of a fellow fashionista in need :)
In the meantime, here are my piddly two cents about online shopping:
* I look at the return policy really carefully before I buy something online. I need to be able to return something right away if it doesn't work out. And I prefer being able to return it at a store.
Though that doesn't help AT much since she doesn't have a Forever 21 close by. I weep for her ;)
* Try to know what designers work best for your body and what size you are in a given designer. Like I know I am generally an 8 in Marc Jacobs and that the pants don't tend to cut me very well. I know I am a 6 in a DVF if it's jersey, an 8 if it's button down and as small as a 4 if it's voluminous. I am a 9 in Manolos and YSL shoes if they are pointy. And typically an 8 1/2 in Marc Jacobs round toe shoes.
Again tho, this doesn't really help at Forever 21 or other mass retailers because each piece is made so differently. I have smalls, mediums and larges from Forever. Similarly my Nine West shoes are a whole range of sizes. Sigh. So far my advice sucks...
*I would say buy accessories freely online if you fall in love with them. After all with purses and jewelry, you don't have to worry about the fit in quite the same way as clothes or shoes.
Sunglasses are slightly different because fit does matter. Especially on chubby cheeks like mine. But at Forever they are just $5 so what the heck.
I ended up buying the Chloe lookalikes from Forever online last week. In red and black. Was a bit worried that I might look like an Olsen in them. But I tried the real things on at Saks in NYC so I knew that yes, they'd likely be a bit buggy but overall, the shape worked.
Let me tell you these sunglasses have been the best purchase I've made in long long time. I never want to take them off. In fact I woke up the other day, put them on and then brushed my teeth - much to Mr. Diabolina's amusement. They just make me feel glam and ridiculous which I guess is EXACTLY like being an Olsen twin.
* Finally, let's get down to some Forever 21 specific advice: I would say if it looks remotely cheap in the picture, it will look ten times worse in person. Try to steer clear of the 100 percent synthetic garments. Also anything too chiffony or sheer will likely fall apart quickly. Stick to the jerseys and the cottons.
If in doubt, buy it in a darker color. Lighter colors tend to show cheap construction more. Zoom in on seams. Remember if the buttons are a bit too plasticy, you can replace them and really luxe up the piece. Or if there's a detachable satin sash that looks like trash, it's easy to snip off. I do that all the time.
As for items I'd recommend getting from Forever 21, unfortunately there's not alot to chose from currently. Here are a few that caught my eye after a quick perusal:
Pretty little summer top with nice rosette detail.
Artsy tunic with great fluttery detail at the neckline
And I still heart this dress that I bought back in March. It's still online after all this time but it's actually in the tops section. Weird.
May get it online in this color combo. Incredibly soft and great fit. Which I would never have known if I didn't try it on and paw it at the store, unfortunately.
Ok, ladies and gents, now it's your turn to share your words of wisdom with AT. Have at her question...