Shop Like a Pro: How to Navigate Forever 21

We all know the feeling. It's Friday night and you want – no, need a new outfit for the weekend.

Unfortunately, one too many Starbucks runs this week left your wallet looking a little bare. When we're strapped for cash and looking for a quick fashion fix, Forever 21 is our first stop. However, it's easy to get overwhelmed in one of the chain's sprawling stores, stuffed to the brim with merchandise.

We like to get strategic when it comes to navigating Forever 21's neon, metallic, and print-heavy sales floor. Below are our tips for shopping Forever 21 like a pro, and coming out victorious with the perfect look for your Friday night.

1. Do Your Research

Before trekking to a brick-and-mortar store, first visit the website from the comfort of your own home. Take note of items you'd like to visit in person, and make a list to take along to the store. Visuals are helpful too, especially when asking a sales associate for help – you won't have to struggle to describe that mesh velvet dress with the cut-outs and beaded detailing you saw online, but just can't seem to find among the countless other mesh velvet dresses in-store.

2.Keep your Eyes on the Prize

Upon immediate entrance to the store, it's incredibly easy to get distracted by the American flag-emblazoned vest looming in the left corner (Coachella?!), and the stack of floral print denim (Spring!!) off in the distance. Our advice? Head for the first section you see and stick with it. You'll be able to snag those jeans later, and you won't miss anything else along the way.

3. Know Your Sections

Speaking of sections, keep in mind that there is a method to Forever 21's madness. Each part of the store is merchandised to cater to a specific theme, from boho tribal prints to preppy staples. We suggest getting to know each of these sections, and figuring out which ones typically work for you. This way, you'll know exactly where to go if you're crunched for time and can't shop the whole store. One of our favorites is Love 21, which is geared towards the non-teeny-bopping set, and focuses on flattering cuts, details and fabrics. The prices are a little higher than what you'd normally find in the rest of the store, but still totally budget-friendly.

4.Don't Cut Corners

Forever 21 has a strict return policy, meaning no cash back. Once you purchase an item, it's yours for life unless you want to exchange it for store credit. Long lines at the fitting rooms might deter you from trying before buying, but it's better to be safe than sorry. March those hot pink palazzo pants right into a stall and make sure they fit before committing to a purchase you may regret later.

5.Make Friends Along the Way

Get to know your local store's manager or a friendly sales associate to find out which days they receive new shipments. With fresh new merchandise and full size ranges on the sales floor, shipment days are the best days to shop. After all, there's nothing worse than discovering the item you've been coveting is completely sold out of your size.

6. Visit Early and Often

Our best strategy for shopping at Forever 21 is to become a frequent flyer. Pick a time and day that you like to go and develop a routine. If you visit once every week or two, you'll be up to date on all the new merchandise and best deals. You'll be pro status in no time.

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What's Cute Right Now At Forever 21

What's Cute Right Now At Forever 21
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