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Farewell, Forever 21. My teenage self thanks you and bids adieu.

Farewell, Forever 21. My teenage self thanks you and bids adieu.

The fast-fashion brand officially claimed bankruptcy last month and will be disbanding operations in 40 countries worldwide.

Trigger Warning: Body Dysmorphia

Now that Forever 21 is closing, wherever will I go for all my furry hoodies with random sh*t like "Not Your Baby" sprayed across the chest in a random font popularized in the 80s?

Listen, Forever 21. We need to talk. When I first achieved teenagedom, you were everything that I knew I wanted to be - but couldn't. At 13 years old, I looked at your tiny crop tops and pencil skirts with scandalous thigh-high slits in so much awe, waiting for the day I could finally convince my mom to take me on a shopping trip so I could look like my fashion icon (for those wondering, that would be Britney Spears specifically from the music video for 2000 hit single 'Lucky.' Yes, I'm proud of it). When I finally entered the store, I remember only feeling a sense of discomfort. 



 

I don't know if it was the awful lighting or just my troubled mental space plagued by the pressures of well, being a teenage girl. But, my plus size body felt infinitely small in that changing room, recognizing that those clothes I had dreamed of wearing were still, even after all that waiting, beyond my reach. Zips wouldn't close. Buttons looked like they were on the verge of popping. Every inch of fabric wrapped around me like some sort of straitjacket or sausage casing. I was a pig in a poorly tailored Forever 21 blanket. My mother, disgruntled, shook her head with eyes that screamed, "I told you so," ready to drag me back to the all-in-one department store.



 

Over the years though, your sizing did become more inclusive. Sure, there were times when the inconsistency of women's sizing was glaring at me in my face, but this was a problem I endured at every store as a plus-sized girl. However, I'll admit I was able to find some pieces I adored and admittedly, still wear to this day. Pieces I could wear to class or my first internship or on my first date. I still remember all those articles of clothing. In time, as most good things do, Forever 21, you let me down. Your poor manufacturing became unavoidably obvious, your exploitation of workers in third world countries impossible to ignore, and your perpetuation of shameful diet culture and consumerism tiresome. And perhaps you dug yourself in far too deep that even you couldn't crawl out of your weird statement-crop top hellhole.

So, with a lighter heart now, I bid you adieu. I wish my younger counterparts more inclusive clothing that they don't have to feel terrible in. It's sad to see you go, of course, but I suppose we can all do without those diet bars in our orders or our Bible verses on our shopping bags. I guess Forever 21 wasn't forever after all.



 

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