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 gently 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.)


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 luke warm water while brushing with an old toothbrush.

Fabric Preservation

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.

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.


This post is written by ThisThatBeauty Contributor, Christene Carr. For more: @ChristeneCarr  on Twitter and

Christene Carr About Christene Carr

Christene is known among her friends as a jack-of-all-trades, which for her translates to never being bored. By profession, Christene is a marketing and social media strategist and beauty editor. When she is not busy marketing compelling concepts or testing beauty products, she is crafting food and drink recipes, socializing, writing, making dresses, eating, or any of a myriad of random things she thoroughly enjoys.
Connect with Christene: Send Email
Twitter @ChristeneCarr


  1. Lamide says:

    Great tips, especially for the accessories. I’ll have to try that out. :)

  2. Channing says:

    I love this, I will definitely bookmark this for future reference ;)

  3. Felicia Felicia says:

    Thanks, ladies! :)

  4. shana says:

    These are great tips thanks for the tips.

  5. Dre says:

    These are great tips! I will make sure to iron my pieces inside out now and remember to reinforce my buttons so that I won’t be so disappointed when they fall off.

    Another great tip for accessories is to spray them with the clear gloss in the spray can (I think it sells in Walmart for $3). Accessories never tarnish with this!

    Love this post! So helpful!


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