Being a self confessed online shopping addict, I rarely venture inside a shopping centre unless it's for vital Tesco food rations (even then I have to restrain myself from stocking up on too much tortellini) or a necessary Poundland bargain. Towards the end of term I needed to attempt some sort of focus, so the shops were largely avoided until I'd handed in all my work. As a reward for this 'restraining order', I made a cross-country visit to Birmingham, where I met up with Winnie and finally made a pilgrimage to the Forever 21 store.
The last time I stepped inside a Forever 21 store couldn't be more different, as it was a 35°C July afternoon in the newly opened Times Square location. I thought stepping into the Birmingham store would give me NYC flashbacks but this wasn't quite the case, the clothes were the same sort yet the staff seemed a lot friendlier with the prices not quite so low. The space is enormous, with clothing shoes and accessories spread over three sprawling floors and even a coffee shop for vital restoration. Truthfully, I was probably in chatting mode rather than shopping mode, so I didn't really notice anything clothing-related that I liked, but I did manage to spend a good while hunting for some rings in the vast jewellery section. I pretty much owe all my ring choices to Winnie; she'd picked me up a cross ring after I'd pleaded with her on Twitter a week before and on the day I bought a panther(?) ring she'd managed to locate after I became tired of searching through the somewhat disorganised bowls they were presented in. The cross ring was only £1.50 (it's not on the website but this one is similar) and is a lot cheaper than the Asos style I had to send back due to sizing issues. It's surprisingly comfortable to wear and hasn't turned my finger green. Result!
Could not resist a slight fanatic pic
I'd imagine that Forever 21 occupies a space similar to New Look on the British High Street, with the odd Topshop and even designer inspired piece. When I visited stores in New York, it seemed more like a colourful Primark and I didn't think twice about the cost on many a TGIF after-work spree. Now the store is on British soil I will probably make more considered choices if I buy from there, just like I do whenever I'm shopping in 'real life'. I think blogging and the experiences of my degree has made me overanalyse shopping ever so slightly and I'm always thinking about cut, quality and the intended inspiration of an item whilst wondering whether I already own something similar. As a store it can be a bit hit and miss but what I do like is the odd quality item it can create, like this suede skirt I wish I'd seen on the day. If you've visited the store, what are your thoughts and did you buy anything? Are you ready for a Forever 21 European takeover?
Another thing I love about Birmingham, is that its Urban Outfitters branch offers a student discount, making its prices in the realm of reasonable. I don't really buy much clothing from there, but I do love its home accessories and hosiery. I bought one of their letters to pop above my blind and am working out a way to justify purchasing the other eight letters of my name (thanks Mum) to keep the K company. I also bought yet more socks and perused some of the fashion books, mentally noting down how many were related to blogging. We spotted Style Diaries, Facehunter and The Selby to name a few; do you own any of these glossy, coffee-table style books? I can't deny that I prefer the immediacy of blogs but it is nice to have something to hold in your hand and have a look through, some of the pictures were stunning. Wouldn't it be amazing (and slightly surreal) if all blogs were somehow in book form?
This post is by no means in order and the day was actually started with some delicious dim sum. I pretty much eat anything so Winnie ordered a great selection of dishes I couldn't pronounce, which were swiftly devoured (after a few chopstick fails by myself). I need to bring Reena here and tempt her from her Ping Pong ways....
We also had a quick look in the largest Christmas market outside Germany, which was heaving, but the perfect end to another great day in Brum!
Don't forget to enter the House of Holland tights giveaway here, there's less than one week to go!