Forever 21 Can Kiss My Extra-Large Butt

by Kristen Howerton on June 29, 2011

in Girl Talk, Style & Beauty


Dear Sir (’cause I know a woman would not be behind this):

I have an issue with the sizing at your store.

I know, I know. The name of your store should be a warning. I’m not 21 – not even close. I know that my needs could be better met in a store called “Forever Mid-Thirties,” or “Desperately Clinging to My Youth.” But still, your budget prices and sassy fashions beckon me in again and again.

During my last visit to your store, I found an adorable Asian-print dress that would be a great number for an upcoming event. I grabbed it in a size large, because I’ve been to your store before. I know that I am a medium-sized gal according to the folks at Gap and Target, but in your store, I’m a large. I’ve made my peace with that. Until today.

I tried on the dress. I could barely get in on. I almost needed assistance getting it back off. This dress was so tight that any thoughts of moving or sitting while wearing it would be disastrous.

Which leads me to believe that, according to your store, I am an extra-large.

Alight, fine.  I can accept that. So, I sheepishly asked the dressing room person for the dress in an XL.

What’s that?  You don’t even carry that size?

I am an average-sized girl. I usually hover between a size 8 and a size 10. Yes, I could lose a few or 15. But I’m finding it hard to believe that, along the spectrum of sizes and body types in America, that this is the largest size you can offer. That your design team has decided that someone my size is an extra-large person. And that anyone larger can’t even shop in your store.

Let me suggest that you consider changing the name of your store to Forever 12. Because that’s the only age group that can comfortably fit into your clothing.


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Jayme (Random Blogette) June 30, 2011 at 1:47 pm

It has been so long since I have been in a Forever 21 because of that exact problem! I have a large chest as well and I swear that their clothes are made for those without any boobs at all.

Jeanne June 30, 2011 at 10:22 pm

Take your measurements before you go shopping and when you go into a store that you think will have *some* sizes to fit you (I know F21 will never have sizes that fit me, so I don’t even try), be armed with a sewing tape measure. That way, you don’t have to lug all those clothes to the dressing room and you don’t have to be disappointed when something doesn’t fit in a certain size (why do you think I’m an XL when everyone else says I’m an XS???). Don’t even look at the size tags! Ignore the tags! Only look at the measurements! Shop like a guy (that’s what they would do, if they had to deal with all the sizing BS, like we do).

Jeanne June 30, 2011 at 10:25 pm

Oops, forgot to proofread and needed to say:

…be armed with a sewing tape measure. Instead of trying on the clothes, just measure them on the rack, to see if they will fit.

Bridgetteciaj July 1, 2011 at 10:46 am

I feel your pain and have from my teen size 6 years to 40′s in an 18-20. My problem has always been my chest. Even if I do a 14 at Lane Bryant, there isn’t room for my chest. I argue that people have different bum sizes and some places have even begun accounting for that with different sizing. Alas, not so on the top. All I own are stretchy non-button tops because I might hurt someone when that middle butten flies off due to excessive stress.

All I want is the SAME clothes the thinner chicks get to wear in MY SIZE. I don’t need a tent or a mumu just because I’m carrying extra weight. I still want to look cute. Don’t they want my money?

Jeanne July 3, 2011 at 12:55 am

I am an overweight gal with a classical hourglass shape. Big boobs, nice waist definition, wide hips. I too have the problem with shirts not fitting across my bust. They fit perfectly everywhere else, just not across my rack.

To remedy this, I’ve started using fabric glue… I just put the glue between the buttons (leaving enough room to get the shirt over my head, of course). This holds the button band together nicely and I don’t have the problem of the buttons popping or the band stretching. It also holds the girls in a nice position. :)

Caroline July 3, 2011 at 11:44 am

AMEN! I used to love forever21 dresses. Now I’m convinced their version of large is a 125lb 5’4 girl with no boobs. And not for nothing, their return policy is a crock.

KR July 9, 2011 at 2:03 pm

For what it’s worth, I’m exactly that and most of the time I can’t wear Forever 21 either. The cuts are just odd.

Aleya Bamdad July 6, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Well said! I’ve been to their stores so many times and have had a problem finding a size bigger than a small. It’s such a turnoff that they treat woman over 110 pounds like they don’t exist that I don’t go there anymore.

Katherine @ Postpartum Progress July 7, 2011 at 2:20 pm

I’ve never been to that store, because I was 21 twenty years ago (holy hell!) and I figure they don’t have anything for me. ;-)

But I have the same issue with most fashionable clothing these days. I’m a large now in most stores with cute stuff, if I’m lucky. Given that I’m not thin but I’m not “fat” either, I find myself wondering how anyone who is bigger than me can find anything at all to wear. When it comes to designer jeans, I never see anything larger than a 31. I’m a 30 or 31, depending on the cut. So what the heck do women larger than a 31 wear? I’m fine with being a curvy girl — this baby’s got back — but the clothing sizes continually make me feel bad about myself. Love your post!!

Jennifer July 9, 2011 at 9:00 am

The name itself has kept me from darkening Forever 21′s door. I haven’t been 21 in… well forever. The dress you are wearing in the photo is darling by the way.

Cheryl July 28, 2011 at 7:50 pm

Their “plus size” line starts at a size 12 but it’s hard to find anything in a size ten

Fernanda August 10, 2011 at 10:23 pm

I’m 5’8 and by U.S. standards I am an average size 12..Yet when I go to Forever 21 I have to try on about 20 things to find one that will fit me properly. I end up loving what I get, but sometimes to hassle is exhausting!

Jill August 19, 2011 at 1:52 am

Okay ladies,
Wet Seal is about as cheap, and their clothing fits better on occasion.
Fredrick’s of Hollywood makes everyone look smoking hot, and their products last forever. H&M is great, Torrid is pretty awesome, and Target is great for swimsuits and tees. (You just have to go to the ones you’d pronounce ‘Tar-jey’ and not “Tar-ghetto”. Some Target stores are fabulous, some need to be condemned by the city.)

Kelly September 5, 2011 at 10:04 am

I totally feel you. Urban Outfitters is the same way. My boyfriend works there so I get a 40% discount. Sounds good, so I go try on a couple things (in sizes that would normally fit me in other stores) and it’s just ridiculous. Nothing fits. Ever. Never shopping there again, I just end up cursing their “designers” on the way out the door.

Lains October 14, 2011 at 2:42 pm

I’m late to the party, but I just found this. It’s so true. I’m the same size as you, and I feel that at one point I did fit into their large. I ordered a dress online in size large, having ordered one before and knowing it would fit, and it doesn’t even kind-of zip. I measured and the bust measurements for this dress are 14 inches across, so roughly 28 inches around. For a size LARGE. To add insult to injury, I ordered an XL in another dress from their plus size online store…and it’s too big. So basically I’m too big for their regular sizes and too small for their plus sizes. wtf. Really sad because I like their clothes, but if my only choices are lose enough weight to shrink my boobs down or gain weight, I’m probably going to have to stop shopping there…

Raptor Squeaks October 19, 2011 at 1:21 pm

I’d love to be your size. I can only wear kids clothes due to the fact that I’m so fucking petite that a squirrel could probably even squish me.

Margaret November 15, 2011 at 4:09 am

I completely understand. I’m a larger girl a small plus size at best… But in that store I have to size up and up! Plus size 2? What? Oh well if it fits and looks nice then who cares what the label says… You can always cut that out…. Hehe.

Jess January 5, 2012 at 2:48 pm

I completely agree! I am 5’10″ and the picture on Forever 21′s website says the model is my height and wearing a small. So i order a large because my size 8 frame likes my rompers baggier at the waist and not going up my butt. But apparently an XL is my size? Which makes me feel disgusting since I’m between small and medium in everything else in the store.

Brenna January 8, 2012 at 3:45 am


I ordered a size L skirt online and could barely even fit my thighs into it. And I’m 20. So am I not even going to get to shop there comfortably when I’m 21?

Stephanie March 1, 2012 at 4:06 am


I feel like crap every time I walk into a Forever 21 store. I see really cute clothes and go to try them on in a “Large” and can’t even get them on! What the heck?

And I don’t know about your stores, but the one here has a lot of snooty hipster workers that look at me in disgust because I’m not anorexic.

Butttttttttt their clothes are really cute. :| I’ve managed to find a few things that will actually fit me from there.

Natasha March 8, 2012 at 8:28 pm

So Sorry That It is Often Difficult to Find cute fuller figure sizing…I’d say, broaden your horizon and try other online stores…for eg. SEVSHAK.COM…they have adorable dresses, they provide you with sizing information, they carry a wide range of designers, and they pride themselves on quality clothing…give it a try…and ask a question if you have any doubts about any item….they will respond promptly!…We should support smaller designer talent and help boost our local economy!

Jen April 16, 2012 at 10:25 am

Kristen- Thank you for this awesome post. As a size 8-10 myself, I’ve come to terms that for me, Forever 21 is only store to buy cheap and stylish jewelry. With clothing, my “extra large” frame is apparently out of luck. :)

Natasha April 16, 2012 at 10:44 am

Give a try…!!!

Melanie May 5, 2012 at 8:37 pm

I am only18 years old. I have NEVER been big. And I’m still not. I have curves, yes, but I’m not “plus-size” no matter which way you spin that phrase. It’s BS that I can’t shop in a store geared towards people MY AGE (especially since the clothing is cheap so I can actually afford it) except for if I want accessories or shoes. I’m size 8-10, and a size six in most dresses. America is full of fatasses. It’s time this damn store realizes that if they made their clothes in NORMAL people sizes, not anorexic bulimics, athletes, small frames, or people on the short side only, they would probably increase their earnings by 50-70%. I’m a cutie with a bootie, not a lardbutt. I am NOT an extra large. If I am, it’s because, like the author comically *yet accurately* stated, they’re basing their sizes off the dimensions of twelve year old girls.

Nelly May 22, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Omg something I can relate too. I was lucky enought to find tights large that fit until I washed them now they won’t go past my lower hip Ugghh where is the store with all these hot clothes that I can fit into? I’m only 22 an have trouble feeling confterble in a outfit due to my blessed chest. And apple bottom GOD HELP US ALL.

Natasha May 23, 2012 at 11:22 am

Ladies, I recommend trying out…They will work with you and your sizing to find the best fit (if available)….Small business so the customer service is very personable…Got a special function…?..They would even shop and find similar items for you for free…also, a lot of their items are made right here in the USA by designers here in the USA…I think in these times, its great to support American Made…give them a try…

nik June 22, 2012 at 9:59 am

Their forever 21+ collection is brutal. They should rightfully sell some of the same clothes they sell for the smaller girls. I say some because I know not all the styles such as crop tops and short shorts don’t always look lovely on some bigger figures, but to each their own. Can someone tell me WHY?!? Their clothes make you look at least 10lbs bigger… I thought plus size was supposed to be strategicially designed to hug your curves and be flattering. The regular forever is great with adorable sweaters and jackets and shirts. Forever 21 plus looks like a half assed attempt at plus fashion and I won’t give them a dime except for their jeans. I am tall and they fit me well but other than that… their dresses look like something someones unfashionable floral messed grandmother would have worn in the 70′s and I don’t mean cute vintage.

Marissa June 24, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Wow I am so happy someone wrote this! I have a pear shaped body and I can never find my size pants, shorts, or skirts at Forever 21. I wear about a size 10-12 at Old Navy, but let’s be honest, Old Navy has nothing close to the cuteness of Forever 21.

Forever 21 could get a lot more business from me if they carried my size! I was shopping online and most of the cute shorts did not even come in a size Large or higher than a size 29.

This is outrageous discrimination against curvy girls. If you look at their plus size clothes, they are so ugly. Why do they think curvy girls like to dress like crap? Why are skinny girls with no asses or boobs the only ones who are allowed to look cute?

This is bullshit! Especially because to them, to be plus size is to be an average girl. Unlike the writer of this letter, I am 19. I deserve to wear some cute clothes without feeling like a fat ass because they don’t even carry my size, or because I have to shop in the plus size section.

Erica August 1, 2012 at 2:35 pm

I was like all of you once, blaming other people because I could not fit into something. But you know what? The truth is YOU do not make these clothes, and you do not have to buy them. So I got healthy, exercised, and lost weight. Now I can fit and wear whatever I want! Imagine that! You say that the average size is a plus size, well that is because everyone is overweight and too lazy to do anything about it. Then they give excuses and what they consider to be justification that “it’s average” and “it’s genetics” and “it’s just the way I am, not because I’m too lazy and careless to pay attention to nutrition and exercise.” If you don’t fit the lifestyle of a brand, I suggest you change your lifestyle or stop complaining.

Meghan August 3, 2012 at 12:51 pm

It isn’t about blaming other people for not fitting into clothing – this happens at other stores all of the time. The author said herself that she is an average sized woman so there’s no reason why she should have issues fitting into a size large.

And NOT EVERYBODY who is “overweight” is “too lazy to do anything about it” – go educate yourself and learn about hereditary diseases that cause obesity that are totally out of the individual’s hands. PCOS, hypothyroidism, just to name a couple. I would also like to note that just because a person does not fit into YOUR ideals of beauty and health doesn’t mean that a person is unhealthy or unfit. There are plenty of “overweight” people that are much healthier than skinnier people.
This blog isn’t about being skinny or fat – it’s about how the company does not properly size their clothing.

Christina August 17, 2012 at 6:14 pm

I personally work at a Forever 21 and I do agree the sizing is pretty off. It does make me feel too big at times. I’m a size 6 and have to go up to sizes that make me die a little inside. I will say this, the owner of Forever 21 is an Asian man, and Forever 21 was created for the Asian population in Los Angeles. Well, everyone else started discovering the trends at such low prices and well, it became a huge success. Forever 21 has not changed its clothing standards that target Asian women, which we all know, are mostly very very petite. I can honestly say that I doubt Forever 21 will change their sizing standards any time soon. I get these complaints on a REGULAR basis. “Why don’t you have a plus size section?” (ours does not have one) “Why are your clothes so small?” It goes on. All I have to say is that you do not have to shop there! There are plenty of other stores with normal sizing. I personally have not had any problems. I wear a Large in the tops and have to go up a little in the pants. I do sympathize though but I just wanted to explain a little about their workings and, sorry to say, I don’t think they are going to change any time soon! (Although, believe me, I wish they did. I’m sick of getting yelled at by people who can’t fit into our stuff or that most stores do not carry the plus sizes :P )

Keylee September 1, 2012 at 12:11 pm

I’m 14 and I usually wear a 16/18. I’m about 5’4 and it’s usually really hard to find cute clothes for my age in my size. It makes me feel horrible when I go to stores kids at school go to all the time and I can’t fit in their largest size! Even at Aeropostle I have to wear a 2X and stretch it out to look decent. I agree with the self image thing, because when us plus sized juniors can’t even fit into AE jeans we get self concious. I would know since I’ve battled weight all my life. My two favorite plus stores right now are Torrid and Deb Shops. Deb is a juniors store, but my mom has gotten some cute tops there before that are pretty cute, and she’s about to be 42. I like Deb’s clothes too. They’re really cheap and the clothes are adorable. I got this gorgeous party dress for my dance for $15.00! It was supposed to be $30.00 on clearance, but I only payed $15 for it. I was so happy especially since I was paying for it with my own money. One downside is that some of their clothes are kinda cheaply made, but their dresses are good quality.

Torrid in my opinion is more for women. I still get some really cute tops there, but it’s more for plus sized women. They have very good quality clothing, but that’s about it. The prices get very high in my opinion, but I am 14 and have cheap Deb there for me. But for all the older women looking for good quality clothes and don’t mind paying a little extra I reccomend Torrid. Some stuff isn’t true to size, but it’s usually because of the cut. I bought a pair of shorts in size 16 and they fit perfect, but when I tried on a pair of bermuda shorts in the same brand I had to go up to an 18. So it really depends. At my Torrid store the women aren’t toothpicks, so they really understand and are really nice and helpful. If you need another size they’ll kindly get it for you. The only set back is the price though. Which is probably because I don’t usually have that kind of money, but if you want quality clothes and don’t mind paying I say go ahead. A pair of jeans there will cost you maybe $40 to $50. Tops are around $20 like Hot Topics, but they are owned by the same company so maybe that’s why. I hope this helped out a little bit!

P.S. I can’t even fit into Rue 21′s T-shirts. -_- Never shoppping there again! That’s ridiculous!

Clarissa September 13, 2012 at 7:37 pm

So glad I am not alone. Most of you have troubles being too tall, omg I have troubles being too SHORT. Everything that looks cute on the rack just doesn’t fit me right. I’ve found a couple pair of pants and I have been anywhere from size 28-31, and shirts I am usually a M or L but lately I have noticed the large only get 1 inch longer then the M and the area around the underarm gets a little looser. Also not to mention I am a D so, that is a whole other story. I tend to do well with the skirts here since that is the only time being short is a compliment.

Excuses excuses.. September 15, 2012 at 11:09 pm

Ugh people who are using the statistic that the average size in America is size 14/16 as an argument is such bull.. 50 years ago, the average size was an 8. PEOPLE ARE GETTING FATTER (I am not talking about those with medical conditions). Over the past decades, we’ve become the NUMBER 1 FATTEST nation in the world out of nearly 200 countries. Seriously??? Unhealthy lifestyles are becoming a nationwide epidemic, and people are trying to take it out on a clothing chain??

On average, we’ve become lazier in the sense that we sit more, eat more unhealthy foods, watch too much tv/computer. I hate when fat people call themselves “curvy” when they are a size 12.. no, you are not curvy. If you live healthier, you would see your “real curves,” not fat curves. You need to eat healthier, be active, and live healthier (once again, I’m not talking to those with genetic/medical conditions). You know 30 minutes of exercise a day is the MINIMUM you should be moving. 3 hours is actually a much better standard. Juice is less nutritious than real fruit, so eat an orange instead of drinking OJ laddened with added sugar. Hummus is only good for you if you eat one tablespoon.. not slather half the contianer on your sandwich like I’ve seen people do. How many of you actually get your 6 servings of fruits and veggies a day (no OJ does not count). Almost all forms of processed food (frozen dinners, chips, candy) is absolute hell to your body. If you’re not genetically or medically predisposed to weight gain, and you can tell me you’re doing most of these things, and treating your body right, but you’re still in XL at F21, then you can complain. Otherwise, take your complaining somewhere else.

Excuses excuses.. September 15, 2012 at 11:10 pm

I want to add that to shop at F21, you should also prob be under 5’8″… taller girls or genetically “athletically buit” don’t apply to my above comment either. I am soley targeting the semi unhealthy to unhealthy person in my comment above

Jessie September 29, 2012 at 7:28 pm

I was just outraged when i went into forever 21 looking for pants. I have successfully managed to get skinny jeans from them before. I am short, but by no means am I a midget. about 5’2. I take their shortest length, a 29. I went looking for flare jeans for work, the dont have them in a 29! whats up with that!? the shortest they offer is a 32 i believe in those jeans. Those inconsistancies are horrible. I went into every store in the mall and NONE of them offered shorter pants than a 30 length, Crazy! because i know a ton of girls my height or shorter!! I left the mall with no pants, a very discouraged attitude, and feeling horrible about myself. Apprently girls my height dont exist!

I also have to say that the labels on womens clothes, ‘small’ ‘medium’ ‘large’ Are mentally damaging. numbers would be much better, not only because of the consistancy, but putting yourself into a large when you are infact a perfectly fine size, sometimes even smalller than average, is very depressing and discouraging! Everyone should feel beautiful no matter what size they buy. Having numbers might also force stores to carry more sizes, which would be awesome. If i could walk into any store in the mall and find something in my size i would be a very happy camper :]

simple answers October 8, 2012 at 7:09 pm

Shop somewhere else, don’t obsess over a number, lose weight. PERIOD. Every body is built and shaped differently, you cant do anything about your height, something too long… get it tailored, smaller size to tight?, larger size doesnt fit quite right?.. get it tailored. Yes it costs more money but honestly its the only way you will get clothes you are 100% satisfied with. We only have so much control over the way our bodies are shaped. You can either choose to work it out to your best advantage or let it be what it’ll be with no effort and deal with it. I’m by no means skinny, but yes overweight. Down 30lbs due to better eating and being more active, still have 30 to 40lbs to lose to reach my goal. Today I went to F21 with the intent to buy some jeans, instead left with a great blazer and two tops. The only pants they had were “skinny” cut and I know my body well enough to know that “skinny jeans” don’t look good on me. I tried some on anyways because if you don’t try, you’ll never know. Turned out I was right, the material did nothing to my shape and showed every flaw I try to hide with clothing, just not flattering. Yes their plus size section was small, even smaller than their children’s’ section and men’s section (Riverside CA store). I walked around and saw so many cute clothing items I would have loved to purchase but they just didn’t come in my size so I moved on. Don’t get stuck on a particular retailer, there are so many trends and different styles out there, one retailer my cut their sizes smaller or larger, you just have to put in a little effort and find what stores work best for your shape and budget. If none of this helps, learn to sew and make your own clothing :)

Ryann December 10, 2012 at 4:14 pm

I am a size 9/10 and where a large top everywhere considering the 38 DD chest. I am a 22 year old college student with little money I shop at forever all the time. tops fit me fine however I do go for the oversized t shirt or over sized cardigans and sweaters. I do not think it’s fair for a store to cater to a certain type. but they all do. layne Bryant was mentioned. they are plus sized 5-7-9 doesn’t exist anymore and it was a pree teen store. and vs has all bra sizes online which include bigger than a DD. forever 21 is made for preteens and teens. I like it because no one is obsessed with labels. I shop there and h&m American appeal and urban outfitters. all stores that usually seem to portray a tiny frames girls store. in no means am I fat I have very large hips and very large boobs. if you don’t want to pay 50-80 dollars for a bra then don’t shop at vs. that’s all there is to it. shop somewhere that caters to your body style.

suknit December 10, 2012 at 5:15 pm

Hello Ladies…I am a small business owner with access to a ton of great Designer brands…we grab them, so you can have them…take a chance…Pricing varies but will always be competitive…check it out and feel free to send us an email if you have a question about sizing or fit?…There will be a huge selection of Designer Closeouts that you can take advantage of this end of year…Be the first to grab them as sizing and availability are limited…visit us if you like at….products added everyday!

Mariel December 10, 2012 at 9:02 pm

I do have to admit, Forever21 can be very cheap and impractical at times. I’m 4′ 10 + 1/2”, quite petite size 0 and i tried a small dress thinking it would fit me. Not at all, the back was so low it went way past where a bandeau would be. Decided not to buy that dress. I like Forever21 for some things because I’m petite, and can fit into some of their clothing. After a while some of their clothing gets old and outdated, and it’s not always the best buy. It’s good for if your like me a 15 year old student, and you have no money but your parents. It’s a good place to shop for a couple things, not a whole wardrobe though… I like your take on Forever21′s sizing! <3

Carolina December 24, 2012 at 4:31 am

Idk. I’m 5’6″ and usually a size between 18-22. I don’t have much of a problem finding cute clothes there. Sure. I have to travel 45 minutes to get to a store with a Forever21+ section, but I do find trendy clothes in my size. Depending on the fabric and fit, I can be between a 1x and 3x in their plus line. There are some ugly items, but if you search well, and use your imagination, you can achieve a fashion-forward outfit for a bargain.

jessiebell December 27, 2012 at 1:09 am

Ugh, its not even just the sizing, its their nasty return policy. My mom went out and bought me a shirt for Christmas while i was at college and was not informed of their policy even after mentioning it was a Christmas gift. Im a medium, so she bought me one, I couldn’t even move my arms. So we go to return it, now its no longer fill price but 10$ cheaper and they refuse…yuck. Seriously Target has better stuff…even walmart

Dayna February 27, 2013 at 11:59 am

i LOVE forever21, but sometimes their plus size line crosses the line, they be having new clothes for skinny BITCHES every week, but for plus size women, there’s NEVER nothing new >.<

victoria March 10, 2013 at 4:14 am

you would think after all these comments for years forever21 would get a clue…bottom line is they dont care….they get the buisness from the smaller sized women…oh excuse me girls. I am not a big girl but i have larger bust and its ridiculous nothing fits. I can shop for some things but there is so much there i love and cant get….screw them…i will shop elsewhere, they dont deserve my buisness.
I agree with all comments above except for “excuses, excuses” and “simple answer”….neither one of these people speak for the masses and dont address real life issues. Even those of us who are overweight have a right to want to dress nicely at a decent cost.

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