I bought my first pair of ripped-up, cutoff jeans at Forever 21 when I was 17 years old. My teenage body felt entirely foreign to me. But as I stared at my bare, ingrown-laden legs in the dressing room mirror, I felt the delicious ubiquity that comes with knowing you’re part of the party, dressed like everyone else.
Forever 21, which announced it would file for bankruptcy on Sunday night, gave women across the country a sense that they belonged, even if that feeling came with the price of serpentine checkout lines and sweaters that ripped after half a wearing.
I last shopped at Forever 21 around a year and a half ago. I don’t remember why, but I was in desperate need of yoga pants. As I wriggled into a pair, I heard the sounds of a couple a few dressing room doors down kissing and giggling. I closed my eyes and thought of Bloomingdales.
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