How to Shop Your Favorite Fast-Fashion Stores Like a Pro
Tip #1: Caffeinate and get there early. At 10 am the racks are full and tidy, and the dressing room doesn't yet resemble a mosh pit. Things get crazy in the afternoon.
Tip #2: Check the racks in back. Dressing room castoffs are full of the hottest pieces in the store.
Tip #3: If you love what you see in the window, it's up in the front of the store. Sometimes H&M is just that easy.
Tip #1: The UK-based retailer offers awesome footwear. Those ballet flats and brogues hung on the walls? Insanely affordable and comfy, too.
Tip #2: Don't overlook the Topshop Petite section. I'm 5'10, and a proud owner of a leopard coat from their smaller-sized department. Hey, I'm a sucker for a bracelet-length sleeve!
Tip #3: Topshop's designer collaborations are on point. Their Christopher Kane and Preen offerings flew off the shelves. Up next? Digital-print mastermind Mary Katrantzou.
Tip #1: Just for the 21-and-under set? Not even. F21 also offers inexpensive cotton basics and affordable trendy denim.
Tip #2: It's the extras that count. This store's costume jewelry is always on-trend and can easily be mistaken for designer gems.
Tip #3: When in doubt, buy it in black. With dark-colored pieces, imperfect stitching and non-couture cuts can be easily masked. Your purchases will look far more luxe than they are—and they'll seem less obviously trendy, too.
Tip #1: Come early, come often. Zara turns over their inventory every several weeks, so there's always something new. This also means that when you see something you love, you'd better snap it up. It won't be there forever!
Tip #2: Be sure to peruse this store's outerwear offerings. Zara's coats and blazers are beautifully-cut and heavily designer-inspired.
Tip #3: Shop the front of the store for the most trend-influenced pieces. The hangers on the super-new stuff look different than the rest. Solid-colored basics and the less-expensive Trf line are always in the back.
Tip #1: Go up a size (or two) in almost everything on offer. That snugger-than-snug fit isn't your fault—AA generally runs on a tiny sizing scale.
Tip #2: For girls with smaller chests in particular, American Apparel's mesh bralettes are a comfy choice. And their great opaque tights come in shades you won't find anywhere else—trust us.
Tip #3: Dip into vintage. Many larger locations offer the chain's California Select collection of vintage clothing and accessories—it's pretty fantastic.
Tip #1: Draw your style inspiration from celebs? You'll love Mango. The retailer's tapped Olivia Palermo and Scarlett Johansson as brand muses and both stars have been snapped in the store's wares.
Tip #2: Get it in print. The Spanish retailer does patterned and embellished pieces like nobody else—blame it on that Barcelona flair.
Tip #3: Feet first! Mango offers great takes on classic kicks—especially all-weather wedge boots and patent pumps.
Tip #1: Slide into home. Either a floor above or below the women's clothing, you'll find Urban's steller home décor section, which isn't just for dorm room decorating. Check out their patterned flatware!
Tip #2: Get it for less. Most UO stock tends to go on sale a few months after hitting the racks--so if you're undecided on an item, it might be best to wait it out and revisit your potential purchase later on.
Tip #3: Be a bookworm! This store's literature section is packed with great ideas, especially for gifts.
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